Avon Walk: Eloise Reports from Houston

Apr. 13, 2014

On April 12-13 we kicked off our 2014 Avon Walk season at Walk #1 of eight in Houston. After a long winter break, I was eager to lace up my Reeboks and log some miles! It was a terrific weekend filled with inspiration, celebration, a few tears, and tons of special stories. After a brutal New York City winter, it felt extra nice to be in the sunshine worrying about whether I applied enough sunblock – even though Houston’s humidity has its very own challenges (it’s all about the hair!)

At every Avon Walk, a local survivor tells his/her story during our Closing Ceremony. Dana Clark is a very special woman with a big heart and a big smile. Despite all that she’s been through, she hasn’t let her diagnosis of breast cancer at the young age of 32 get her down. Dana’s diagnosis and treatment were filled with challenges – a double mastectomy, complications with her reconstructive surgery, a hysterectomy, a collapsed lung, and to top it off, she also discovered that she is allergic to narcotic pain killers (about which she jokes “the only good part of surgery is the drugs you get afterward… and I couldn’t even enjoy that!”). But she is determined to use her story to help others and to fulfill her dream of becoming a mom, no matter what it takes. It was a true pleasure to get about seven hugs from her over the course of the weekend.

My fellow survivor, Dana!

We had two fantastic teams of Avon Representatives and Associates in Houston. The Avon Crusaders, led by DSM Teresa Macias, have been at every Houston Walk since the beginning and were again among the top 10 teams, with 40 members raising more than $36,400! And we had some intrepid Avon Associates who traveled from Suffern to be part of the Houston Walk this year, led by Michele Duggan and her husband. They have always been great supporters of Team Avon, and we’re proud to say that they have now completed a walk in every Avon Walk city!

For the seventh year in a row, the Avon Crusaders brought their Avon pride to our Houston Walk.

I also spent some time walking and talking with some of the Crusaders for the Cure. The 50+ members of the Crusaders team are employees of the Texas company, Municipal & Operations Consulting. And more than 20 of those team walkers were men, including the company’s proud CEO and president, Lonnie Wright. In 2014, this great team completed their fourth Houston Walk and were the #1 fundraising team, with a whopping $85,000+ in donations. Thank you Crusaders!

With 1,000 participants and more than $2 million raised, Houston provided a great kick-off to the Avon Walk season. At our Closing Ceremony, grants were presented to 10 wonderful organizations that are leading the fight against breast cancer in the Houston area. To learn more, click here. Each beneficiary had the chance to thank the Walkers and Crew personally, which is a new feature to our Ceremony. Our participants and our beneficiaries really loved hearing from the researchers and doctors and navigators who are doing this important work.

Dr. Nirvath from Baylor College of Medicine accepts grant on stage at the 2014 Houston Walk. Dr. Nirvath was also the Avon Walk Medical Director in Houston, who led an all-volunteer medical crew to keep Walkers healthy all weekend.

We’re heading to Washington DC in just a few weeks. I’ll report back then, and after each of the eight Avon Walks this year. As always, if you’ve got a question about the Avon Walk, please reach out to me directly, anytime.

In it to end it –

Fun bonus photo: Every Avon Walk is a great tour of the city! Our Houston route took us past the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall, a multi-story sculptural fountain designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Philip Johnson. But to me, the most impressive thing here is the air the woman on the right is getting – after 14 miles of walking! Way to go!

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Program Director Eloise Caggiano

Eloise Caggiano is the program director for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and a eight-year breast cancer survivor. Here, she shares her tales from the trails.

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