Walk the Walk came into being 10 years ago when just 13 women power walked The New York Marathon in their bras to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. What started out as a once only fundraising event has blossomed into a thriving charity raising to date in excess of £35 million for breast cancer research and cancer care.
The charity was founded by Nina Barough who at that time had a styling and production business. Nina woke up one morning with what seemed a brilliant idea – to Power Walk the New York marathon in decorated bras to raise money for breast cancer. What makes this story so incredible is that Nina at that time had no experience whatsoever of fund raising, or taking part in a marathon nor did she know anyone who had been affected by breast cancer.
In November 1996 the dream became a reality when 13 women took to the streets of New York in decorated bras. Although the main idea was to have fun….it resulted in raising over £25,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research. Word soon got around and people started to call Nina asking her if they could join her “next event”. Due to her work commitments it was doubtful if that would happen but then fate intervened. In January 1997, Nina not only discovered that she had breast cancer but that it was an aggressive tumour (which she had most probably had for about three years). As a result her world was thrown upside down, she had to give up her business and enter into a programme of treatment. As is often the case in these difficult times, those around her felt very helpless so it seemed that to Power Walk the London Marathon would really be a positive way to support her. The 1997 London Marathon was again a huge success for the Walkers raising in excess of another £25,000 and was closely followed by the first Walk the Walk auction of decorated and designed celebrity bras. Only days later, Nina was in hospital undergoing a mastectomy. This was followed by a course of radiotherapy, Tamoxifen and Zoladex injections.
And so The Moonwalk is born
In the spring of 1998 a Walk the Walk team entered the London Marathon for the second time but as most people know, places for this event are extremely hard to come by. Only 25 people received places but there were a further 25 who failed to get in. Not wanting to disappoint them or waste their fundraising and training, Nina decided to create a one off marathon for these girls. The nearest to being part of the London Marathon would be to start at midnight and finish at seven in the morning on the day of the marathon. The 25 intrepid walkers plus friends set off at midnight and completed their marathon at 7.00 am on Sunday morning in Trafalgar Square……and so The MoonWalk was born.
It was clear by November 1998 that word was spreading and that many people wanted to Walk the Walk. Nina took the first steps to setting up the charity and finding the sponsors that would help to fund her and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since that day Walk the Walk’s flagship event The MoonWalk has become a major annual event. It is the only Power Walking marathon in the world that starts at midnight with thousands of dynamic women and men wearing bras!
Walk the Walk support vital causes
Walk the Walk has always been committed to not only raising funds for breast cancer research and cancer care, but is also passionate in encouraging women and men in becoming fitter and healthier, taking more responsibility for their own wellbeing as a vital part of prevention.
Scientific research, our future
From the very first walk in 1996, our money has been granted to Breakthrough Breast Cancer to help fund their research centre which was opened in 1998. The scientists there produce a co-ordinated programme of research to develop new methods to diagnose, treat and prevent breast cancer. In April 2004, The Breakthrough Nina Barough Pathology Laboratory was opened in recognition of the contribution that Walk the Walk has made. The laboratory is based in The Royal Marsden Hospital and was the first footprint to link research and science to actual patients.
To date Walk the Walk has funded some key research projects, including granting 50% of the set-up costs of The Generation study. This is perhaps the most adventurous, largest and most comprehensive investigation ever to be undertaken into the causes of breast cancer. Over 100,000 women will be monitored over the next 40 years and in due course it will not only be possible to compare the risk factors in the women who develop breast cancer with those who do not, it is thought that information will also be revealed that will help with other diseases and cancers.
Holistic cancer care, helping people with cancer now
In 2000, Walk the Walk began to grant funds to The Bristol Cancer Help Centre (who recently changed their name to Penny Brohn Cancer Care) which, working in conjunction with conventional treatments, promotes the benefits of an holistic approach, including nutrition, healing, and relaxation, encouraging people to take control of their treatment by adopting a lifestyle that can strengthen both mind and body.
The centre is now famous in its approach and receives visitors from all over the world. . Nina visited the Centre herself as part of her own treatment and has since become very passionate about the work that they do. Money granted by Walk the Walk has enabled them to continue with more security and embark upon new projects
Cancerpoint, which has been largely funded by Walk the Walk, was set up 4 years ago. It operates a drop in service for people living in the South West. Each person has an assessment and then has the opportunity to take up a variety of complementary and self-help techniques by individual appointment; over 2,500 have been created by this scheme in the last year and have enabled the centre to see many more patients than their residential facilities would allow
This year, again with the help of Walk the Walk, the centre's largest and most adventurous project became a reality. On November 16th their new home opened its doors for the first time. This new home will enable them to expand all their activities and allow many more people to benefit from this healing and nurturing environment. This is an exciting time for Penny Brohn Cancer Care but also for Walk the Walk. In recognition of the support and funding that we have given to them, the building has been named in honour and is called the Nina Barough Aubertin and Walk the Walk building.
