Global News

Back to featured stories

Avon Marks 20 Years of Fighting Breast Cancer

Oct 3, 2011

This is the company … that fights wrinkles with one hand and breast cancer with the other …

Thousands of shades of pink have comprised Avon’s palettes for blush, lipstick and eye shadow over the years. But the most important hue is the one representing the company’s fight against breast cancer.

2012 marks the 20th year of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. For more than 125 years, Avon has been dedicated to improving the lives of women. Because a woman cannot truly be empowered if her health or safety is at risk, Avon’s commitment to fighting breast cancer has been an integral component in empowering millions of women around the globe for the past two decades. 

Creation of a Crusade
Avon’s Breast Cancer Crusade was launched in the U.K. in 1992 to bring the company’s vision to life. At the time, not many people talked openly about breast cancer.  Through Avon’s sales channel, an army of Representatives was mobilized to raise awareness and funds for the cause. And so the Crusade was born, starting with the sale of breast cancer awareness pins. Proceeds from pin sales were donated to Breakthrough, a British organization which needed funding to build a center for breast cancer research.

“We set out to make a difference in a cause that is so important to women – and to our company – and I believe we are accomplishing that.  But there’s so much more to do … and the future is more promising than ever,” says Carol Kurzig President of the Avon Foundation for Women and Vice President, Avon Products, Inc.

The Walks: “210 Times Around the Globe”
In 1998, the Avon Foundation was the named the beneficiary of the first long-distance walk series for breast cancer. Five years later, the Foundation launched its current highly successful event model in the U.S.: Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a marathon-and-half walk (39.3 miles) over two days. Since the start of the Avon Walk  a decade ago, participants have supported critical community outreach and education, raising awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection.  Year after year, the Walk continues to pick up the pace:

  • By 2012, Avon Walkers will have collectively circumnavigated the globe more than 210 times, or 5,261,811 miles
  • More than 14,000 breast cancer survivors will have participated
  • Through the end of 2011, 163,000 participants raised more than $400 million

Making Strides Outside the U.S.
In 2005, the company started the Avon Walk Around the World For Breast Cancer series, bringing grassroots activism to a global scale. Walk Around the World mobilizes a quarter of a million people each year for the breast cancer cause. This “Walk” sometimes includes runs, concerts and educational seminars. World Walkers have trekked past diverse locales and historic sites, including the Great Wall of China, the Kremlin, Kuala Lumpur and Prague.

Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Today
Today, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade is a powerful global force: Avon is the leading corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause worldwide. The Crusade has donated more than $780 million to accelerate research progress and improve access to care. Its impact has been far and wide-reaching:

  • Linking more than 17 million women around the globe to early detection programs and mammography screenings.
  • Educating 100 million women on breast health
  • Expanding into 58 countries
  • Enabling access to care for underserved populations
  • Providing $175 million to breast cancer research projects since 1999
  • Creating Love/Avon Army of Women, a program designed to accelerate the pace of prevention research by enlisting more than 350,000 women (potential study volunteers) for this effort.

Fighting Until the Crusade Becomes Obsolete
Beauty trends come and go, but pink will continue to be a critical color for Avon and the lives of millions of women around the globe. To borrow the slogan from the company’s U.S. Walk series, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women are “in it to end it.” They will fight until there is an end to breast cancer … and the Crusade becomes truly obsolete.

Avon Timeline

Avon Timeline
Downloadable PDF(131 KB)


For in-depth corporate archives, please visit Avon's online digital archive collection at the Hagley Museum. Click here to launch the site.