by Steve Kirk and Pat Kramer
More than 22,000 participants joined City of Hope’s Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer campaign last year, raising more than $2.5 million for critical efforts to fight the disease, organizers recently announced.
The 2006 fundraising figures mean the Walk for Hope program has raised more than $22 million for much-needed research, treatment and education at City of Hope since the program’s inception a decade ago.
“Due to increased sponsor and team participation in 2006, we continued to increase the efficacy of our fundraising efforts,” said Raymur Sweeney, director of national events. “We are deeply grateful to everyone who helped to make this past season such an extraordinary success.”
The top three Walks of 2006 were held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix. On Oct. 8, nearly 8,000 supporters generated more than $700,000 in Los Angeles and about 3,000 participants raised more than $330,000 in Chicago; and on Oct. 1, more than 3,500 contributors reaped more than $250,000 in donations in Phoenix. Other 2006 Walks were held in San Diego, San Francisco, Edison, N.J.; Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The team generating the most donations nationwide was Chicago’s “C is for Courage, S is for Strength,” which garnered more than $61,000. One of the team’s members, Chelli Fishman, also finished as the nation’s top individual fundraiser, generating contributions exceeding $24,000.
For the sixth consecutive year, Wells Fargo served as a national sponsor of the event, submitting a $100,000 donation at the Los Angeles Walk. In addition, 625 Wells Fargo employees comprised the nation’s largest Walk team and raised more than $30,000. New cash sponsors in 2006 included Bamboo, Anne Michelle and Sebastian Body Double. 3M Post-It Sticky Notes, Hilton HHonors, Good Housekeeping magazine, Orbitz and Sandals/Beaches resorts rounded out the list of national sponsors.
Sponsors created numerous offers and promotions to support the cause. Hilton HHonors offered all Walk participants raising $1,000 or more a free night’s stay in one of their hotels, while the top individual fundraiser and top team captain received two nights of complimentary accommodations. Sebastian Body Double offered makeovers for breast cancer patients through the Positive Image CenterSM located at the Medical Center and conducted fundraising at every salon carrying their products nationwide. In addition to providing promotional and financial support for City of Hope throughout the year, 3M provided Super Stickies for use on dedication walls located at each Walk.
The 2006 Walks also saw the launch of a new online fundraising tool to support the events. A virtual fundraising system enabled supporters to create their own customized Web pages, manage donor information, send e-mails and track donations.
Actress Andrea Evans again served as national celebrity ambassador in 2006. Grammy Award-winning recording singer, songwriter, actress and breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John participated in the Los Angeles Walk, walking along with supporters. Newton-John also agreed to donate to City of Hope 10 percent of proceeds from sales of her breast cancer awareness product, called the Olivia Breast Self-Exam Kit, as well as a breast health dietary supplement. Both are available at Walgreens stores.