Avon Walk: Eloise Reports from Chicago
June 6, 2013
We were off to a great start in Chicago last weekend — the sun was shining on us for a beautiful Opening Ceremony and for about the first 20 miles of Saturday’s route. And then the skies opened up and we all got soaked with thunderstorms for several hours, making for a soggy, muddy mess! Our Walkers and Crew are real troopers though, and despite more rain and colder temps on Sunday, they persevered and crossed the finish line with smiles on their faces!
Despite the rain, our Walkers were all smiles as the finish line came into view!
Bright and early on Friday morning I was interviewed by the local ABC-TV traffic reporter, Roz Varon, who is a seven-year breast cancer survivor (like me!) and who was walking in the event with her daughter. Thanks to Roz’s participation, the station did a lot to promote the Avon Walk, including a live interview from the route on Sunday morning. Note the fabulous foul-weather get-ups our Walkers are sporting! Everything from garbage bags to Mylar blankets – but they top off those rain ponchos with a smile, so they still look fabulous if you ask me! (Personally, I was wearing about seven layers of clothing Sunday morning to try to stay warm, but peeled off a few top layers before jumping on camera so I didn’t look like a crazy person!)
So I’ve got two Avon Walk “firsts” to tell you about. While we have SO MANY dedicated participants who give so much of their time, effort, money, sweat, and tears to the Avon Walk, I’ve never seen Avon Walk dedication in the form of a tattoo! Last weekend, I met a woman who had the Avon Walk logo tattooed on her foot!
Yes, it’s real! Crew member Julie Hauchen sports the Avon Walk “ribbon walkers” on her foot!
And the second unique aspect of the Chicago Walk: I was asked for my autograph! If you didn’t know, there is a terrific Avon Walk cookbook called the Fix It & Forget It PINK Cookbook and $1 from every book (with a minimum of $100,000!) supports the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. The slow-cooker recipe cookbook features 60+ pages of breast health info, Avon Walk info, and stories and recipes from our Walkers and beneficiaries. It also includes my mom’s amazing pot roast recipe, as well as hundreds of other delicious recipes! Last weekend, a lovely mother-daughter duo purchased several of them — and then asked me to autograph them!
My 30 seconds of fame. I’m not sure who got more of a kick out of the experience, me, or them??
We had TWO great Avon teams in Chicago — Team Avon Morton Grove and Team Avon Springdale — as well as more Avon Representatives and Avon employees who joined us for the weekend.
Huge thanks to Avon Morton Grove and Springdale who send teams to the Avon Walk Chicago year after year!
The reason we do all of this is to raise the funds we donate to incredible organizations at our Closing Ceremony. In Chicago, we presented eight grants on stage to very deserving community organizations and cancer centers that will provide breast cancer care for those who desperately need it and research better ways to detect breast cancer and ultimately prevent it altogether. Learn more about these beneficiaries who are fighting breast cancer in Chicago and beyond.
We’ve got a summer break now until September when we head to Santa Barbara and San Francisco, so have a safe and happy summer, everyone! And if you’re near those West Coast cities, or New York or Charlotte, why not start your Walk training now?
In it to end it –
Avon Walk: Eloise Reports from Boston
May 22, 2013
Each Avon Walk is filled with inspiration, celebration, and stories of courage and hope. The Avon Walk Boston was no different, and even a touch more poignant given that Boston experienced such tragedy just one month ago and is still continuing to heal. We were grateful to have so many proud Bostonians with us and glad to bring our Avon Walk family together for a special weekend.
And no one embodies the positive Avon Walk vibe more than our incredible Avon Walk Youth Crew! The Youth Crew is made up of 10- to 16-year-old kids who bring such energy and enthusiasm to the weekend. They work hard all weekend, cheer the Walkers on, and they fundraise. Boy, do they fundraise! A creative and spirited group, they bet their team leader, Jeremy, that if they raised $20,000 he would have to shave his hair into a mohawk! For an additional $1,000 raised, Jeremy would have to wear a dress for the weekend! As you can see ... the kids won!
