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Boston, MA - The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund has awarded a $50,000 grant to YWCA Boston’s breast cancer education, early detection and survivorship program, building on a long-standing partnership between the YWCA Boston and the Avon Foundation for Women. 

The YWCA's women’s health and wellness program is a culturally sensitive program designed to connect high-risk participants with information, resources, and advocacy on issues that affect overall well-being.  Numerous studies show that certain women are most at risk of late breast cancer diagnosis: women of color, new immigrants, women over forty, and women who are underinsured.

YWCA Boston works to remove the barriers—including financial, linguistic, and cultural—that many of these women face in taking control of their overall health. The program incorporates additional areas of women’s health, including cervical cancer, diabetes, HPV/STD’s, fitness, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, lupus, heart disease and more.

"YWCA Boston’s women’s health programs are unique because they are not limited to a particular neighborhood or ethnic group but ratherm are inclusive of, and sensitive to, a broad range of cultural and ethnic groups," said Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, YWCA Boston President &CEO. " We perform the crucial task of reaching traditionally underserved women through outreach and education, screening and referrals, clinical and social services, and support groups."

The YW program also distributes its multi-lingual “Health Disparity Buster” pamphlets with practical advice and resources to empower women to take control of their overall health.

Breast cancer is a threat to every woman.  It is the second leading cause of cancer death for women and the leading cause of death for African American women and women ages 40-59.  Although breast cancer cannot be prevented, if detected early, the five-year survival rate is 95%.  Unfortunately, less than one-third of American women follow the three steps recommended for early detection: annual mammograms beginning at age 40; annual clinical breast exams; and monthly breast self-examinations.

Due to the Avon Foundation’s consistent funding, YWCA Boston has developed a premier breast cancer program in the City of Boston for women of color and new immigrants.  Widely considered experts in the field, YWCA Boston staff is often asked to speak or present at conferences and panels, serve on committees and join collaborations. 

“We work at a broad-based, grassroots level to ensure that our  programs reach as many high-risk women as possible,” said Ferrell-Jones. “We are deeply grateful for The Avon Foundation’s generous long-time support.”

"YWCA is one of the original nationwide partners in the work of the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund, and they are a critical community-based provider of vital services to medically underserved women," stated Carol Kurzig, President, Avon Foundation for Women.

The Avon Foundation for Women and Breast Cancer Crusade

The Avon Foundation for Women, an accredited 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. Now past the half century milestone, the Foundation brings this mission to life through the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which raises funds and awareness to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. Since 1992 the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised and awarded more than $640 million worldwide for medical research; access to care; support services; screening and diagnostics; and education and awareness. The largest fundraising program in the U.S. is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series.

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund is administered by Cicatelli Associates Inc. to support community-based, non-profit breast health programs.  The Fund's National Advisory Board selected the YWCA Boston as one of 143 grant recipients nationwide in the 2009 cycle of Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund grants.  These organizations were chosen based on their ability to effectively reach women, particularly minority, low-income, and older women, who are often medically underserved.

YWCA Boston

Founded in 1866, YWCA Boston is America’ first YWCA.  For more than 140 years, YWCA Boston has worked to eliminate racism and empower women.  Today’s YWCA provides critical direct services in the community.  They include mobile health and wellness education for women and girls;  breast cancer survivor support; adult, interracial community dialogues; youth civic engagement, and financial literacy programs for working women. YWCA Boston sponsors Boston’s Academy of Women Achievers and an annual, city-wide Stand Against Racism.  YWCA also provides housing for single women at its Berkley Residence.  To learn more about YWCA Boston, visit  www.ywcaboston.org, or follow  the organization on Linked In, Twitter and Facebook.

For more Information

For more information about YWCA Boston’s women’s health and wellness programs, please call Anya Priester (617) 585-5472.  For more information about breast cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org, or the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or www.cancer.gov.

 To learn more about the Avon Foundation, call 1-866-505-AVON or visit www.avonfoundation.org where you can also access the free printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish.  For information or to register or support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit www.avonwalk.org or call 1-888-541-WALK.

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