Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston Raises $3.9 Million
Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast and Boston Hometown Hero Aly Raisman Joined Avon Walkers at Reebok Headquarters on Saturday
The 12th annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued in Boston this weekend, raising $3.9 million to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer.
The Avon Walk Boston – the third of eight 2014 Avon Walks across the country – attracted 1,700 participants from 35 states and Washington, D.C., as well as Canada. In addition, 220 breast cancer survivors and 287 men joined together to raise lifesaving funds for breast cancer. On Saturday, Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast and Boston Hometown Hero Aly Raisman paid a special visit to the Walk’s “Wellness Village” at Reebok World Headquarters, where she signed autographs for participants, as well as their families and friends.
During the Closing Ceremony at the University of Massachusetts Boston, breast cancer survivor Peter Devereaux shared his journey of survival and what motivated him to participate in his first Avon Walk. “As an ex-Marine and past Golden Gloves boxer, I thought I was the toughest guy on earth, and the odds of seeing me in pink were close to zero. Then I found a cyst on my chest, which turned out to be stage 3B breast cancer. It changed my life forever,” Devereaux said. “After countless procedures, including a mastectomy and 14 months of chemotherapy and radiation, I feel incredibly fortunate. I am lucky to be here today at the Avon Walk to help spread the word that men can get breast cancer, too. And I walk for the countless people who are not as lucky as I have been.”
Eloise Caggiano, a breast cancer survivor and Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Program Director, announced eight new grants to local breast cancer organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the local community. “These grants represent only a portion of the funding that the Avon Foundation will distribute in the Boston area and across the country this year, but we want to make sure the impact of your Walk begins today. Every grant moves us closer toward our goal of a world without breast cancer,” said Caggiano.
The New England organizations that received grants on stage include:
- Massachusetts General Hospital received a $500,000 grant to support the Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Care and Research Center, which is the hub of all research, education and clinical care activities for breast health at the hospital.
- Boston University received a $300,000 grant to study if environmental chemicals cause changes to breast tumors, enabling them to spread from their original site to distant organs.
- Boston Medical Center received a $150,000 grant to help screen more than 17,000 women this year and provide navigation services to patients to remove barriers and coordinate access to care for prompt diagnosis.
- Silent Spring Institute received a $150,000 grant to continue research into the role of environmental chemicals in causing breast cancer.
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute received a $150,000 grant to help researchers employ a “big data” scientific approach to determine if viruses or bacteria play a role in breast cancer development.
- Community Servings, an organization that served lunch and snacks throughout the Avon Walk weekend, received a $100,000 grant to help provide meals for more than 540 clients fighting breast cancer and their families, ensuring that patients receive high-quality, nutritious meals when they need it the most.
- Cambridge Health Alliance received a $100,000 grant to provide navigation and support services for 3,500 underserved patients undergoing diagnostic testing or treatment for breast cancer.
- Tufts Medical Center received a $100,000 grant to help navigate nearly 60 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients from Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood through treatment.
In addition to awarding local Boston area grants, the Avon Foundation will continue to provide leadership support nationally for the fight against breast cancer. Recent initiatives include:
- 2014 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study: The Avon Foundation funded a nationwide study in partnership with Chicago’s Sinai Urban Health Institute to determine why more black women are dying of breast cancer than white women in 39 of the largest U.S. cities. The study revealed that Washington, D.C. had a large and widening racial disparity in breast cancer mortality.
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance: The Avon Foundation is leading a new metastatic breast cancer alliance of 20 breast cancer agencies that are working to discover better ways to help those living with the disease and reduce deaths due to breast cancer recurrences.
- Breast Cancer Start-Up Challenge: The Avon Foundation, The Center for Advancing Innovation, and the National Cancer Institute partnered to create a business start-up challenge to fast-track ten promising breast cancer research discoveries. The inventions were conceived and developed by Avon Foundation grantees and scientists at the National Cancer Institute.
- Avon Comprehensive Breast Centers and Breast Health Outreach Programs: Through Avon Walk donations, the Avon Foundation continues to fund seven Avon Comprehensive Breast Centers across the country, accelerate breast cancer screening and treatment at 55 Safety Net Hospital Programs, provide financial assistance and counseling support nationwide through AVONCares at Cancer Care, and educate the public through 58 Avon Breast Health Outreach Programs. All Avon Safety Net and Breast Cancer Outreach Program grantees commit to providing their services to everyone – no matter their insurance status, demographic background or ability to pay.
About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston began on Saturday, May 17 at 6:30 a.m. with an inspirational opening ceremony at University of Massachusetts Boston. Participants then walked 26.2 miles through the Boston area, supported by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by supporters, including Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast Aly Raisman. Walkers then spent Saturday night at the Walk’s “Wellness Village” at Reebok World Headquarters, featuring pink two-person tents, hot showers and meals, entertainment and volunteer medical services, as well as leisure activities such as yoga and a spa zone with mini-back and foot massages.
On Sunday, May 18, after completing the Avon Walk’s final 13.1 miles, participants joined family and friends to celebrate their achievement at the closing ceremony back at University of Massachusetts Boston where the new grants were awarded.
Get Involved with Avon Walks for Breast Cancer
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston was the third of eight walks taking place around the country this year. Registration is open for the remaining 2014 Avon Walks in the following cities: Chicago (May 31- June 1), San Francisco (July 12-13), Santa Barbara (September 6-7), New York City (October 18-19) and Charlotte (October 25-26).
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