Monday, June 25, 2007

The Walk

We started early on Saturday morning, but not early enough. It would have been good to start at the crack of dawn in order to avoid the hot weather. The opening ceremony started at 6:30 and the route opened at 7am. Below is Sean to the right of Susan and me. Susan and I are wearing our Courage Hats. Thanks to all of our generous donors we both raised over $2200!

This is a great "motion shot" of us walking. This was pretty early in the morning at one of the first cheering stations. We were among the first people to leave Washington Park after the opening ceremony. We kept a really great pace in the morning and got to the lunch stop well before noon.

These were the signs at every drink stop. It was a great constant reminder to drink, drink, drink.

My Aunt Carol and my Mom made pink ribbons for the walk. Joel handed them out to people at cheering stations on Saturday and Sunday. The ribbons were a great support to me, I saw them over and over and over again on cheering people, bike riders who rode the route to help all the walkers, and on the crew members helping us cross the streets. Early on Saturday morning we were walking by a big group of people who were all wearing the ribbon. Joel told the people I had on an orange shirt and when they saw my orange shirt they cheered for us and said "thank you Valerie." It was like my family was there! It was so exciting to see so many people I didn't know wearing ribbons I knew my Aunt and Mom had spent time making. A beautiful gift.

Below is a great picture JM took of Joel handing out ribbons.

Below are two men I photographed at the closing ceremonies who had on their ribbons.

Joel handed out about 60 ribbons on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. He gave his last ribbon to a little girl who was cheering. As he handed her the ribbon, her sister who was younger came up to Joel and wanted a ribbon too. So he took off his ribbon and gave it to the little girl's sister.

The picture above and below are at the end of the day on Saturday. There was a camera guy at the finish line on Saturday - so my shoes walking down the path made it on to Denver's Channel 2 News. And there was also a wide shot of the finish line on the news. If you knew who you were looking for you could have seen Joel, JM, DeWayne, and Butch standing at the finish line. I love the picture below!

Joel took this picture of me when I was about .25 miles from the finish line at Washington Park.

Below is JM's picture of me coming in. I think I arrived at the park around noon. It was about 96 degrees.

JM and me at the finish.

Below is a picture of some Crew members writing on the towers. The towers go around the country to each walk. The current walk is at the bottom of the tower and then it moves up and the next city is moved to the bottom.

This is the screen at the closing ceremonies.

This is a picture of the Crew gathered for their final meeting. I was lucky and was standing near the Crew entrance at the closing ceremonies. I got to shake hands or high five nearly every Crew member. It was great to look so many people in the eyes and say "thank you!" The Crew is so important for the walkers. They set up the drinking stations, mix Gatorade by the hundreds of gallons, they force people to eat and drink when they aren't hungry or thirsty, they make the streets safe to cross, they guard the tent ground at night (Sean's Crew job), they serve food, the medical Crew give IVs to people who are dehydrated and tapes up feet and blisters. They do everything the walkers can't do for themselves.

This final picture is probably the most important. These are two of the charities receiving checks from some of the donations we collected. Here is information about the two charities who received checks:

Children's Treehouse Foundation (Denver, CO): received $125,000 to continue training, education and awareness programs that educate health experts and the public of the impact on children when a parent is diagnosed with cancer. These new funds will expand the number of hospitals involved in the Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery (CLIMB) training program, reaching 276 families affected by breast cancer. They will also help fund the National Training Seminars in Colorado and an annual regional seminar.

University of Colorado Cancer Center (Aurora, CO): received $750,000 to support continued research and outreach at the Avon Foundation Center at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Funding supports research into the role of hormones in breast cancer and to better understand metastasis, as well as two community access programs: Survivorship Outreach to Latinas (SOL) and CoMadre Project, which will reach 5,000 women on breast cancer screening.

The walk was really powerful this year. One important thing that I knew last year (but couldn't put into words last year) is that the energy of the walk comes from an immense sense of gratitude. The walkers are grateful for the cheering crowds, the Crew, the honking cars. The Cheerers and Crew are grateful to the walkers. I don't mean grateful in a simple "thank you" kind of way. It is gratitude in a deep heartfelt way. There is a gratitude for each other's lives and actions that I have never experienced in any other circumstances. There is a deep knowledge that each person participating is depending on other people and giving to other people and taking from other people and no one is taking or giving more than they need.

