SEVENTH ANNUAL AVON WALK FOR BREAST CANCER LOS ANGELES RAISES MORE THAN $4.6 MILLION
PATRICK DEMPSEY VISITS AVON WALK LOS ANGELES AND SPEAKS TO MORE THAN 2,000 PARTICIPANTS
GRANTS AWARDED TO 7 LOCAL BREAST CANCER ORGANIZATIONS
Los Angeles, CA, September 14, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — The seventh annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season continued with the Avon Walk in Los Angeles this weekend, which raised more than $4.6 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Avon Walk Los Angeles is the seventh of nine Avon Walks this year, and the event attracted more than 2,000 participants drawn from 33 states, including almost 200 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise lifesaving funds and awareness for breast cancer.
Actor and Avon Foundation for Women Special Ambassador, Patrick Dempsey was a special guest at the Closing Ceremony. Patrick raffled off the race suit he wore in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January and encouraged walkers to compete in the Dempsey Racing Champions' Circle for the opportunity to attend a 2010 race with the Dempsey Racing Team.
During the Closing Ceremony at Queen Mary Events Park, walker and seven-year breast cancer survivor Lynn May from Azusa, California was one of several speakers who provided an immediate reminder of the impact of breast cancer and the importance of taking personal action to make a difference.
"My story of survival is a success story because I had great medical care and a lot of loving support. But there are people out there who donít have a large family, who don't have dedicated network of friends and co-workers and who donít have access to medical care. And thatís why we're here. Every step we took this weekend was a step to help someone in need. Because help is desperately needed, right here in our neighborhoods," said May.
Patrick Dempsey joined the closing ceremony on stage to congratulate the walkers as well as the local breast cancer organizations who received a total of $2.6 million in grants, which were awarded on Sunday to ensure that funds raised immediately benefit the community. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide. In saluting the Doctors and Scientists, Patrick commented that, "I am so proud to support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer here in my hometown of Los Angeles." He continued, "It's really extraordinary that thousands of walkers come together and put so much physical and mental effort into a single cause."
The new Los Angeles-area grants include:
- Project Angel Food (Los Angeles) received $100,000 to support a home-delivered meals and nutrition services program for breast cancer clients and their families in greater Los Angeles County, from Lancaster to Long Beach. Accepting the award was CEO, Margaret Steele.
- Northridge Hospital Foundation (Northridge) received $100,000 to support a patient navigator program to help underserved breast cancer patients secure the complete range of services and care they need at the Northridge Hospital System. Accepting the award was Cancer Service Line Director, Nana Deeb.
- Council of Community Clinics (San Diego) received $150,000 to support the breast cancer care coordinator network, which provides care coordination, screening mammograms and diagnostic services, referral to follow up, and breast health education and outreach to low-income women throughout San Diego. Accepting the award was Project Coordinator Lauren Abrams.
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles) received $300,000 to support a study that will evaluate whether two common fertility drugs can mimic early pregnancy & alter the gene & protein expression profile of breast tissue in women who have had a full-term pregnancy or not. Accepting the award was Professor of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Anna H. Wu.
- Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope (Suarte) received $300,000 to launch the Love/Avon Army of Women-Hope Cohort study that will create a new, powerful study group for research into questions related to breast cancer incidence, cause and survival. Accepting the award was Assistant Research Professor Dr. Katherine Henderson.
- Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (Santa Monica) received $800,000 to support the Love/Avon Army of Women — a program that both links women interested in participating in breast cancer prevention research directly with scientists, and challenges scientists to study breast cancer in humans, with the ultimate goal of prevention. The Army of Women launched on October 1, 2008 and has recruited over 302,000 women to date. Accepting the award was Dr. Susan Love.
- UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (Los Angeles) received $850,000 to support the Avon Cares For Life Program, which includes on-site patient navigation, survivorship programs, high-risk clinic and clinical trials infrastructure at the "Avon Breast Cancer Center" at UCLA-Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (located in the center of Los Angeles at the main UCLA campus) and the Olive View Medical Center and its related community clinics, and support for breast imaging fellowships at the Iris Cancer Center for Breast Imaging and UCLA Santa Monica Women's Imaging Centers. Accepting the award was Program Manager, Avon Cares for Life Program, Lori Viveros.
During the Avon Walk Los Angeles, 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, September 12th, with an early morning Opening Ceremony in Queen Mary Events Park. Following the Ceremony, walkers began their journey, traveling through the greater San Francisco Bay Area and concluding at the Avon Walk "Wellness Village" at El Dorado East Regional Park, a "tent city" complete with two-person tents, hot showers, prepared meals, entertainment, and recreational activities such as the Spa Zone, yoga, and new this year, Tomboy Tools' "Tool School 101" demonstrations. On Sunday, September 13th, walkers completed another 13.1 miles together, ending back in Queen Mary Events Park, where they were greeted by thousands of family and friends who shared in a celebratory and moving Closing Ceremony, including the awarding of new grants.
To participate in the Avon Walk Los Angeles, each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations. Funds raised are managed and disbursed by the Avon Foundation for Women [a 501(c)(3) public charity] and awarded 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.
Donations are still being accepted for the Avon Walk Los Angeles, and registration is still open for women and men to take part in the remaining Avon Walks of 2009: New York, NY (October 10-11); and Charlotte, NC (October 24-25) and all walks in 2010.
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer thanks National Sponsor: Reebok; and Official Sponsors: Genentech BioOncology and Tomboy Tools.
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.