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AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer Raises Over $5.3 Million at 13th Annual Event in Santa Barbara

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, formerly known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, kicked off its 13th annual event in Santa Barbara, Calif. last weekend, raising more than $5.3 million to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer.

AVON 39 Santa Barbara, the sixth of seven events across the country to unveil the new theme #Powerof39, drew nearly 2,300 participants from 44 states and Washington, D.C., including 341 breast cancer survivors and 275 men.

Cancer Center of Santa Barbara received a grant of $100,000 to continue its patient navigation program, which will link more than 900 breast cancer patients to care programs this year.

Nearly 2,300 AVON 39ers united in solidarity and raised funds with one common goal: to end breast cancer. The grants given after the event will help do just that – and will help to further the goal of providing services to those in need, educating the public and crushing breast cancer once and for all.

During the closing ceremony at Carpinteria State Beach, second-time AVON 39er, Amanda Gatto, 27, of Fontana, Calif., shared her moving story and battle with breast cancer to fellow participants, volunteers, family and friends.

“Five years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, following in my grandmother’s footsteps. It was sad but expected, as breast cancer ran in my family. She was optimistic, and she said her strength and her inspiration to beat this disease came from her mom," she said. "Two years later, I received my very own diagnosis at 24. My fiancée and I quickly got married and went on a honeymoon, pretending to be a normal newlywed couple."

"Before beginning my chemotherapy treatments, however, my mother told me she had a reoccurrence. We lost her six months later. My grandmother passed down her strength to my mom, and my mom passed her strength and determination on to me. If I’m lucky enough, I’ll be able to pass it down to the next generation.  We need to end breast cancer once and for all, and that’s why I took this journey with the AVON 39 this weekend,” Gatto said.

AVON 39 National Ambassador Olive Issacs announced 11 new grants to local breast cancer organizations, ensuring the funds raised immediately benefit the local community.

Additional grants will be awarded throughout the year, adding to the more than $43 million donated by the Avon Foundation for Women to organizations and institutions in Southern California since 2003.

Representatives from each Southern California organization received grants on stage at the AVON 39 closing ceremony. They thanked participants for their commitment to ending breast cancer and for their spectacular fundraising achievements.

All Avon Safety Net and Breast Cancer Outreach Program grantees commit to providing their services to everyone, no matter their insurance status, demographic background or ability to pay.

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer Santa Barbara began Saturday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 a.m. with an inspirational opening ceremony at Chase Palm Park.

AVON 39 participants began their challenge of 26.2 miles through the Santa Barbara area, assisted by an all-volunteer crew and whie cheered on by supporters. Participants spent Saturday night at basecamp 39 at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, featuring pink two-person tents, hot showers and meals, entertainment and volunteer medical services, as well as leisure activities.

Cancer Center staff, family members and friends gathered at the Avon Walk Cheering Station to show their love and support for the walkers. The Cancer Center has received $450,000 over that last 5 years from the Avon Foundation in support of our Breast Cancer Navigator Program, all thanks to the dedication of the walkers.

On Sunday, September 13, after completing the final 13.1 miles, participants joined family and friends to celebrate their achievement at a closing ceremony at Carpinteria State Beach at 2:30 p.m. During the ceremony, the Avon Foundation awarded new grants to Santa Barbara area breast cancer organizations to ensure the funds raised will benefit the community immediately.

The 2015 season is still open for registration. This year’s final event will take place in New York (October 17–18).  For more information about AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, visit www.avon39.org or join the #Powerof39 conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

— Stephanie Carlyle represents the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.


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