Along with this there were several really powerful moments for me during the weekend. I like lists, so here is a list of the great things I hope to remember for a long time.
  • Seeing the ribbons from Aunt Carol and mom on all the cheering people I had never met.
  • Joel, JM, DeWayne, and Butch - cheering - not just for me and Susan, but for every single person who walked by.
  • A little girl about 5 years old yelling "GOOD JOB" as I walked the last 3 miles on Saturday.
  • The wonderful people of Littleton (and their family and friends) who were sitting in the hot sun (big groups of people) with spray hoses and spray bottles for the walkers going by their homes. There were so few people in Littleton last year, the walk through the last neighborhood felt like a deadly march. This year it was one of the best parts of the walk.
  • The woman who walked with her teddy bear named Charity for two days.
  • The women from Monument and from Denver who helped me keep a good pace and held a great conversation for the 2 miles before lunch on Sunday.
  • Judy - an 8 City Walker, who was generous with her time and energy. I saw her talking to so many people on the walk. Below several blog entries (or by clicking on this link) you will find a picture of her at the DC Walk. I emailed her early this spring to ask about the details of her fund raising. She was very generous with all she knew and had experienced. She said the Boston walk is her favorite because it is her home. Chicago is the most beautiful and flattest walk - but the people aren't so great. San Fran is a hilly walk, but has the best people.
  • The phone message I received from Jackie during my lunch stop on Sunday. It was perfect timing!
  • The phone call from Aunt Carol on Sunday after the walk.

    I wasn't planning to walk again next year, but now I don't know. The funds we raise for the walk are so important to families facing cancer, it is hard to not want to participate. The other element of the walk is raising awareness. If we can get one person to think for 2 extra minutes about going to the doctor when something seems wrong - and they make an appointment and cancer is caught early - it is hard to not want to participate.

    I would love to Crew for the walk next year and offer training advice and encouragement to anyone who is interested. It is the experience of a lifetime!
  • 39.3 Miles in Denver

    Monday 7:30pm
    We just made it home from Denver. The walk was amazing.... amazingly hot!!! JM said it was 98 degrees when I finished on Sunday.

    Walking this year was a terrific adventure. I will write more about it later, but wanted to post these pictures now. Below is our personal cheering station - Butch, JM, DeWayne, and Joel. I couldn't have made it without them!!!

    Avon Walk Raises $2.5M For Breast Cancer Research

    (CBS4) DENVER More than 1,000 people walked around Washington Park in Denver over the weekend to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.

    The participants walked the length of 1.5 marathons in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. They came from all over the country to take part in the event.

    Mary Lynn Kirby from Atlanta learned she had breast cancer after she had signed up for the walk.

    "As a result of early detection, and that's what this is all about, is allowing people that don't have insurance to get mammograms, we were able to take care of it," Kirby said. "I had surgery on Thursday and was back at work on Monday and I'm cancer free."

    The walk raised near $2.5 million.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Less than One Week

    It is less than one week away!

    These are the shoes that have gotten me here this year. The shoes on the right are the shoes I walked in last year for the Avon walk. The shoes on left are the shoes that I will use this year. The middle shoes - all my 2007 training....

    Looking ahead to Denver weather. It is going to be hot! Nearly 90 degrees every day. Some clouds. Hopefully no hail!!!

    Cheering Stations

    This is a link to the Cheering Stations for the Denver Walk.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Ribbons for Cheering Stations

    Aunt Carol, mom, and Brenda have been making these beautiful ribbons for the last several months. Aren't they beautiful!!! Joel, JM, and Jackie are going to hand these out to the people at the cheering stations during the walk. The people who cheer keep us going.

    I am so grateful for such a beautiful gift of support from my family - it is going to be so great to see the cheering people wearing them all along the route!

    The Last 20

    I did my last 20 mile walk in Albuquerque on Monday. It was a great walking day. The sun was behind a cloud until mid-morning. I did a lot of stretching, which I have been lazy about this year. But the stretching paid off. I wasn't sore at all on Tuesday morning.

