The Power of 39 – AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer’s 15th Season is Underway

By: Jill Surdyka, May 30, 2017

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer recently kicked off its 15th season with walks in Houston and Washington, D.C.  As this year’s Walk Ambassador, I was on the routes meeting walkers and seeing the sites – or at least 39 miles worth! With sunny weather in Houston and the Capital building as our backdrop in D.C., AVON 39ers were out in full force, in good spirits and ready to crush breast cancer.

As an alumni walker and now Walk Ambassador, my favorite part of walk weekends has always been the 39ers I meet in each city. Everyone has different motivations for walking and I leave each city bursting with inspiration. Here are some of the amazing people I met at our first two events this season.

Avon Representatives Representing

Kera Nichols

Among our thousands of 39ers walking in each city are Avon Representatives. Not only do they sell Avon products, but they’re also passionate about making a difference. One member of “Team Avon Houston,” Sabrina Dean, walked for her sister-in-law

and others in her life who have been touched by breast cancer. Watch her short video here.

When she learned that Avon’s philanthropy was breast cancer, Representative Kera Nichols knew she needed to get involved. She met a fellow Representative in Las Vegas who encouraged her to participate in AVON 39. Four walks later, Kera has raised nearly $10,000 helping to power more research, screenings and survivors in Houston and across the country.

In D.C., six-time walker and Avon Representative, Charlene Richard, was also part of the team. She said, “I walk because I feel like I’m making a difference. I lost three of my Avon customers in the past year to various forms of cancer. One of the women who just passed away was on the receiving end of what AVON 39 supports. Through one of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade grantees, she received transportation to and from her treatments and quality medical care.”

Making an Impact

Team Lombardi/CBCC

All of AVON 39’s beneficiaries are making an incredible impact in local communities around the country.

One of Houston’s deserving beneficiaries, Baylor College of Medicine, was also on the route all weekend as our volunteer Medical Sponsor. The granted funds will go toward increasing access to treatment and care, including support for genetic testing and information about clinical trials through their patient navigation program at Ben Taub Hospital and the Smith Clinic. You can read more about the grants given out in Houston here.

A team of note in D.C. was the, triple threat, Georgetown Lombardi/Capital Breast Care Center team. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital served as our volunteer medical sponsor. The Georgetown Lombardi/Capital Breast Care Center team had a walk team of around 100 people and were our top D.C. fundraising team raising $260K – adding to their lifetime fundraising total of more than $1.43 million. Additionally, the Capital Breast Care Center was a grant recipient, using the funds to increase access to comprehensive screening services, including transportation, for more than 1,500 women living in the Washington, D.C. area. The awarded grant dollars will also continue to provide comprehensive patient navigation services to those who receive a breast cancer diagnosis. You can learn more about this group and the other the Washington, D.C. grant recipients here.

Celebrating 39ers

LaWanda Fountain

The stories of passion, perseverance, heartbreak and celebration along the route are incredible. One amazing story from D.C. was 10-time walker and eight-year breast cancer survivor, LaWanda Fountain. Her relationship with Avon started long before the walks, however. Her grandma was an Avon Representative! She started walking in honor of her aunt, but then began walking for herself after her own breast cancer diagnosis. She said, “Avon treated me like I mattered, and like what I was going through and dealing with mattered. Knowing where the money goes and being familiar with the recipients, the least I can do is raise money and walk (stomp) out cancer.”

WUSA9 went to LaWanda’s home before walk weekend to learn more about her story. You can watch the full interview here.

Get Involved with AVON 39

Since AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer’s launch in 2003, more than 235,000 participants have raised nearly $620,000,000. Funds raised are distributed to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations.

While the 2017 Houston and Washington, D.C. walks are complete, we have five more walks to go! There’s still time to register for Chicago (June 3-4); Boston (June 24-25); San Francisco (July 8-9); Santa Barbara (September 9-10); and New York (October 14-15). You can also register for 2018 events.

As the season continues, you can get involved by following the #Powerof39 conversation on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram. And you can see photos from all walk weekends on Flickr.

I hope to see you on the route!