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NIEHS Takes Home Big Check from Avon Walk

By Eddy Ball
November 2007

At the Awards Ceremony, Reinlib, center, posed with Marc Hurlbert, scientific director for the Avon Foundation and Karen Borkowsky, program director of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
At the Awards Ceremony, Reinlib, center, posed with Marc Hurlbert, scientific director for the Avon Foundation and Karen Borkowsky, program director of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. (Photo courtesy of Les Reinlib)

On October 22, NIEHS Health Scientist Administrator Les Reinlib, Ph.D., who directs the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers Program, accepted a check for $530,000 from the Avon Foundation to support expanded breast cancer research. The money is part of proceeds from a record-breaking event involving more than 1,050 participants in the third annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Exit NIEHS in Charlotte on October 20 -21.

NIEHS received the largest grant made at the event. The Institute will use the grant for expansion of the Avon-NIEHS partnership for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers, funding community advocate involvement and the coordination of studies. The funds will help support investigations into the role of possible environmental and genetic factors and future risk of breast cancer.

This year's volunteers raised $2.3 million to advance access to care and search for a cure for breast cancer by completing walks sponsored by donors. To participate in the Avon Walk Charlotte, each volunteer had to raise a minimum of $1,800 and complete a marathon, equaling 26.2 miles, or a marathon and a half, totaling 39.3 miles, over the weekend.

Funds raised by participants of the Avon Walks are awarded to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations to support five areas of the breast cancer cause, including awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services and scientific research, all with a focus on the medically underserved. Along with NIEHS, three other organizations in the Carolinas received proceeds from the walk:

  • Duke University in Durham, N.C. - $250,000 to support expansion of Duke's outreach to the African-American Community in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, as well as patient navigation services
  • Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, S.C. - $250,000 to continue the Avon-MUSC Patient Navigation Program, which was established through Avon Foundation funding in 2005
  • Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. - $150,000 to expand community outreach and patient navigation services to better reach underserved communities in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and eleven surrounding counties.

Since 2003, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series raised more than $175 million. The 2007 Avon Walks has raised more than $45 million. Donations are still being accepted for the Avon Walk Charlotte, and registration is open for the upcoming 2008 Avon Walk series. The 2008 series kicks off in the event's newest city, Houston, on April 12-13 and once again will be held in Charlotte; Washington, DC; Boston; Chicago; Rocky Mountains; San Francisco; Los Angeles and New York.


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