Eighth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington, D.C. Raises More Than $6.5 Million
—More Than 2,900 Participants Walk Through Washington, D.C.; Grants Awarded to Nine Local Breast Cancer Organizations—
WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2010—
The eighth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk in Washington, D.C. this weekend, which raised $6.5 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Washington, D.C. is the second of nine Avon Walks this year, and the event attracted more than 2,900 participants drawn from 47 states, Antigua, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico, including 240 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise lifesaving funds and awareness for breast cancer.
During the Closing Ceremony at the Washington Monument Grounds, 11-time Avon Walk participant and 24-year breast cancer survivor, Deb Wills from Frederick, MD, was one of several speakers who provided an immediate reminder of the impact of breast cancer and the importance of taking personal action to make a difference.
"The world was different for people with breast cancer back when I was diagnosed in 1986. There were no pink ribbons, no huge events and not much awareness," said Wills. "I embrace the fact that I am a survivor. One of the reasons I come back specifically to the Avon Walk is because the money we work so hard to raise is used not only for research - but also to provide direct support, education and early detection services to those who can't afford to get it themselves."
Marc Hurlbert, director of the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade, announced during the Closing Ceremony a total of more than $3.4 million in grants to nine local organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide. "Our beneficiaries are changing the course of breast cancer - here in Washington, D.C., across the country, and around the world. Let's thank everyone for their hard work!" said Hurlbert. "We have supported breast cancer organizations in the Washington, D.C. area for many years and the outpouring of support and generosity through the Avon Walks enables us to make substantial and much-needed new grants that will benefit those facing breast cancer in D.C. and nationwide."
The new Washington, D.C. - area grants include:
- Antietam Healthcare Foundation received $65,000 to launch a patient navigation program to ensure that underserved women from rural Washington County have access to diagnostic services and breast cancer care. Susan Lopp, administrative director of the John Marsh Cancer Center, accepted the award.
- University of Maryland Baltimore received $75,000 to continue support of the Baltimore City Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program. The program is one of only 64 National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in the country and is the only program in the state to offer a full spectrum of breast health services to uninsured women between the ages of 40 and 64 in Baltimore City. Rhonda Silva, division administrator of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, accepted the award.
- George Mason University received $150,000 to identify a panel of biomarkers that can accurately distinguish breast cancers that are very aggressive from less aggressive types. Dean Vikas Chandhoke accepted the award.
- George Washington University received $150,000 to continue to support mobile mammography services in Anacostia. The "Mammovan" serves 2,500 women in Washington D.C. (excluding Anacostia). With Avon Foundation funds, the Mammovan will travel to Anacostia on a monthly basis and will see 25 women at each visit, for a total of 300 women throughout a one-year grant period. The grant also will fund a mobile text messaging campaign and weekly face-to-face recruitment sessions reaching 25 women per week. Nina Harrell, breast cancer outreach specialist, accepted the award.
- A&G Pharmaceutical received $150,000 to continue research on a biomarker that may be able to identify breast cancer patients who are at a higher risk of recurrence and be a useful tool to monitor disease during and after treatment. CEO Ginette Serrero accepted the award.
- Food and Friends received $250,000 for their Avon Pink Ribbon Delivery Program to provide specialized nutrition support to women living with breast cancer and their families. The Pink Ribbon Delivery Program provides a specialized nutrition program and individualized nutrition counseling to women living with breast cancer and their families in metropolitan Washington, D.C. Food and Friends works with Avon funded beneficiaries to identify eligible clients and has provided more than 560,000 meals to 1,900 women fighting breast cancer and their families since 2000. Executive Director Craig Shniderman, an eight-time Avon Walker, accepted the award.
- Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, a network of 16 universities and hospitals that work to accelerate clinical trials in breast cancer faster than can be done at a single institution, received $500,000. Dr. Antonio Wolff, associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, accepted the grant on behalf of the Consortium
- Georgetown University received three grants totaling $950,000 to provide continued support for Avon's signature patient care program in the District, the Capital Breast Care Center and to support two research programs that will validate a series of biomarkers that can be used as tools to accurately predict breast cancer risk. Dr. Peter Shields, deputy director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, accepted the awards.
- Johns Hopkins University, an Avon Center of Excellence, received $1,100,000 to support access to care programs at the Avon Breast Center at Johns Hopkins and a new research project that will validate pregnancy-induced molecular changes as markers of breast cancer risk (in partnership with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute). Dr. Sara Sukumar, co-director of the Breast Cancer Program, accepted the award. Joining Dr. Sukumar at the Walk was a 30-member Johns Hopkins Walk team and an army of pink-scrub cheerleaders who have supported the Avon Walk for the past 10 years.
During the Avon Walk Washington, D.C., which is a noncompetitive event, women and men had a choice of walking a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon and a half (39.3 miles) over the weekend. The event kicked off Saturday, May 1, with an early morning Opening Ceremony at the Washington Monument Grounds. Following the ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through the greater Washington, D.C. area and concluding at the Avon Walk "Wellness Village" at Meadowbrook Park in Chevy Chase, MD, a "tent city" complete with two-person tents, hot showers, prepared meals, entertainment, and recreational activities such as the Spa Zone, yoga, and new this year, Tomboy Tools' "Tool School 101" demonstrations. On Sunday, May 2, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending back at the Washington Monument Grounds, where thousands of family and friends greeted them and shared in a celebratory and moving Closing Ceremony, including the awarding of new grants.
To participate in the Avon Walk Washington, D.C., each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations. The Avon Foundation for Women [a 501(c)(3) public charity] raises and manages funds, which are awarded to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations to support five areas of the breast cancer cause, including awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services, and scientific research, all with a focus on the medically underserved.
Donations are still being accepted for the Avon Walk Washington, D.C., and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining Avon Walks of 2010: Boston, MA (May 16-17); Chicago, IL (June 6-June 7); Rocky Mountains, CO (June 27-28); San Francisco, CA (July 11-12); Los Angeles, CA (September 12-13); New York, NY (October 10-11); and Charlotte, NC (October 24-25).
To register, donate or for additional information, please visit www.avonwalk.org
or call 800-541-WALK. For information on the Avon Foundation visit www.avonfoundation.org