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Thousands walk in city for breast cancer research and awareness

MelissAbell is given spray sunscreen by her sister Stafanie Clark during lunch break WashingtSquare Park 901 N. Clark St. for

Melissa Abell is given a spray of sunscreen by her sister, Stafanie Clark, during a lunch break at Washington Square Park, 901 N. Clark St., for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Sunday, June 3, 3012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 4, 2012 10:39AM

Thousands of people participated in celebrations and fund-raising walks throughout the city Sunday for the 25th annual National Cancer Survivors Day events.

More than 2,800 people raised $6.3 million for breast cancer research and patient care during the two-day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Chicago, spokesman Michael Goon said. The walkers raised at least $1,800 each and walked a minimum of 26.2 miles between Soldier Field to Horner Park on Saturday. Many participants chose to walk an additional 13.1 miles back to the stadium on Sunday.

Avon Foundation for Women President Carol Kurzig announced during the closing ceremony that the $6.2 million would be given to the following local organizations: Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Sinai Health System, Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, University of Chicago, Mercy Hospital, Rush-Copley Foundation in Aurora, Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, Loretto Hospital, Saint Anthony Hospital and Swedish Covenant Hospital.

“Our beneficiaries here in Chicagoland are leaders from your communities who are dedicated to the fight against breast cancer,” Kurzig said in a statement. “These organizations are providing breast cancer screening, care and support services every day. They are also researching the causes and improved treatments for breast cancer, but also a way to someday prevent it altogether.”

About 4,000 people gathered for the 19th annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration and Walk, a 3-mile walk beginning in Grant Park, spokeswoman Erin White said. At the event, which was not a fund-raiser, more than 200 people signed up to be bone marrow donors.

Additionally, about 500 cancer survivors joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Health and Hospitals System CEO Dr. Ram Raju for a celebration in Stroger Hospital’s cafeteria. National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual celebration traditionally held on the first Sunday in June.

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