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stars to earn their stripes

Three women are travelling all the way from Massachusetts in the USA for this year's Flora Women's Mini Marathon.

Their aim is to raise at least $1,000 for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in Ireland.

Leading the group is Denise Sullivan, who has raised more than $80,000 in 14 previous events since 2002. These have included organised Avon walks in New York, North Carolina, California, Florida and Illinois, as well as local events in her home town of Kingston.

"It started with just my sister and me. Now there are more friends and two of my nieces, and my husband is part of the motorcycle support crew, which makes it even more special," she said.

With a name like Sullivan, Denise has always wanted to visit Ireland.

"I figured what better way than to do what is closest to my heart and join a walk to raise money for the Breast Cancer Crusade. There is a lot of culture, history and family in Ireland and I can't wait to explore it all!" she says.

It will be her first charity event abroad. "Since my first walk in 2002, I have met many women from other countries that have come to the US to do a walk. This encouraged me to do the same and experience a walk in another place," she added.

She heard of the Flora Women's Mini Marathon -- the biggest event of its kind in the world -- through Judith Wojtowicz of the Avon Foundation.

"I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm very happy to see that the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade is part of such a big event. I know it will be a momentous and emotional day."

Avon organises breast cancer walks all over the world as part of the Breast Cancer Crusade. Since 1998, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in Ireland has raised almost €900,000.


This funds two specialist breast cancer nurse counsellors at ARC Cancer Support in Dublin and Cork. It also supports the breast cancer lobby group Europa Donna Ireland.

Worldwide, the Crusade has raised $600 million for education, awareness, research, treatment and aftercare in over 50 countries since it was launched in the UK in 1992.

"Taking part in the women's mini marathon is our contribution to a global Avon initiative called Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer. Part of our activity in the Charity Village will be the exchange of a symbolic ribbon between two women who have had breast cancer," says Judith Wojtowicz.

"This pink ribbon links together all the countries who support the Crusade (over 50) and reinforces Avon's commitment to the breast cancer issue around the world."