    I saw one interesting thing on this walk. It was a pale snake 2-3 feet long just swerving across the paved trail. A biker almost ran over it, but saw it at the last minute.

    Below is a picture of some burned trees where Don Quixote dead ends.

    This is the sign I run into when I walk 2 miles south of Alameda.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    20 more miles

    I did another 20 mile walk in Albuquerque yesterday. It was hot, but I don't think it was as hard as the walk I did a couple of weeks ago.

    Some interesting things I saw:

  • A man with his bike and a pitch pipe, standing under the Alameda bridge singing high notes.

  • A movie being filmed near Alameda and 4th street. The signs all said H4H. I haven't been able to find out what movie it is. They were filming a limo scene in a
    neighborhood that is an older (not expensive) neighborhood.

  • Associated with the movie, I saw a guy walking a big German Shepherd that sat carefully on the sidewalk before crossing the street.

  • I saw a roadrunner running across the road.

  • I saw a cute and tiny Siamese cat drinking ditch water from a green ditch bank.

  • Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    20 Miles in Albuquerque

    Last Friday I walked 20 miles along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. I left from mom and dad's house. Mom took this picture as I was leaving. It was a great walk. I love walking the ditch banks in Albuquerque and I love the paved trail. I ended up walking north until I hit a fence that said no trespassing - Sandia Reservation. I got on the trail at mile marker 3 and the no trespassing was at mile marker 10. I think the walk from mom and dad's to the trail is about 3 miles.

    The last 3 miles were really really difficult. It was a beautiful day, except for one small storm cloud with lightening that was encouraging me to get home quickly.

    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Albuquerque Breast Cancer Walk

    The Albuquerque Breast Cancer walk for the American Cancer Society was at the end of April. We walked with a team formed my my Aunt Carol for Central United Methodist Church. Many of our family members walked - it was an exciting day - to be walking with family.

    The following pictures include some family - but the entire list included: Aunt Carol, Laura, Brianna, Alex, Mike, Brenda, Mom, Dad, Joel, two of mom and dad's friends and Joel and me.

    After the 5 mile walk we went to El Pinto - and after that everyone wanted to go home and take a nap!

    The Walking Season Has Started!

    The Avon Foundation had the first Breast Cancer walk of the season this weekend. It is so exciting to think that people were walking this weekend!

    The cold and rainy walk was in Washington DC. Participants raised $7.4 million. The Washington Post did a really nice story about the walk from a walker's point of view.

    Sunday, May 06, 2007


    Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
    Healthy, free, the world before me,
    The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

    Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
    Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
    Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
    Strong and content I travel the open road.

    -Walt Whitman

    New Test Adds to Understanding of Recurrent Breast Cancer

    From ABC News

    Feb. 7, 2007— Tuesday's announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it had approved the MammaPrint test represents a step forward in our efforts to more precisely define which women with breast cancer require adjuvant (preventive) chemotherapy following primary treatment for the disease.

    Adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer has been one of the great success stories in cancer treatment over the past 30 years. Through the efforts of many researchers, women and their families, we have learned how to prevent recurrence of breast cancer and increase survival for many women with breast cancer. As a result, we have seen steady declines in the death rates for women with breast cancer.

    We also know that we provide adjuvant chemotherapy to many women with primary breast cancer who would have otherwise done well without additional treatment. But the types of tests and information about a particular woman's breast cancer that we have available today are simply too imprecise to allow us to accurately and confidently separate women at high risk of developing recurrent of breast cancer from those who are at low risk of recurrence.

    If we could do this, we could potentially avoid chemotherapy in the low-risk women, and thus free them from the need to take adjuvant chemotherapy along with its associated costs, inconvenience and side effects.

    Predictive Tests Improving

    Over the past several years, there have been several tests developed that have moved us closer to predicting which women with breast cancer have the best chances of survival, and those who would likely benefit from chemotherapy.

    A recent study in the August 10, 2006, issue of New England Journal of Medicine reviewed the performance of several of these various breast cancer prognostic tests (including MammaPrint). The researchers reported that although the fundamental approaches of the tests were different, several of them had similar outcomes when predicting which women had the greatest likelihood of developing recurrent breast cancer.

