Seventh Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York Raises $9.5 Million – Largest Avon Walk This Year

Suze Orman Participates in Closing Ceremony; Grants Awarded to Eight Local Area Breast Cancer Organizations

NEW YORK, Oct 11, 2009—The seventh annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk in New York this weekend, which raised more than $9.5 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, making it the largest Avon Walk of 2009. The Avon Walk New York is the eighth of nine Avon Walks this year, and the event attracted 4,000 participants drawn from 4 countries and 46 states plus Washington, DC. Among the participants were nearly 450 breast cancer survivors and over 400 men, who joined together to raise lifesaving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

During the Closing Ceremony festivities at Hudson River Park Pier 84, 30-year-old walker and 2-year breast cancer survivor JoAnn Astrosky from Carmel, NY 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.

“My story of survival is a success story because I had excellent medical care and a lot of loving support from my family, my friends and my colleagues,” noted Astrosky. “But there are people who don’t have a large family or a dedicated network of friends and co-workers, and who don’t have access to medical care or adequate health insurance. And that’s why we’re here. Every step we took this weekend was a step to help someone in need. I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished this weekend.”

Suze Orman, financial expert and Special Ambassador for the Avon Foundation for Women, joined with Carol Kurzig, President of the Avon Foundation, to present grants during the celebratory Closing Ceremony. Eight local and regional breast cancer organizations received a total of $8,690,900, which ensures the funds raised immediately benefit the community, with a special focus on helping the medically underserved. “We are delighted with the results of our seventh Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York, which is the largest Avon Walk this year,” stated Kurzig. “We have supported breast cancer organizations in the tri-state area for many years, and the outpouring of support and generosity this year, despite the economic situation we are all facing, has allowed us to once again make substantial and much-needed new grants that will benefit those facing breast cancer in the area and nationwide.”

The new Avon Walk New York grants include:

  • The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund received $6,000,000 to support more than 140 community-based organizations nationwide that provide breast cancer education, outreach and screening. In 2010 these organizations will together facilitate more than 120,000 mammograms and clinical breast exams, and educate more than 1.5 million people about breast cancer. The grant to this hallmark 10-year-old national program of the Avon Foundation was accepted by Kathy Gates Ferris, Project Director and longtime Avon Walk walker.
  • CancerCare received $1,125,000 for its Avon_Cares_ program that provides direct financial assistance to low-income breast cancer patients, reaching women in 85% of all U.S. counties and all 50 states. To date, more than 39,000 patients have been helped. The grant was accepted by Jane Levy, Director of Patient Assistance.
  • The Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center of Excellence in the Herbert Irving Cancer Center at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center received $750,000 that will continue to fund care for thousands of underserved women in a state-of-the art mammography center and will also support breast cancer research and clinical trials there. This brings total Avon Foundation support for Columbia-Presbyterian to $20 million dollars since 2000. The grant was accepted by Dr. Dawn Hershman, Co-Director of the Breast Program of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Dr. Elise Desperito, Chief of Breast Imaging at Columbia.
  • God’s Love We Deliver received $200,000 to continue the program to provide nutrition education and meals to breast cancer patients and their families throughout the New York area. God’s Love We Deliver is part of a network of nutrition programs funded by the Avon Foundation across the country. The grant was accepted by Karen Pearl, President and CEO.
  • Niagara University received $150,000 to support an exciting research project attempting to develop a new test that will use urine samples to screen for breast cancer and accelerate early detection. The award was accepted by Dr. Mary McCourt, Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair at the University.
  • Three grants were awarded as part of the Avon Safety Net program that currently funds over 100 hospitals across the country to ensure that all women have access to quality breast cancer services and care, regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. These new grants will fund patient navigators and vital equipment, which are both critical to quality care, and will reach women from New York City, northern suburbs, and in New Jersey. These grants are:

    • St. John’s Riverside Hospital and the Community Hospital at Dobb’s Ferry received $100,000; which was accepted by Anastasia Hagan, Director of Development.
    • Newark Beth Israel Hospital received $125,000, which was accepted by Pam Rayvid, Grants Manager.
    • NYU Cancer Center and Bellevue Hospital Collaborative received $240,000, which was accepted by Kristin Bright, Co-Director of the Avon Safety Net Program at Bellevue Hospital.

During the Avon Walk New York, 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, October 10th, with an early morning Opening Ceremony in Hudson River Park’s Pier 84. Following the Ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through the greater NYC Area and concluding at the Avon Walk “Wellness Village” at Randall’s Island, 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, October 11th walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending back in Hudson River Park’s Pier 84, where they were greeted by thousands of family and friends who shared in a celebratory and moving Closing Ceremony, including the awarding of new grants.

To participate in the Avon Walk New York, each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations. Funds raised are managed and disbursed by the Avon Foundation for Women [a 501©(3) public charity] and 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 New York, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining Avon Walk of 2009 in Charlotte, NC (October 24-25) and all Walks in 2010.

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.

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsor: Reebok; and Official Sponsors: Genentech BioOncology and Tomboy Tools.

Remember: early detection can help save lives. Schedule your mammogram or clinical breast exam today. For more breast cancer information and resources, visit www.cancer.org (keyword breast cancer) or www.avonfoundation.org, where you can access free printable breast cancer informational literature.

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