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Next weekend, Hicksville resident Krystal Rau will join thousands of women and men in the upcoming non-competitive Avon Walk for Breast Cancer NYC, which is held annually to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.

"I [want to] walk to help more than 200,000 people in United States who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and to sound the call to everyone who sees or hears about the Avon Walk that there's much to be done, and much we can do," said Rau, adding that the decision to walk was based on two factors:

"As a kindergarten teacher at the Parkway Elementary School [in East Meadow], I am walking so that my students one day might not have to experience breast cancer firsthand," she said. "And, as a Long Islander I feel I have a duty to walk. If you live here then you are bound to know someone who has passed on from breast cancer. We need to find the cure!"

The walk weekend will kick off with an opening ceremony early on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 4. Rau plans to take part in the 39.3 mile marathon and a half (there is also a 26.2 mile marathon) and spend Saturday night at the "Wellness Village," which features two-person sleeping tents, hot showers, prepared meals and support services. On Sunday, Oct. 5, Rau will join fellow walkers for an inspiring closing ceremony. At this time, the presentation of local grants and donations will take place so that funds will immediately benefit the community.

Every walker commits to raising at least $1,800 in donations and Rau is seeking the community's support to reach the fundraising goal. One-hundred percent of the funds raised by Rau and the thousands of other Avon Walk participants are awarded by the Avon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, to support breast cancer awareness, screening and diagnosis, treatment and support services and scientific research, with a focus on the medically underserved. Since the series was launched in 2003, the more than 75,000 participants in the Avon Walks have raised over $200 million to support leading cancer centers, research institutions and community-based organizations in the Walk regions and nationwide.

"The continued commitment of those who participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events gives us hope that one day we will know a world without breast cancer," said Carol Kurzig, executive director of the Avon Foundation, the public charity that produces the events. "Thanks to thousands of people like [Rau] we are able to save lives by providing significant funds for vital breast cancer research as well as access to care, screening, support services and education."

In 2008, a total of nine Avon Walks will be held throughout the United States, each attracting several thousand participants. To date, walks have taken place in Houston, TX; Washington, DC; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Rocky Mountains, CO; San Francisco, CA; and Los Angeles, CA. The final walk for 2008 is scheduled for Oct. 25-26 in Charlotte, NC.

For more information or to register for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, NYC on Oct.4-5, visit www.avonwalk.org or call 888-541-WALK. To support Krystal Rau's fundraising campaign, visit http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR?fr_id=1660&pg=pfind and type Rau's name into the search for participant section. Donations, payable by check to Krystal Rau, can also be sent to 26 Summer Lane, Hicksville, NY 11801. Rau will send back a donation coupon receipt.

"Any donation would be greatly appreciated," she said.


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