    However, as noted in an editorial that accompanied the article, the real question is whether any of these tests add value and useful knowledge to the treatment of women with early stage breast cancer.

    The editorialist agreed that there was excellent agreement among the tests in predicting the risk of breast cancer recurrence. These tests also added more accurate information about prognosis than was available from more standard approaches we have available to assess the aggressiveness of a particular woman's breast cancer.

    But, in practical terms, it was not clear that these tests added sufficiently more information about a particular cancer so that a doctor could reliably tell a woman that she did or did not require adjuvant chemotherapy.

    Treatment Change Unlikely

    The bottom line is that these tests, such as MammaPrint, are an important first step in helping us understand the biology and behavior of a woman's breast cancer.

    It is unlikely that many doctors are going to change their treatment recommendations based on these tests. The times these tests affect actual treatment decisions made by women with breast cancer and their doctors will more often be the exception rather than the rule.

    Over time, we can expect that these predictive tests will become more accurate so that we can rely on them to help us determine which women need adjuvant treatment for breast cancer and which women do not.

    Until that time, and until clinical trials are completed, which will provide us practical guidance on the utility of these tests, we are likely going to continue our current approaches to making recommendations for adjuvant treatment of primary stage breast cancer.

    Dr. Len Lichtenfeld is deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

    Saturday, April 14, 2007

    Saturday Walk after Snow

    I was planning to do a 12 mile walk this morning. I started around 7:45am. When I got to the railroad tracks around 9am the snow and ice from yesterday started melting and everything was getting muddy. I walked for about a mile in slippery mud and decided to turn around.

    I ended up walking about 8 miles - but the really great part of the day was seeing the left over snow from yesterday and the beautiful landscape. Here are some of the things I saw.

    The railroad tracks with the Jemez Mountains with a new coat of snow.

    Snow on Cactus.

    Ice on plants just beginning to thaw in the morning sun.


    Saturday, April 07, 2007

    Good Friday Walk

    I walked to Chimayo by myself this year. Joel dropped me off at Camel Rock at 7:30am and I started at a good pace, at about 4mph. There were a lot of people walking from Santa Fe this year, more than I remember in years past.

    Walking alone, I noticed more than I have in the past. Most people walk with their families - and I would guess most groups have between 4-6 people. Walking from Santa Fe, it seems like most people were in their 30s and 40s or in their teens. After the turn toward Chimayo at Nambe, there were many older people and many people walking with babies. From Nambe to Chimayo the walk is hard - it is hilly and over 10 miles.

    A new addition to the walk this year was the number of people handing out free food to walkers. One group was handing out hard boiled eggs - extra protein for the final hills. In past years there has been a lot of fruit and burritos - I haven't seen eggs before.

    The last hill in to Chimayo is the hardest. It is the longest hill as you walk into town. The road narrows and the sides of the road are steep and sandy. The car traffic coming and going from town is slow moving, but there are a lot of cars. I called Joel to come and get me me when I was about a mile from town, and starting up this last hill.

    I didn't take any pictures as I walked the route. I was really focused on walking and getting to the Sanctuario.

    The following pictures I took after arriving in Chimayo. I was really tired and didn't really feel like taking pictures - but now I wish I would have rested and taken more.

    The Sanctuario.

    The line of people waiting to get into the church. I overheard that the wait was over 4 hours.

    Chimayo has a carnival atmosphere with vendors selling ice cream from mobile carts with bells and temporary huts with people selling grilled corn on the cob. There are artisans selling jewelry, large wooden crucifixes, and dried flower displays. Below is a snowcone vendor.

    This final picture is where I waited for Joel for about an hour and a half. It took him over 2 hours to get from Santa Fe to Chimayo by car (it took me only 4.5 hours to walk it). It was exhausting waiting for Joel, and we had not made good plans to meet up. Cell phone service was spotty. So I stood, watched cars, ate my last peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and listened to the traffic cops yell at people who were blocking traffic.

    While I waited for Joel I saw pickup trucks loaded to capacity with people getting rides back to Santa Fe and Espanola. There were restored cars from the 1950s and a few low riders.