Team Leader (and former Youth Crew member) Jeremy Hall is a good sport, donning a dress and a mohawk for the weekend to inspire the Youth Crew to achieve an awesome $24,000 in fundraising!
The Youth Crew shows some Boston love at the Avon Walk.
Some folks think “I could never walk 39.3 miles!” — and the truth is, you don’t have to. The Avon Walk is not a competition, and you can walk the mileage that suits you best. But to help Walkers prepare for whatever their mileage goal, we worked with our national sponsor Reebok on Go The Distance Avon Walk Training — a special program just for Avon Walkers, including tips and tools to get you ready to cross the finish line with a smile on your face. Reebok fitness expert Amy Dixon led our Boston warm-up exercises Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and then joined her Team Reebok teammates and walked all 39.3 miles!
Reebok fitness expert Amy Dixon helps Walkers go the distance. Check out our Avon Walk training program and a video from Amy!
The Avon Foundation presented nine grants at the closing ceremony to incredible organizations, including several first-time recipients LifeSpan Foundation, BIOarray Therapeutics, and Mount Sinai Hospital (in collaboration with Harvard Medical School). Several long-time Avon Foundation partners also received grants, including Community Servings, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Tufts University School of Medicine. See all the grants presented in Boston.
This grant to Mass General (home of the Avon Foundation Breast Care Center of Excellence) will support research looking at the association between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, as well as programs to help low income women receive breast cancer care at Mass General and at five neighborhood health care centers. Mass General was also the medical sponsor of the Avon Walk Boston — keeping our Walkers safe and healthy all weekend!
We wrapped up this fantastic weekend with an Avon Foundation team road trip! Several of us were scheduled to take the train home from Boston on Sunday night, but due to the train derailment in Connecticut on Friday, halting all train service between Boston and New York, we piled in the rental car and drove our way back to New York City. It was reminiscent of (but thankfully much shorter than) our drive home from the Avon Walk Charlotte the Sunday before Hurricane Sandy hit, and all air travel to New York was canceled — we can’t win! But hey, it makes for some quality team bonding!
We’ll rest and recharge this holiday weekend and then we’re off to the windy city! Let’s just hope we don’t have to drive home from Chicago!
In it to end it –
PS: Walking and talking! Here’s an interview I did last Friday morning with the local FOX station, WFXT-TV.
A big thank you to Team Avon Boston, and all of the Avon Reps and Associates who joined us this weekend!
Avon Walk: Eloise Reports from Washington DC
May 8, 2013
I'm back from a beautifully sunny Avon Walk Washington DC that took us past all the fabulous monuments and sights of our nation's capitol! It was a particularly exciting weekend because we celebrated a few very extraordinary milestones!
Deb Wills, an 11-time Avon Walker and 27-year breast cancer survivor, raised more than $100,000 for the Avon Walk DC last year. We were incredibly impressed when Deb hit the $100k mark in her fundraising — it was her highest total ever! Pretty fantastic, right? Well, what's even more impressive is that she did it again this year! Deb raised more than $103,000 for the 2013 DC Walk! WOW! And that brings her total fundraising to date to more than $500,000! We celebrated by presenting her with a personalized Avon Walk jacket. She was moved to tears and she wore her new jacket proudly all weekend!
Avon Walker and 27-year survivor Deb Wills hits the half-million mark with her super star fundraising!
We also celebrated a big milestone reached by our longtime beneficiary Food & Friends. Thanks in part to Avon Walk funding, Food & Friends just served its 1 millionth Pink Ribbon Home Delivery meal — a critical service that brings nutritious meals to homebound breast cancer patients and their families. Food & Friends presented a pink glass food delivery bag sculpture to Carol Kurzig to thank the Avon Foundation for the generous funding that has made this program possible — it is now proudly on display in our office at 777! Check out this interview with Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman where he describes the importance of Avon Foundation funding to this program.
Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman (dressed here as Miss Ivanna Beat Breast Cancer!) presents Carol Kurzig with a commemorative art work to thank the Foundation for its long-term support.
Sometimes I assume that by now, in my sixth season of Avon Walks, I've seen it all. All the funny T-shirts, all the clever slogans, etc. But this was the first Walk where I saw a team walking with cupcakes on their heads!
