I can’t begin to tell you how much the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer means to me. I work for the Avon Foundation for Women and am an eight-year breast cancer survivor. At the end of the 2013 season, I completed my 52nd consecutive Avon Walk while in Charlotte. You would think that after all of this time one Walk is the same as any other, that the excitement would wear off after a while. Not true! Each Avon Walk I go to is just as exciting as my first one; the enthusiasm, the celebration and the inspiration are there every time. Yes, it’s my job to be at each Walk, and they are long, hard-working weekends, but I look forward to each and every one because of the spirit and the sense of community that make the Avon Walks so special.
The 12th season of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (our U.S.-based, eight-Walk series) kicks off in April 2014 in Houston, TX. But our eight “Great Start Parties” begin this weekend to connect everyone in the Walk community – a fun way to kick off the Walk season, learn more and celebrate our commitment to ending breast cancer! Additionally, to educate people about the importance of getting involved in the Avon Walk and the impact they can have by participating, we’ve created this incredible new video. Please watch it and share it with everyone you know.
Every Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in the United States is 39.3 miles over two days. I get out on the route in every city and while I can’t always walk the whole distance due to other job responsibilities, I typically do about 20 miles of each Walk and that’s one of my favorite parts of my job. You meet the most amazing people from all walks of life, and I love hearing their stories. I also love meeting our Youth Crew. These kids, ages 10-16, are too young to walk but want to participate because they’ve been touched by breast cancer in some way. They fund-raise, they work hard all weekend, and their boundless energy and enthusiasm helps to keep the Walkers going mile after mile!
The Closing Ceremony of every Avon Walk is a special way to end our weekend together. It’s a real celebration for all the walkers, crew members, survivors, friends and family, and it’s when the Avon Foundation announces where the money raised will be donated. That’s what it’s all about – for the audience to see those huge checks being given away and know they helped to make that happen and know that money is going to help people in their communities.
Fifty-two Walks may seem crazy to you. For many of you, just one Walk – and those 39 miles – can seem daunting, and many people are afraid of the fundraising, too. But don’t let those two things keep you from registering. You can definitely conquer both, and we help you every step of the way. Plus it’s not a competition, so you can walk the distance that suits you best. No matter how far you walk, you’re helping to raise money and awareness.
Avon is the largest corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause globally, and with our support, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has donated more than $815 million to the fight against this disease. Prior to joining the Foundation, I spent the majority of my career working in public relations. After going through my breast cancer journey, I decided I wanted to find a job I could feel really good about at the end of the day – where I could give back and make a difference. Well, I’ve definitely found that job. I was so lucky when I was diagnosed. I had great health insurance and access to incredible doctors, but so many people are not that lucky. That’s why it is so rewarding to be part of this organization, knowing that the funds we raise at the Avon Walks will help people have the same chance at survival that I did, regardless of their insurance or their ability to pay. We are helping turn more and more diagnoses into stories of survival, and for that I am incredibly thankful.
A number of my colleagues – who have been with the Avon Foundation even longer than I have – have also passed the 50-Walk milestone over the years. I hope you will consider joining us at an Avon Walk this year – we’ve got eight great Avon Walks on tap for 2014. Pick a city and register today! It is a life-changing weekend and one you won’t regret.
PS: Please help us spread the word about the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Don’t forget to watch and share our new video! Thank you.