    Once I found Joel, we drove from Chimayo toward Espanola (westward) where we encountered a DWI checkpoint. A surreal end to an exausting journey.

    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    Cancer Deaths Decline

    Dear Friends of the American Cancer Society:

    We are writing to bring you great news. Recently, the American Cancer Society announced that cancer deaths declined in the United States for the second year in a row – a milestone event that indicates dramatic progress is being made against the disease. There were 3,014 fewer cancer deaths in 2004 than in 2003, a significantly larger decrease than the 369 fewer deaths reported the previous year. Thirteen years of continuing drops in the overall cancer death rate have now overtaken trends in aging and growth of the US population, resulting in decreased numbers of deaths.

    The decline is strong evidence that decades of groundbreaking research, effective public health policies and public education has been worthwhile. Our hard work toward preventing cancer, catching it early, and making treatment more effective is paying dramatic, lifesaving dividends.

    But while these new statistics give us cause to celebrate, it also gives us reason to redouble our efforts. Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Americans under age 85. The adoption of tobacco control policies across the country has contributed to our remarkable progress against cancer, but these gains are threatened by cutbacks in funding for research and prevention programs. A few years after our nation doubled its investment in medical research, Congress cut cancer funding for the first time in more than a decade. While the American Cancer Society will continue its aggressive fight against the disease, our sister advocacy organization, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM(ACS CAN), will work to inspire our lawmakers to recommit themselves to it as well.

    We wanted you, as a friend of the American Cancer Society, to be aware that your support has helped us make remarkable progress against cancer. To learn more about the American Cancer Society call us at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Finding a Good Gym

    Below are three things to consider when looking for a gym in which to join. These are from Prevention Magazine Online.

    If you haven't looked for a gym before, going to visit gyms and doing a "free" workout before signing up for something is part of the regular process. I have toured many gyms - and after doing one workout at a place you know if it is the right gym for you.

    Start with location
    Look for gyms near your home, workplace, or favorite shopping center. Even a 15-minute drive out of your way can reduce the chances that you'll use the club as often as you should.

    Determine your must-haves Because your goal is weight loss, comprehensive weight-management programs or nutritional counseling should be at the top of your list. Then consider the types of activity you like--classes, solo cardio machines, yoga, Pilates, racquet sports, water exercise, or martial arts. You'll work out more if you enjoy what you're doing. And the more you exercise, the more weight you can lose.

    Shop around
    You wouldn't buy the first house you see. Ask for free passes to visit clubs at times you plan to use them. A too-long wait for the treadmills could become an excuse to skip a workout.

    Meet your (workout) neighbors
    When you visit gyms, pay special attention to the members and employees. In one small study of 20 women, those who felt inspired by the club's atmosphere or clientele were more likely to show up to exercise than women who were initially motivated to join a club by other factors (such as a membership deal). The personal relationships and support you get--not the high-end equipment, hottest class, towel service, or saunas--will keep you coming back.

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    Walking in the Rain and the Snow

    Here are some great cold weather walking tips from the Avon Walk.

    1. Dress in layers. The layer next to your skin should be made from a breathable fabric, such as polypropylene, which wicks away moisture from perspiration. Shop for technical fabrics. From jackets to leggings to socks, these clothes pay off in making winter exercise more comfortable. Polypropylene in socks, shirts, and tights provide breathability and wick moisture, while Gore-Tex (rain resistant) and polar fleece in outerwear help retain heat.

    2. Avoid overdressing; you'll warm up with exercise. A good rule of thumb is to dress as though it were 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.

    3. Run or walk in a direction which allows the wind to hit your back on your way home. This will help you avoid getting chilled from wind hitting you after you have perspired.

    4. Try warming up indoors before going out if possible

    5. Keep your walking enjoyable and safe by doing it in daylight and with a friend or group if possible

    6. Cover your head and hands. The majority of the body’s heat is lost through extremities.

    7. Hydrate! You still need water in cold weather!

    8. Change out of your walking clothes as soon as you get inside.

    Shoe Tips

    Are you thinking about joining Sole Sisters and walking in June? Here are some great shoe tips from the Avon Walk.

