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Taking On Breast Cancer Step By Step



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Taking On Breast Cancer Step By Step

By Jan Howard

A Sandy Hook resident will walk 60 miles over three days next month to raise her goal of $5,000 for breast cancer research and programs.

Alyssa Augustine will participate with about 3,000 other walkers in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day in Boston, Mass., on May 18, 19, and 20 to help raise funds for breast cancer research, financial assistance and support services, educational seminars, early detection, and non-profit, community-based breast health programs.

Ms Augustine joined the walk because of a friend’s experience in a similar event in New York City last fall.

“My friend came back very inspired by the experience,” Ms Augustine said last week. “It was such an amazing undertaking. When I saw the money being raised, and because we have breast cancer in the family, I thought it would be a great way to raise money and awareness of breast cancer as well as make it a great challenge to accomplish.”

Breast cancer has affected several members of Ms Augustine’s family, among them her grandmother, her mother-in-law, and her aunt. She is also concerned that her family’s incidence of breast cancer would significantly increase the risk that her 3-year-old daughter, Peyton, might develop breast cancer in the future, in addition to her own risk.

Seventy percent of all cases of breast cancer occur in women who have no identifiable risk factors such as a family history. Each day, about 500 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women age 40 to 55 in the United States, and every woman is at risk.

The Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day in Boston steps off on May 18 in Leominister, Mass., and ends with closing ceremonies on May 20 in Boston. The participants will walk approximately 20 miles a day. They will be supported by 500 volunteers and enjoy catered hot meals, water and snack stops, gear transport, hot showers, and comprehensive medical services provided by Emerson Hospital. During the evenings, walkers will enjoy camaraderie and entertainment, and sleep in tents under the stars in the event’s “Mobile City.”

Ms Augustine said the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day creates an environment you would want to live in every day. “I think this would not only be a great way to raise money, but to do something fun and meet new people,” she said.

To participate in the Avon Cancer 3-Day, walkers are required to train. Each walker is assigned a coach, who will help them in all aspects of training and fundraising. Clinics, meetings, training sessions, and mailings provide ongoing support.

Ms Augustine said she started training about a month ago. “I walk three to four miles a day for two or three days and one day about five to six miles. Four weeks before the event, I will walk ten miles on Friday and ten miles on Saturday to get used to back-to-back walks. Two weeks before, I will make a 15-mile walk,” she said. “I’ll be breaking in two pairs of sneakers.”

She said unlike some other event walkers, she is focusing only on walking. “I’m not a big workout person. I’m walking everywhere I can. I park my car further away from things so I can do more walking.”

Ms Augustine said she has been in touch with her coach and receives weekly updates from her. “She’s making sure I’m staying on top of my training and fundraising,” she noted.

Each walker must commit to raising a minimum of $1,900. To date, the average raised is more than $3,000 per walker.

Fundraising is going “pretty good,” Ms Augustine said. To help reach her personal goal of $5,000, she sent letters to 100 people asking for financial assistance. She has raised $2,700, the majority of it from the mailing.

From the inaugural Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day in 1998, the fund-raising walks have generated a total of $65 million in net proceeds to fund access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. Last year more than 20,000 people raised funds in the fight against breast cancer by participating in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day 2000 series. This year, a total of nine events will be held.

The Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day series is one of two fundraising programs of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, a United States initiative launched by Avon Products, Inc., in 1993. Funds are also raised through special Avon Crusade “pink ribbon” products sold by nearly 500,000 Avon independent sales representatives across the country. The mission of the Avon Crusade is to fund access to care and find a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on medically under-served women, including minorities, underprivileged, and under- or uninsured women.

Avon Crusade funds support community-based breast cancer early detection programs; financial assistance and support services for survivors, patients, and their families; educational and advocacy seminars; clinical care; and medical research into prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of breast cancer.

Funds raised by the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day are distributed through the Avon Products Foundation.

Pallotta TeamWorks, creator and producer of the 3-Days, has netted more than $150 million for the breast cancer cause and for AIDS through its Tangueray’s AIDSRidesUSA and AIDS Vaccine Rides.

To help Ms Augustine (walker number 2048) reach her goal of $5,000, log on to www.breastcancer3day.org/donation.htm to make a pledge online or call 888-3Day-AVON.

Checks payable to Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day may be sent to Alyssa Augustine, 13 Russett Road, Sandy Hook, CT 06482 or Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Boston, c/o La Salle Bank, 135 S. La Salle, Department 7135, Chicago, IL 60674. Include her name, walker number (2048), and the event (Boston) to ensure she is properly credited with the donation.

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