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    20th Annual "Walk for Beauty" Sets Sights on Boosting Breast Cancer Research at Stony Brook University

    Event celebrates two decades and more than $1 million raised for SBU cancer research

    STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 9, 2013 – More than a thousand walkers are expected to descend on the Stony Brook Village Center on Sunday, Oct. 20, with one common goal in mind: eradicating breast cancer. 

    The 20th annual Walk for Beauty, an all-volunteer effort with no administrative costs, will raise funds to conduct cancer research at Stony Brook University and help cancer patients who are treated at Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Co-sponsored by Stony Brook Medicine and the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, the walk has raised more than $1 million since it first began in 1994. 

    The event has been successful because it has been a true collaboration between Stony Brook University, area businesses, schools and governmental leaders from the beginning, said Gloria Rocchio, President of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. 

    “The Walk for Beauty has contributed $1.175 million toward cancer research and patient support at Stony Brook Medicine,” said Rocchio, who co-chairs the event. “In addition, the Walk for Beauty has helped thousands of patients by providing prostheses and wigs to those in need. These seed grants resulted in eight additional grants from national organizations totaling over $7 million.” 

    “We are immensely grateful for the support that the Walk for Beauty has provided over the past two decades,” said Yusuf Hannun, MD, Director, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Vice Dean, Cancer Medicine, and the Joel Kenny Professor of Medicine. “The funds raised directly and indirectly benefit our patients at the Cancer Center and reflect the synergies of a successful ‘town and gown’ collaboration.” 

    “Supporting the Walk for Beauty is a personal and tangible way to fight back against this dread disease,” said Linda Bily, Patient Advocacy and Community Outreach Coordinator at Stony Brook Cancer Center, event co-chair. “It is also a way to honor those who have courageously fought the battle against cancer.” 

    This year’s walk will honor Janet Taormina of Patchogue, who was diagnosed at Stony Brook University Cancer Center in 2010. With support from the hospital staff and her friends and family, she not only survived breast cancer, she thrived. “Everyone responded to me with tenderhearted compassion, constant encouragement and lots of hugs,” she said. 

    It will also honor two people who have supported the Walk for Beauty since its inception: Jim Condron, Vice President and Market Manager of WALK AM/FM Radio, and Leah S. Dunaief, Editor and Publisher of the Times Beacon Record newspapers. 

    The Walk for Beauty has helped hundreds of cancer patients over the years by providing prostheses and wigs to patients at Stony Brook Cancer Center. The event is an all-volunteer initiative with no administrative costs. All proceeds stay in the community to benefit cancer research at Stony Brook. 

    “The natural setting of the Walk makes the event a unique experience,” Rocchio added. The walk includes 4K and 6K options, with the 6K route leading walkers along Stony Brook Harbor, through lush Avalon Park and Preserve and past the historic Stony Brook Grist Mill. 

    Pre-registration for the walk is occurring now. The cost is $25 per person, and Stony Brook University students can participate for $10 per person.  Dogs can walk for the $5 cost of a pink bandana. For more information or to register, call HealthConnect at (631) 444-4000 or visit


    About Stony Brook University Cancer Center:
    Stony Brook University Cancer Center is Suffolk County’s cancer care leader and a leader in education and research. With more than 20,000 inpatient and outpatient visits annually, the Cancer Center includes 12 multidisciplinary teams: Breast Cancer; Colorectal Cancer; Gynecologic Oncology; Head, Neck and Thyroid Oncology; Lung Cancer; Melanoma; Neurologic Oncology; Orthopaedic Oncology and Sarcoma; Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Stem Cell Transplantation and Hematologic Malignancy; Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology; and Urologic Oncology. The cancer program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a Teaching Hospital Cancer Program and received the Commission’s Outstanding Achievement Award. The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center is the first center in New York State to be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. To learn more, visit

    About Ward Melville Heritage Organization:
    The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is a not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates natural resources and historic properties in Stony Brook, Setauket and Head of the Harbor. The organization offers scores of educational programs, including “Medicine: Past, Present and Future” at its historic Dr. Samuel Thompson House, c. 1751. To learn more, visit