    • Shop for shoes in the late afternoon. Feet tend to swell during the day.

    • Either a walking shoe or a running shoe may be worn for this event. Make sure that you try one of each to see what feels better for your foot type.

    • Leave space (1/2 to 3/4 inch) between the tip of your longest toe, and the end of the shoe while standing .

    • Athletic shoes should be comfortable from the start, requiring minimal break in.

    • When you try on shoes, try on both feet. If one foot is larger than the other, fit the larger foot.

    • Make sure the heel fit is snug, and does not slip up and down when you walk.

    • Make sure you have ample room in the forefoot for your toes to spread.

    • Always consider the four most important benefits when choosing the shoe for you: Fit, Comfort, Cushion and Control.

    • Remember to replace your walking and running shoes every 300 to 500 miles (4 to 6 months for regular walkers/runners).

    • When you find a shoe that works, buy two pairs and alternate them.

    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Cancer Vixen

    From Random House:

    “What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, single-forever, about-to-get-married big-city girl cartoonist with a fabulous life finds . . . a lump in her breast?” That’s the question that sets this powerful, funny, and poignant graphic memoir in motion. In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marisa Acocella Marchetto tells the story of her eleven-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer—from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between.

    But Cancer Vixen is about more than surviving an illness. It is a portrait of one woman’s supercharged life in Manhattan, and a wonderful love story. Marisa, self-described “terminal bachelorette,” meets her Prince Charming in Silvano, owner of the chic downtown restaurant Da Silvano. Three weeks before their wedding, she receives her diagnosis. She wonders: How will he react to this news? How will my world change? Will I even survive? And . . . what about my hair?

    From raucous New Yorker staff lunches and the star-studded crowd at Silvano’s restaurant to the rainbow pumps Marisa wears to chemotherapy, Cancer Vixen is a total original. Marisa’s wit and courage are an inspiration—she’s a cancer vixen, not its victim.



    The statistics are sobering: Breast cancer strikes 1 in 8 American women.

    But breast x-rays, or mammograms, drastically improve a woman's chance of surviving the disease, says Shaparak Kamarei, M.D., USC associate clinical professor of internal medicine.

    "A mammogram is the best tool available for finding breast cancer early, before symptoms appear," says Kamarei. "Breast cancer is asymptomatic for years."

    There are two kinds of mammograms: screening and diagnostic, she explains. Screening mammograms detect breast changes in women who have no signs of cancer. Diagnostic mammograms evaluate unusual breast changes, such as a lump, pain, nipple thickening or discharge or a change in the breast size or shape.

    During the mammography, the breast is placed between two flat plastic plates, which are pressed together. The idea is to flatten the breast as much as possible; spreading the tissue makes any abnormalities easier to spot using with minimal radiation, Kamarei explains.

    Although the pressure from the plates may be uncomfortable, each x-ray takes less than a minute. You should schedule a mammography just after your period, when your breasts less tender. If you're not longer menstruating, schedule the test at the same time each year.

    Kamarei recommends that women get their first mammogram done at age 35. Women between 40 and 50 years of age should get a screening every other year, and women over 50, yearly.

    "For all women, risk increases after 50," she adds. By age 60, 1 out of 23 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This number shoots up to 1 out of 10 by age 80.

    Most states have laws requiring health insurance companies to reimburse all or part of the cost of mammograms.

    "If the insurance policy doesn't cover it, I strongly advise women to pay for it themselves," she says. Most screening mammograms cost between $50 and $150 and are offered without cost in some clinics.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 2006 - A Record Breaking Season

    This year’s Avon Walk for Breast Cancer was a tremendous success with the highest number of participants and greatest funds raised since its inception in 2003. Record-breaking events included the Avon Walk Chicago, which raised $8.2 million, and the Avon Walk New York, where more than 3,500 participants raised over $9.7 million. The New York Walk was the largest to date and among the special guests were breast cancer survivors from nearly 40 countries who represented the second annual Avon Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer.