Last but not least, as a result of Walk the Walk funds, the centre has been able to introduce a lo-call telephone number (0845 123 23 10) and has developed a designated email service thus increasing accessibility to many many thousands of people.
Walk the Walk becomes an official charity
It is hard to believe that Walk the Walk has only been an official charity for such a short time. Nina had managed to turn a simple idea into a dynamic charity which promotes a healthy and fit lifestyle and at the same time raises significant funds for breast cancer research and care. Nina’s passion for healthy eating and exercise has inspired many others; in fact joining Walk the Walk is often described as a life-changing event. Many women and men who have never power walked or been involved in any sort of fitness before are becoming ardent walkers. It appears that Walk the Walk is achieving its goal of encouraging women and men to become more aware and responsible for their own health and wellbeing.
Walk the Walk steps into the future
Walk the Walk has made quantum leaps each year as we raise more money. Often called the "Health" or "Lifestyle" charity the impact of "walking the walk" has empowered many. 2005 was a magnificent year; we had teams walking in more events than ever before including the Great North Run and our favourite overseas marathon in New York, where we held a grand 10th-year celebration. The year ended as we finally left our little office in Mayfair House and moved to a larger and grander home, which will allow us the space to fulfill our exciting plans for the future.
During 2006 we are well on our way to breaking all records and raising £7 million from all our challenges. Our second daytime event The SunWalk in Bristol on the 9th July was three times the size and has encouraged many young people to get walking. Our first International Moonwalk in Edinburgh on the 24th June was a huge success and having raised £1.6 million, far exceeded our expectations! We are very excited that these funds will be used to support cancer patients in Scotland and make an impact in their journey through this horrendous disease. In this first year we aim to support Maggie’s and The Breast Cancer Institute.
In our goal to get the world walking, Walk the Walk now hold trade marks and licenses for most countries. Our biggest challenge going forward is to transport the dynamic energy, the camaraderie and spirit of unity to all those countries that The MoonWalk will touch. Our vision for the future is that one day MoonWalks will happen throughout the world on the same magnificent night making a difference too many!
Walk the Walk is a charity not only committed to raising money and awareness for vital breast cancer causes but are also passionate about encouraging women and men to become healthier, fitter and to take charge of their own well-being.
Each year we bring thousands of walkers together to take on different challenges. This year not only will we see our 100,000 walker join Walk the Walk, but we have also had our best ever fundraising year so far...I am very excited to tell you that we have already reached in excess of £5 million with money still arriving!
Being a grant making charity it is our goal that each year we grant as much of our fundraising as possible, making sure that it is put to the best use and where we feel it really will make a difference. Breast cancer is a major public-health issue, and whilst statistics show that tithe mortality rate is decreasing, the incidences of disease are continuing to rise. The funds that we have granted to research, and our future health, have already extended our knowledge of breast cancer and enabled better treatments and understanding of this horrendous disease.
Since 2000 we have also been making grants to The Bristol Cancer Help Centre, to help cancer patients and their families receive the best emotional and spiritual support. By using complementary therapies such as visualization and relaxation and many hands on techniques, they enable patients to find their own empowerment, and strength to face their journey through cancer. In November the centre will move to Eden Grove, a new and wonderful home, that will enable more people to receive the very special attention that the Bristol Centre gives to each of its visitors. Walk the Walk and our fundraisers have been instrumental in helping to make this dream an exciting reality,
2006 is a very special year for Walk the Walk, due to the launch of our MoonWalk Edinburgh, we have been able to increase our fundraising, and by ensuring that these funds remain in Scotland, we will be able to make a substantial difference to the quality of life for many breast cancer patients.
This year Walk the Walk has also launched its own initiative; For any cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, the thought of losing their hair can often be the final straw. Scalp Coolers are machines that are now enabling patients the opportunity to keep their hair and as a result improve their quality of life during their treatment. Over the next five years our aim is to remove the postcode lottery that now exists for this treatment and to place coolers into hospitals throughout the UK .
On behalf of Walk the Walk and our benefiting charities we send a HUGE thank you, we could not achieve any of this without you.
With good wishes and good health
P.S. Scroll down to find out how our funds are being used and the fantastic result that they are achieving!
helping to keep your hair on!
What are scalp coolers? Many people undergoing chemotherapy in the UK are completely unaware that scalp coolers exist let alone that they could help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to keep their hair. Losing your hair can be the final straw and can have a devastating impact not only on the patient but also their families, particularly children.
These amazing machines, developed by Glenn Paxman as a result of his own wife losing her hair through chemotherapy, are compatible with most chemotherapy drugs and have received some wonderful results. Many people have reported that their hair loss was so minimal that using the machines enabled them to 'just feel normal' whilst undergoing treatment.