Ends up these gals were on the Food & Friends walking team, so the food-themed headwear was quite appropriate!
The 10 grants we presented at the Closing Ceremony were met with great applause, as always, and will help the fight against breast cancer in DC and beyond. We presented grants to Safety Net hospitals to ensure that all women and men have access to quality breast cancer care, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, as well as grants for exciting breast cancer research. Thanks to Avon Walk funds, our grantees are looking for new diagnostic tests to determine who is at risk for breast cancer, a blood test for earlier detection of breast cancer, and so much more! It's amazing to see the pride on our participants' faces when they see how much good the money they raised will do.
Two of our beneficiaries had incredible walking teams this year: Johns Hopkins University had a team of more than 35 members, and Lombardi/Capital Breast Care Center was the No. 2 fundraising team this weekend at more than $136,000!
And of course I can't wrap this up without giving a big shout to Team Avon Washington DC! Thank you to the team members and to all of the Avon Representatives and Associates who joined us this weekend!
We've got one weekend at home and then we head to Beantown! Looking forward to showing some support and bringing our positive Avon Walk community together in Boston!
In it to end it –
Avon Walk: Eloise Reports from Houston
April 25, 2013
I'm just back from the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston, our first Walk of the 2013 season. What a great weekend! I travel to all eight of our Avon Walks across the country, and although we're busy all year round planning and preparing for these events, I was eager to get back out there to walk with our great supporters. I'll report after each Avon Walk to give you an inside look at all the amazing aspects of the Avon Walk experience. I welcome your questions, so feel free to e-mail me email@example.com, or better yet, come join us at one of the Avon Walks this year!
The weekend started off in true Avon Walk fashion with our Opening Ceremony. It's a moment to remember the reasons why we all got up at the crack of dawn that day! From the stage I can see the hope in their faces, the pride in their smiles, and sometimes, the tears in their eyes. And I get to see their faces light up when we announce how much money they have raised together — $2.1 million just this weekend in Houston!
That money is already going to good use through the eight grants we presented at our Closing Ceremony to local organizations leading the fight against breast cancer in Texas. For every Avon Walker, 24 newly diagnosed patients can get counseling and support. For every Avon Walker, 9 breast cancer patients can get an important diagnostic test. The money raised by one Walker can help cover the cost of a lumpectomy for an uninsured patient. The impact one person can have is incredible, because the more of us who walk, the more of us survive.
We were thrilled to have two teams of Avon Associates and Representatives participating in Houston. As always, we had the Avon Bluebonnet Crusaders — a dedicated and passionate team led by team captain and Avon District Manager Teresa Macias. We also had a small but mighty group who traveled from NY to participate in Houston — Team Avon Suffern, led by Lisa Lamberty (Executive Director, Color Cosmetics Product and Process Development, Research & Development)! We are always so thankful when our Avon family shows their support.
One of the most poignant moments of the Houston event was in the dining tent on Saturday evening when Sandra Bishnoi, a 2-time Avon Walker, spoke to the crowd about her stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Sandra, a mother, chemistry professor, and scientist, was shocked to receive her diagnosis at age 37. Despite her serious diagnosis, she spoke with confidence, eloquence, and hope, and was an inspiration to everyone. It is stories like Sandra's that remind us why we keep walking and working to end this disease.
Before I sign off, I want to share three of my favorite fun pics from the weekend:
Pigs can fly! One of our dedicated Crew leaders, Will Hamzy, built this flying pig that he attached to his truck! In addition to working hard out on the route, Will also spoke at our Opening Ceremony about the grandmother he lost to breast cancer and his wife who is a survivor (and fellow Crew member!)
The spirit and support don't stop with our Walkers and Crew! This canine crusader named Meatball stopped by our Wellness Village at Rice University to say hello and bring smiles to our tired Walkers. This pup has pizazz!
Strike a pose! Members of our #2 fundraising team, the Passionately Pink Teachers are not too tired to show a little spunk out on the route!
We are headed to our nation's capitol next. Washington DC is an incredible city with so much to see, but I already know the highlight will be the special people I'll meet!
In it to end it –