Chenango Health Network has received grant funding from the NYS Avon Breast Health Outreach Program for many years. AVON BHOP support has enabled our agency to conduct our Every Woman Counts in Chenango County Campaign, which motivates, encourages and supports hundreds of women who live in this rural upstate county to be screened for breast cancer and receive necessary treatment and support. Chenango Health Network staff, board and volunteers are very aware and appreciative of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer that occurs every year in New York City and in other parts of the country. We support Buel Fuel, a local team, with their fundraising efforts each year.
I have thought about joining the Buel Team as a walker, but I know that the distance is beyond my personal endurance. Volunteering at the NYC Walk seemed to be a better option, so when my personal and work schedules came together and I could travel to New York, I decided to volunteer this year. I asked my husband Lester to join me and he said “sure” without any hesitation. We both signed up to work at the Friday registration, booked a hotel room, purchased our Amtrak tickets and hoped for a good weather.
The weather was perfect. Our travel to NYC was uneventful. Our experience as first-time event volunteers was intense and worth every minute of it. We were quickly immersed into a very well organized, high-energy activity where staff trained and then continued to provide support to all of the volunteers working the registration computers (us). Their humor, energy and excitement never seemed to stop. Lots of people, young and older, arrived to register from 2:00-8:00 p.m. Friday. I met and registered people who were walking for the first time and those who were back again for another year; people who were volunteering a crew members (lots of interesting jobs); someone from Australia, someone from Great Britain, lots of people from New Jersey and of course New York State. Registrants talked about the “why” they were walking or crewing and many about “who” they were walking for. Many of the registrants asked about our reasons for being with the event too. I talked about our Every Woman Campaign whenever I could and our relationship to this Avon event.
Lester and I were very glad we were part of this incredible effort. Lester thanked me for “inviting him to volunteer." He wants to return as a crew member for the full weekend next year. I will join up again as a registration volunteer and/or maybe crew. I think that everyone who donates, fund-raises, volunteers and walks are part of a very special organization.
Tina Utley Edwards
Executive Director, Chenango Health Network