Eighth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer San Francisco Raises More than $5.5 Million

More than 2,500 Men and Women Participate in the 39.3-mile Walk; 11 Local Breast Cancer Organizations Receive Grants

San Francisco, CA, July 11, 2010 — The eighth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk San Francisco this weekend, which raised more than $5.5 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk San Francisco, the sixth of nine Avon Walks this year, attracted more than 2,500 participants from 46 states and Washington, D.C. – as well as Australia, Canada and Mexico – including 259 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise lifesaving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

During the Closing Ceremony at Fort Mason, one-year breast cancer survivor Marissa Castoro, from San Francisco, spoke movingly about being a single mother battling breast cancer: “Having cancer is incredibly humbling, but also incredibly heartening.  And that’s why I’m here this weekend, and why my mom and several others walked together as a team -- because we need to build hope for everyone battling breast cancer. I want to be an inspiration to other young survivors who may think they’ve got the deck stacked against them.”

Carol Kurzig, president of the Avon Foundation for Women, announced during the Closing Ceremony a total of $2.75 million in grants to 11 local organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to additional local and national breast cancer programs.

“Our beneficiaries are changing the course of breast cancer - here in San Francisco, across the country, and around the world,” said Kurzig. “The Avon Foundation for Women has awarded more than $32 million to breast cancer organizations in Northern California over the 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 here in Northern California and nationwide.”

Following are the Northern California grants announced at the Closing Ceremony: 

 - Shanti Project received $100,000 to support the Shanti’s LifeLines Breast Cancer Program to help coordinate breast cancer care for extremely low income and uninsured women in San Francisco.  Executive Director Kaushik Roy accepted the award. 

 - Zero Breast Cancer received $125,000 to continue its efforts to engage the community in breast cancer research to better understand the role genetic and environmental factors may play in breast cancer risk. Community Outreach and Education Coordinator Cassandra Aldsworth accepted the award.

 - Six grants further strengthen the Avon Safety Net program, a safety net of more than 100 hospitals across the country that ensure women and men who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the healthcare system have access to high quality breast cancer services.  The Safety Net grants include:

    • Women's Cancer Resource Center received $125,000, accepted by Executive Director Peggy McGuire.
    • The Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino County received $125,000, accepted by Executive Director Sara O’Donnell.
    • The Palo Alto Medical Foundation received $150,000, accepted by Foundation President Dr. Larry de Ghetaldi.
    • Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic received $150,000, accepted by Executive Director Krista Alderson.
    • Alameda County Medical Center received $150,000, accepted by Deputy Director for Ambulatory Care Adimika Arthur.
    • San Joaquin General Hospital received $300,000, accepted by Diagnostic Imaging Manager Evette Quiroz.

 - Project Open Hand received $200,000 to support its Homebound Critically ill Program to provide meals, grocery services and education programs for breast cancer patients and their families. Chair of the Board of Trustees Laura Smith accepted the grant.

  - Stanford University received $300,000 to support research into the role Bisphenol A (BPA) may play in breast cancer development. Sabrina Fong, Stanford University operations and finance manager, accepted the grant.

  - The Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at San Francisco General Hospital, one of the Avon Foundation for Women’s eight flagship breast center programs nationwide, received $900,000. The grant will support the mobile mammography van, a high-risk genetic clinic, community outreach and breast cancer research programs. The grant also will fund the Consortium of Underserved BRCA Testers, a multi-institutional program to building capacity to identify and serve underserved women at high risk of hereditary breast cancer. With this grant, the Avon Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to support the center, which has performed more than 48,000 mammograms and more than 3,000 breast health procedures since 2004. Dr. Judy Luce, director of the Avon-San Francisco General Hospital Breast Cancer Center of Excellence, accepted the award.


 About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer San Francisco

During the Avon Walk San Francisco, 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, July 10, with an early morning Opening Ceremony at Fort Mason. Following the ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through San Francisco and concluding at the Avon Walk “Wellness Village” at Crocker Amazon Park, a “tent city” complete with two-person tents, hot showers, prepared meals, entertainment, and recreational activities such as the Spa Zone, yoga and Tomboy Tools’ “Tool School 101” demonstrations. On Sunday, July 11, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending back at Fort Mason, 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 San Francisco, each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations. The Avon Foundation for Women [a 501(c)(3) public charity] raises and manages the funds, which it awards 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.

The Avon Walks series launched in 2003 and through mid-2010 the Avon Walks have raised more than $354 million through the dedication of more than 120,000 participating women and men. The Avon Walk San Francisco is the sixth of nine 2010 Avon Walks, following successful events in Houston, TX; Washington, D.C.; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and Rocky Mountains, CO, that have raised more than $32 million so far.

Donations are still being accepted for the Avon Walk San Francisco and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining Avon Walks of 2010:  Santa Barbara, CA (September 11-12); New York, NY (October 16-17); and Charlotte, NC (October 23-24).

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 Sponsors: Reebok and Genentech BioOncology; and Official Sponsors: Tomboy Tools, Yoga Journal and Otterbox.

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.