What is the aim of Walk the Walk? Over the next 5 years we aim to put scalp coolers in hospitals throughout the UK, including training for staff and maintenance and as a result enable ALL cancer patients to have the equal opportunity and choice to receive a treatment that can make a beneficial difference to how well they manage their treatment.
So how do scalp coolers work? Prior to receiving the chemotherapy drug, the cooling cap (which looks a little like a home hair dryer) is placed on the scalp. Ensuring that the cap fits well, the machine then cools the scalp to approximately -9°C degrees as a result, by freezing the hair follicle the chance of retaining hair is increased. The cap is kept on the head for a varying period of time after the treatment, depending on the drug it can be anything from 2 - 4 hours. Click here to see what people have to say about the treatment.
Where can you find them? - At present it is a real postcode lottery, not all hospitals have the equipment, so patients are not informed of the treatment. In some areas machines are available but not enough to offer all patents treatment, and in some cases the hospitals do not feel that it is an important part of treatment. Keep visiting this page and we will let you know which hospitals have our machines
Ask your oncologist about scalp cooling and maybe Walk the Walk could help you keep your hair on!
Penny Brohn Cancer Care is the leading UK charity which has pioneered and specialises in ‘The Bristol Approach’ to cancer care. Focusing on the emotional and spiritual impact of cancer diagnosis and working hand in hand with conventional treatment.
Cancer can and does deplete you of many things that we all take for granted, our health, our attitude and our hope. The Bristol Approach helps patients to individually look at their lifestyle, diet and attitude and teaches different self help techniques, such as visualisation and relaxation, gives healing session, advice on diet, and can help patients discover their own creative skills. Through this guidance patients begin to look at what they do have in life rather than what they don’t and discover their own empowerment and strength to help them through a difficult time, whilst learning many new life skills. Visitors to the centre have been heard to say that it is a ‘magical experience’ Perhaps they feel this because they are able to spend time in a safe, and gentle environment, and perhaps for the first time in many years focusing on themselves. The centre is also keen to offer advice to carers and family members.
Walk the Walk feel that The Penny Brohn Cancer Care is a vital cause to support as it is helping people with cancer now. Your money has made a huge contribution to this special place. Since 2000, when we started supporting the centre, your fundraising has made a considerable and very tangible difference to all those who have passed through its doors.
The day to day running of the centre and residential courses. The centre operates a bursary system so that nobody is ever turned away due to lack of funds.
Cancerpoint - This very successful scheme, which is largely funded by Walk the Walk, was set up 4 years ago. It operates a drop in service for people living in the South West. Each person has an assessment and then has the opportunity to take up a variety of complementary and self-help techniques by individual appointment, over 2,500 have been created by this scheme in the last year.
Eden Grove - The centre's largest and most adventurous project is about to be realised. On November 16th Eden Grove will officially be opened. This new home will enable them to expand all their activities and allow many more people to benefit from this healing and nurturing environment. This is an exciting time for the centre, and for Walk the Walk!
Helpline - As a result of Walk the Walk funds, the centre has been able to introduce a lo-call telephone number (0845 123 23 10) and has developed a designated email service thus increasing accessibility to many many thousands of people.
My personal experience The Bristol Centre holds a very warm place in my heart. The doors are open to all and offer a safe environment for our mind body and spirit when we are at our most vulnerable. During my own cancer I was a frequent visitor and it is thanks to this very special place that I can say my experience of breast cancer was as good as it could be. With their help I was able to discover the power of healing within myself and now 9 years later feeling fit and healthy, I am still using the ‘Bristol approach’ tools, especially all the nutritional advice. I would advise anyone with cancer to spend time in this wonderful space.
Walk the Walk has been supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer since 1996. From the opening of the Toby Robbins Research Centre in 1999 our grants and support have been critical in enabling scientists to make important discoveries that will help find new methods of prevention and aid the development of new treatments.
For example, the team in the Nina Barough Breakthrough Breast Cancer Pathology lab have been critical in identifying numerous molecules in breast cancer biopsies that may help doctors predict how the disease may progress.
The Cancer Drug Target Discovery Team discovered how a gene called STK15 or Aurora2 can increase breast cancer risk. This gene may be a new target for breast cancer treatments. Professor Alan Ashworth’s laboratory has led to the set up of the world’s first clinical trial for a new chemotherapy treatment for genetic breast cancer.
Perhaps the most adventurous project is The Generation study, the largest and most comprehensive investigation ever to be undertaken into the causes of breast cancer. Over 100,000 women will be monitored over the next 40 years and in due course it will not only be possible to compare the risk factors in the women who develop breast cancer with those who do not, it is thought that information will also be revealed that will help with other diseases and cancers.