Byline: Matthew W. Evans

NEW YORK — Avon threw down the gauntlet in the fight against breast cancer Tuesday night.
That’s when the company held its inaugural Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer awards and chairman and chief executive Andrea Jung announced $51.7 million in financial donations for the cause.
Jung herself questioned whether or not the event should go on considering uncertainty over retaliatory military strikes in Afghanistan this week but decided there’s no question that now is a “more important time than ever to continue the fight against breast cancer.”
Almost all of Tuesday’s sum, which represents a third of the $150 million raised by Avon since 1992, went to four recipients. Additionally, the event’s five award winners each designated a charity where an equal amount of $100,000 would go. The event itself, which included speeches by Jung, emcee Joan Lunden and a five-song set by Roberta Flack, saw 650 attendees and raised $1.6 million.
Jung enthused about the company’s 10-year goal. “We’re committed now to raising $250 million by 2002,” she said, adding, “I’m fully confident of reaching that target.”
The National Cancer Institute received $20 million, 40 percent of what Avon says is by far its biggest single gift in the fight to date. The other three recipients, each of which received $10 million, were Northwestern University’s Lurie Cancer Center; Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and a partnership between San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and the University of California.
An award for medical advancement was given to Dr. Karen Antman of New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center; Zora Brown, president of Washington’s Breast Cancer Resource Committee, was named community advocate; Genentech chairman and ceo Dr. Arthur D. Levinson received the award for corporate leadership; Self Magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger got the media leadership award, and Avon sales representative Jackie Williams received the Avon Pink Ribbon award.