When Robin Cohen began considering the position of executive director for It’s The Journey Inc. (ITJ), the nonprofit organization that produces the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, she did not have any family members or close friends who had been affected by the disease. However, between the time she started the interview process and the time she accepted the job, her aunt received a breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, the cancer was detected early, and Cohen’s aunt has an excellent prognosis. But the experience drove home the significance of Cohen’s unique opportunity because, like so many others who have watched loved ones cope with breast cancer, she now appreciates her organization’s mission more than ever before.
“You don’t have to be a survivor to be touched by breast cancer. And we don’t want it to be something people whisper about. We don’t want people to be afraid of it—we want everyone to be educated about it,” says Cohen, who has helmed ITJ since March and is looking forward to the 8th annual 2-Day Walk, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3, in downtown Atlanta. As it does each year, the flagship event will draw more than 1,000 walkers who are eager to tackle the selected route, which begins at the Marriott Marquis and winds through the city, covering 20 miles on Saturday and 10 miles on Sunday, all in the name of raising funds and awareness for local breast cancer organizations that offer aid and support to women and their families in the community. In fact, since its founding in 2002, ITJ has raised more than $6.6 million and awarded 127 grants to Atlanta-area breast cancer organizations.
The grantees, which are located across the metro area and as far away as Athens and Rome, cover nearly every possible support service that is associated with breast cancer. For instance, the 20 grant recipients for 2010 included such organizations as Athens Regional Foundation Inc., which produces educational materials and provides genetic counseling and testing, therapeutic yoga and more for breast cancer survivors; the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation for the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Health System, which outfits underserved breast cancer patients with wigs, camisoles and breast forms through the Self-Image Center; and the American Cancer Society, which offers assistance to breast cancer patients who are facing a financial crisis such as eviction, utility cutoffs or a home foreclosure as a result of their diagnosis and treatment. “This is about people helping people in every aspect of the battle against breast cancer, from diagnosis and support, to education, patient advocacy and beyond,” Cohen concludes. “And, with the funds that are raised in Atlanta staying in Atlanta, we all have every reason to get behind and help grow the 2-Day.”
For more information, visit www.itsthejourney.org.
Did you know?
• Every 2 days, 33 women in Georgia are diagnosed with breast cancer.
• One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
• This year, more than 1,600 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Get ready for 2011
Registration for the 2011 Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer will begin in January. By signing up early, you
will have plenty of time to meet (and hopefully exceed) the event’s $1,000 fundraising commitment. Be sure
to visit www.itsthejourney.org at the beginning of the year for registration details.