    Here are the 2006 results:

    Walks were held in 8 cities April-October
    18,000 walkers and crew participated
    $48 million was raised
    Donations and participation were up 32% from 2005
    59 new research and access to care grants were presented at closing ceremonies
    Total funds raised since 2003 by the Avon Walk series is nearly $150 million and total participants were 55,000.

    Help set new records during our eight events in 2007. Visit or call 1-800-510-WALK to register to walk, crew, volunteer or donate.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Shopping Pink from the Wall Street Journal

    How to tell if a pink-ribbon product really helps breast cancer efforts
    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    By Tara Parker-Pope, The Wall Street Journal

    Store shelves are filling up with pink products tied to October's Breast Cancer Awareness month, but shoppers need to do their homework to be sure their green is really going to the right cause.

    There is a seemingly endless variety of pink products on offer these days. The options range from food items -- pink M&Ms and Tic Tacs are popular -- to home appliances such as a pink KitchenAid mixer or a pink Dyson vacuum cleaner. Many products also carry the ubiquitous pink-ribbon logo that has become a universal symbol of breast-cancer awareness. Shoppers can choose from pink-ribbon slippers, towels, bedding, pajamas and jewelry, among other items.

    But buyers need to look beyond the pink to be sure a product supports a legitimate breast-cancer group. Anybody can use the pink-ribbon logo, so it's important to read tags, boxes and fine print to find out what group is being supported and how much money it is getting from your purchase. Sometimes the money goes directly to breast-cancer research, while other purchases may support free mammograms for low-income women or simply "breast-cancer awareness."

    Most major breast-cancer groups have strict requirements for disclosing how much of a pink product goes to charity. Consumers should look for labels and boxes that state what organization benefits and how much of the purchase price goes to it. Some products give only a vague description, promising that a "portion" of the proceeds supports breast-cancer research.

    "Our rule is that a company must disclose whatever their donation is -- if they aren't willing to disclose it, they won't be accepted as a partner," says Robbie Finke, director of marketing for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which lists all its pink products and the contribution on its Web site, Some pink purchases clearly go further than others. Each sale of $60 Karey Kyle Rose Quartz earrings generates $40, or 67 percent of the purchase price, for the group Spend $1,950 on a Van Cleef & Arpels pendant, and $1,000, or 51 percent of the price, goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. KitchenAid offers a variety of Cook for the Cure products that benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation ( The company donates $50, or about 17 percent of the purchase price, from sales of its pink Artisan Stand Mixer. Meanwhile, 50 cents from the purchase of a $13 pair of pink-ribbon Meshmellows slippers -- or about 4 percent of the purchase price -- goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (

    Sometimes simply buying a pink product doesn't guarantee money will be given to breast-cancer causes. The shopper has to take an extra step, such as mailing in product lids or labels or registering online to generate income for charity. For instance, Yoplait products with pink lids support the Komen Foundation -- but only if you mail them in. Specially marked bags of Sun Chips carry a pink ribbon, but the 25-cent-per-bag donation to Komen is triggered only when the shopper goes to a Web site and enters a special code. Viva paper towels will donate $100,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, but if shoppers redeem a special coupon the company will donate an additional 10 cents, up to a total $200,000 donation.

    Shoppers also need to decide what type of breast-cancer projects they support, because groups with pink products have different missions. The best way is to check a group's Web site. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation last year spent 89 percent of the $27 million it raised on research grants for breast-cancer prevention and treatment. The Komen Foundation spends most of its funds on breast-cancer education, awareness and community programs, such as free mammograms, but allocates about 40 percent to breast-cancer research. Products that support help support the group's mission to provide women the most up-to-date medical information about breast cancer. Products like a pink Gund plush bear support LIFE, which stands for LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate breast cancer, a group that focuses on education and awareness about the risks of breast cancer to young women. Meanwhile, CancerCare, which receives support from the sale of pink Tic Tacs and pink Women for Hope bracelets (, uses money it raises for support services for people affected by cancer.

    Last year, pink products accounted for $35 million of the Komen Foundation's $200 million in annual revenue. Cindy Schneible, vice president of resource development for Komen, says the pink products do more than raise money for research -- they also raise awareness among people who might not otherwise think about breast cancer. "Our mission is to engage people where they live, work and play," says Ms. Schneible.