Fifth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston Raises $2 Million

1,000 Women and Men Join Together to Participate in the 39.3-mile Walk; Eight Local Breast Cancer Organizations Receive Grants

Houston, TX, April 22, 2012 – The tenth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season kicked off with the fifth annual Avon Walk in Houston this weekend, which raised $2 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Houston attracted 1,000 participants from 29 states and Washington, DC, including 108 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

During the closing ceremony at Stude Park, one-year breast cancer survivor Avni Mehta, 29, of Sugar Land, Tex., emotionally detailed her breast cancer journey, which began last year with a diagnosis when she was just 28 years old.

“I’ve just finished my very first Avon Walk, and finishing was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.  It was the culmination of a journey that started just over a year ago when, at the age of 28, my doctor told me that the lump I had found was breast cancer.  I was the healthiest person I knew.  I had no family history.  I was told that I was too young.  And I had breast cancer,” said Mehta. “Yes, it was me who had breast cancer.  Yes, it was my body that had to fight for its very existence.  Yes, it was me who crossed that finish line today after walking 39.3 miles in order to help save other young lives just like mine.  And yes, it is me who stands here before you as a proud and grateful breast cancer survivor.”

Kevin Honeycutt, Executive Director of Program Development at the Avon Foundation for Women, announced during the closing ceremony a total of $1.5 million in grants to eight local organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the community. “These grants represent only a portion of the funding that the Avon Foundation will distribute in the Houston area and across the country this year, but we want to make sure that the impact of this Walk begins today,” said Honeycutt.

The following are the Texas grants announced at the Closing Ceremony:

  • The Sister’s Network received a $50,000 grant, to fund the attendance of breast cancer survivors at the 13th Annual National African American Breast Cancer Conference.
  • Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation received a $125,000 grant, which will pay for survivors and advocates to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium this December and disseminate information about new research results throughout the country.
  • University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center received two grants. The first grant, for $125,000, will support a program bringing genetic counseling, testing and risk reduction to Harris County’s Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital for the first time. The second grant, for $150,000, will enable Associate Professor Dr. Isabelle Bedrosian to conduct research to develop new tests to predict which women are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • The Breast Health Collaborative of Texas received a grant for $150,000 to identify gaps in care and improve care coordination for low-income and uninsured women throughout metropolitan Houston.
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston received a grant for $200,000 for community education, outreach and patient navigation.
  • The Rose received a grant of $200,000 to support navigation services and mobile mammography equipment for the tens of thousands of women they help annually.
  • Baylor College of Medicine received a grant of $250,000 to continue to fight health disparities for the economically disadvantaged and minority women in Houston and Harris County by expanding access to breast care services through their Pink 4 Life Program at Baylor and Ben Taub General Hospital.
  • Texas Tech University Health Science Center received a grant of $300,000 to support a research project examining the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent the disease.

About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston
During the Avon Walk Houston, participants had the choice of walking a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon and half (39.3 miles) over the weekend, which kicked off on Saturday, April 21, with an early morning opening ceremony at Stude Park. Immediately following the ceremony, walkers began their journey trekking through the greater Houston area and finishing their day with fellow walkers at “Wellness Village” at Rice University. The “Wellness Village” featured pink two-person sleeping tents, hot showers, prepared meals, entertainment, volunteer medical services and comprehensive support services. Additionally, leisure activities such as yoga and a spa zone with mini-back-and-foot-massages were available to participants. On Sunday, April 22, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending at Stude Park where they were greeted by thousands of family and friends, and celebrated the completion of their journey at a moving closing ceremony which included the awarding of new grants.

To participate in the Avon Walk Houston, 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 raised, 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. 

Since its launch in 2003, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series has raised more than $423 million through the dedication of more than 160,000 participating women and men from across the country, including thousands of Avon Associates and Representatives. The Avon Walk Houston is the first event of the 2012 season, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining 2012 Avon Walks: Washington, DC (May 5-6), Boston (May 19-20), Chicago (June 2-3), Rocky Mountains, CO (June 23-24), San Francisco (July 7-8), Santa Barbara (September 22-23), New York City (October 20-21), and Charlotte, NC (October 27-28).

For more information on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or to donate, visit www.avonwalk.org or call 888-541-WALK.  To learn more about the Avon Foundation for Women visit www.avonfoundation.org.

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The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsors: Reebok and OtterBox, Local Sponsors: The Egg and I, Methodist Hospital, Academy Sports & Outdoors, the Westin Memorial City, Applebee’s Restaurant Partnership of Central Texas, Women’s Health Group, REI, Prestigious Party Rentals and Medical Sponsor: Baylor College of Medicine

Remember: early detection can help save livesDiscuss breast cancer screening with your doctor. Make informed decisions about what age to start mammography. Get to know your risk and risk reduction strategies. 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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