Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Month in New York; Funding Awarded to Local Organizations

Event Raises More Than $7.2 Million for Access to Care and Finding a Cure for Breast Cancer<br /><br />Initial Gifts of Over $3.8 Million to Local Organizations Announced at Avon Walk Closing Ceremony

Oct 3, 2004


Today at the closing ceremony of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York, Avon Foundation President Kathleen Walas awarded six initial gifts to breast cancer organizations totaling $3,877,910. These gifts represent initial commitments from the $7.2 million already raised by the more than 2,700 participants in the event.

The ceremony, held at South Street Seaport, capped a weekend-long event during which walkers completed a walking tour of New York, covering up to a marathon and a half (39 miles) through Manhattan and Brooklyn and supported by hundreds of volunteer crew members every step of the way. The announcement of grants to breast cancer organizations throughout the Metropolitan area was a high point of the celebration shared by participants, family and friends. The initial recipients are: CancerCare, Jacobi Medical Center, Metropolitan Hospital Center, Nassau University Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Additional funding announcements will be made later in the year.

"Each of these institutions makes a significant difference not just to the individual patients they serve, but to everyone in the Metropolitan area," said Walas. "Breast cancer affects everyone, and as long as it exists, so will our commitment to funding initiatives to defeat this disease, here in New York, across the United States and worldwide."

During the weekend event, many participants signed up to repeat their experience in next year's 2005 Avon Walk New York, to be held October 1-2, 2005. Further information is available at www.avonwalk.org or by calling 1-877-WALK AVON.

About the Avon Walk New York

The Avon Walk New York began early Saturday morning at South Street Seaport. Participants traveled up the West Side Pedestrian Path and Riverside Drive as far as Fort Tryon, then headed back downtown along Central Park West, and across the Upper East Side to their campsite for the night, the "Wellness Village" on Randall's Island. Walkers had a choice of walking a half marathon (13.1miles) or full marathon (26.2 miles) route on their first day. At the Village, participants celebrated their first day's journey with yoga, massage and entertainment. The Village also provided the essentials to keep participants comfortable, including sleeping tents, hot showers, prepared hot meals and comprehensive medical services.

Throughout the weekend, a dedicated all-volunteer crew cared for the walkers, ensuring their safety and supporting their needs. In addition, friends and family came out to visit their loved ones and show support along the route and at the Wellness Village.

Today, Sunday, all walkers completed the final half marathon (13.1 miles), leaving Randall's Island to walk back down the East side and swinging through Brooklyn Heights before their triumphant march across the Brooklyn Bridge and back to the Seaport for the closing ceremony celebration attended by hundreds of family and supporters.

About the Avon Foundation New Funding Grants

CancerCare received $600,000, bringing their total Avon Foundation funding to $12,300,000 since 2000. The newest funding will support the nationwide AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women, which provides breast cancer patients with funding for services such as transportation to and from appointments, child or elder care while they are undergoing breast cancer treatment or for an escort to accompany them to their appointments.

Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx received a 2-year grant of $500,000 for the purchase of a new ultrasound unit and additional critical staff, including three new, bilingual Patient Navigators who will enhance breast cancer outreach and education, screening and diagnostic services, treatment and operative procedures, client follow-up and case management and patient adherence; and a full-time administrative position, which will oversee comprehensive patient tracking. The result will be decreased waiting time and increased number of women screened. Jacobi Medical Center is the largest public, safety-net hospital in the Bronx, with approximately 90% of the patient population Hispanic or African-American new immigrants.

Metropolitan Hospital Center received a two-year, $500,000 grant to purchase vital new technology, including computer equipment to upgrade the patient tracking system, sentinel node technology and an ultrasound unit; and to add a dedicated, bi-lingual staff (including full-time Breast Care Coordinator, full-time Patient Educator and two part-time Patient Navigators). In addition, a small pool of funds will cover transportation costs for patients, to enable them to make their appointments. Metropolitan Hospital Center is an inner-city municipal hospital serving multi-ethnic and socio-economically diverse patient populations of East Harlem, South Bronx, the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan and West Queens.

Nassau University Medical Center received $352,500 to support the acquisition of much needed equipment, including a new Computer-Aided Diagnostic (CAD) unit, which will enhance the quality of screening offered to women; a Motorized Mammography Alternator Viewing System to speed and enhance mammography film interpretation, and a computerized mammography reporting system. Nassau University Medical Center has been a safety net hospital since its inception in 1935, and is the largest provider of medical care to the indigent population of Nassau County.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center received a $425,410 three-year grant to support a full-time, bilingual Nurse Practitioner and a part-time, bi-lingual Administrative Assistant, both dedicated exclusively to breast health care and breast cancer patients. The Nurse Practitioner will provide clinical services, perform community outreach and coordinate with staff members at the three health centers within the hospital. The Administrative Assistant will follow-up with patients, confirm appointments and reschedule missed appointments. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is the safety net hospital serving the low-income and minority populations of Essex County.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center received $1,500,000, bringing the total Avon Foundation funding since 2000 to $14,220,000. The new funding will support: an increase in screening; the recruitment of two medical oncologists, two mammographers, one breast surgeon and a patient navigator; a Recruitment CORE resource that matches potential participants with clinical trials and gathers long-term information; the development of new clinical trials, particularly those that recruit and retain medically underserved individuals; and a new tissue bank for benign breast tissue, comparable to the existing database that exists for malignant samples. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia is located in Washington Heights and serves Upper Manhattan, Harlem and the South Bronx, including a large percentage of uninsured and underinsured individuals and families.

About the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series is a project of the Avon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, which also manages and disburses the funds raised. All net proceeds from the Avon Walks are returned to the breast cancer cause nationwide to support awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; treatment; support services and scientific research. Beneficiaries range from leading cancer centers to community-based non-profit breast health programs, with a focus on reaching the medically underserved and a mission to fund access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. For more than a decade, the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade has been raising significant funds and awareness for the breast cancer cause. Since 1992, the Avon Crusade has raised and awarded more than $300,000,000 to breast cancer research and care organizations worldwide. Funds are raised through a wide variety of special events, product sales, walks, runs, concerts and other initiatives in 50 countries.

Several additional greater New Jersey and New York organizations are beneficiaries of the Avon Foundation, including the American Cancer Society/Long Island University/Columbia University Collaborative; American-Italian Cancer Foundation; Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Inc.; Columbia-Presbyterian Center for Women's Health; Community Medical Center Foundation; Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New-York Presbyterian Hospital; International Black Woman's Congress; Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation; Passaic Beth Israel Hospital; Project Challenge of Long Island NY, Inc.; St. Michael's Medical Center; Weill Cornell Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine; William F. Ryan Community Health Center; YWCA of Binghamton/Broome County; YWCA of Brooklyn; YMCA of Camden County; YWCA of Cortland; YWCA of Elmira and the Twin Tiers.

The 2004 national sponsors for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series include Novartis, Health Magazine and RYKÄ, footwear for women; FIJI is the Official Water and United is the Official Airline. The event's New York Medical sponsor is NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

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