This weekend, October 6-7th, marks the 10th anniversary of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and while it’s too late now to register for this year’s event, I’m here to encourage you to head out for a few hours this weekend and do what my pink people do best: cheer each other on!
The Atlanta 2 Day, which markets itself as “the kinder and gentler breast cancer walk” is put on each year by a local Atlanta 501(c)(3) organization called It’s The Journey, Inc. It’s the Journey was founded in 2002 after the Avon Walk left the Atlanta area as a way of raising funds that will stay entirely within the local area, supporting Georgia breast cancer patients and breast health programs. Officially, the mission statement of It’s the Journey, Inc says:
It’s The Journey, Inc’s mission is to strengthen Georgia’s breast cancer community by raising money and awareness for local organizations that focus on breast cancer education, early detection, awareness and support services, as well as the unmet needs in the breast cancer community.
Over the past nine years, It’s The Journey, Inc has funded 169 grants totaling $8 million to various Georgia and Atlanta-area breast cancer programs and organizations. That’s a huge amount of money for a relatively small group to be investing in breast cancer programs in my adopted home city and I am sure that every single cent is very appreciated by their grantees. More impressively, to my knowledge, the vast majority (if not all) of that money was raised by the participants of the Atlanta 2-Day; I don’t know of any other major fundraisers that It’s The Journey does. So when I say that these 2-Day walkers deserve the support of the greater cancer advocacy community, I really, truly mean it.
As for the specifics, the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is modeled after endurance events like the Komen 3-Day for the Cure and the Avon walks. For this event, participants walk 30 miles over two days and “camp out” on Saturday night at their host hotel, which for 2012 is the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Participants have the option of walking both days, or walking only Saturday (20 miles) or only Sunday (10 miles). As with other multi-day walks, walkers are asked to meet a fairly significant fundraising minimum just to participate. In this case, that means $1000 for 2 day walkers, $750 for Saturday-only walkers, and $500 for Sunday-only walkers. It really is an event that lets you choose exactly the right level of participation for you. They don’t call themselves the kinder, gentler breast cancer walk for nothing!
So, if you have a few free hours this weekend, I highly suggest that you come out and cheer on these walkers as they take on this challenge (perhaps after you’re done with the Making Strides event in the morning!). Opening Ceremonies will take place at 7am on Saturday morning, out on Peachtree Street in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. Following the conclusion of the ceremonies, the walkers will head out on the route. You can view the Saturday morning route here and the Saturday afternoon route here. In general, though, you’ll be able to find the walkers heading east towards Agnes Scott College in Decatur in the morning before turning back towards to downtown after lunch. Official cheering stations are planned throughout the day on Saturday and will probably be the best option for catching the walkers on the route:
- Cheering Station 1: Fishburne Parking Deck, Emory University (free on Saturday), 1672 N Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322 from 8:45am – 10:30am
- Cheering Station 2: Downtown Decatur, at the intersection of Church Street and Sycamore Street from 10:00am – 12:30pm
- Cheering Station 3: Candler Park Village, at the corner of McLendon Avenue and Clifton Road from 1:00pm – 4:00pm
In addition, you can cheer for the walkers as the return back to the Marriott Marquis after a long day of walking as well. The hotel is located at 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303. It’s The Journey asks that you cheer on the Courtland Street side of the hotel. They expect walkers to be returning between 2:30 and 5:30pm.
Sunday’s festivities will also kick off with Opening Ceremonies, this time at 7:30am in the Atrium Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis downtown. From there, the walkers will be walking north from their hotel up to Atlantic Station. Closing Ceremonies are planned for noon on Sunday at Atlantic Station. You can view the complete Sunday route here. There are no planned cheering stations on Sunday besides at Atlantic Station as the walkers are finishing.
In the past, I’ve expressed my hesitation in promoting and encouraging It’s The Journey, Inc and the Atlanta 2-Day. It really bothers me that It’s The Journey positions this great walk as a competitor to the 3-Day and other multi-day breast cancer walks, rather than as an additional walk. I thoroughly believe that there are plenty of passionate advocates that will fill up however many walks we need to have in order to raise enough money to finally cure cancer. There is no need for cancer organizations to compete with each other. If your organization is doing good work (and I think It’s The Journey ultimately is), people will take part in your events. I really wish It’s The Journey would figure that out and change their marketing going forward. Regardless of if they actually do make changes, the walkers that take part in the Atlanta 2 Day aren’t doing this walk to spite some other organization (I hope!). They’re doing it because they want to contribute to the fight against breast cancer. And seriously? $8 million dollars for local breast cancer centers and patient support programs? That’s AMAZING. These walkers deserve everyone’s respect and encouragement for their hard work. They’ve earned it, regardless of my feelings about how It’s The Journey chooses to promote their walk.
So, with that, I say: