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Crew: The helpers behind the walk

February 25, 2010

Gentle readers of this blog know that I have participated over the past 4 years in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  The first 2 years, I walked the 39.3 miles around New York city. It was an absolutely marvelous and inspiring experience.  At each rest stop along the way, I, along with my fellow walkers, were warmly greeted by a smiling member of the crew in a light blue t-shirt.  These angels really help motivate the walkers to keep going.

During  my third year participating in the walk, Kelly, my walker buddy from the Avon Walk office, asked if I would like to crew on the Boston walk.  I signed up to work at Quick Stop B with a great group of people headed by Jack O’Malley.  Each rest stop chooses a theme and decorates their stop accordingly.  Jack’s stop was named “O’Malley’s Pub” and was resplendent in green shamrocks.   Being a crew member gave me the opportunity to see the walk “from the other side”.

Watching the walkers come through the Rest Stop, one sees thousands of different faces, each one has a reason for walking, with no two being the same. Some walkers are trying to complete the walk as quickly as they can, others are taking their time, absorbing everything as they go. Some walkers are struggling with blisters or cramped muscles.  The crew tries to pick these walkers out and let them know that help is available, whether it is resting for a while, getting a blister treated by Medical Crew or taking a sweep van to the next stop.

The teams are broken up by function and receive color coded shirts. The darker blue are the volunteers who help at Event Eve with check-in; The light blue are the bulk of the crew members including rest stops; The red shirts are worn by the medical staff while the orange are worn by safety and the green are worn by clean-up.

The majority of the work during the Avon Walk is done by volunteers on the various crew teams.  They work tirelessly throughout the 3 days (Event Eve, Walk Day 1 and 2) to ensure the walkers’ safety, well-being and comfort. Below is a sampling of some of the teams.   For full information about the crew and how you can join click here>


  • Route Marking:  Marks the physical route so that Walkers know where to go!
  • Set-Up: Set up the Wellness Village one day in advance of the Walkers’ arrival including marking the sleeping tent “grid,” setting up dining area and service tents, and a variety of other jobs to helps ensure that the Wellness Village is properly prepared.


  • Food Service: Works closely with the catering vendor, serving breakfast and dinner to event participants.
  • Gear & Tent: This team manages the collection and distribution of all participant gear and tents throughout the event.
  • Pack-Up: This team manages the clean up of the Opening Ceremony as well as the Wellness Village each day, including the monitoring of trash throughout the Wellness Village.
  • Traffic: Responsible for managing vehicular and pedestrian traffic into and out of the Wellness Village.


  • Motorcycle Safety: Works with Road Dispatch Staff and local law enforcement to guarantee safe passage for Walkers during each day’s route. Assist at difficult intersections and other locations as requested.
  • Quick Stops and Rest Stops: Manage set-up, water distribution, and traffic control at each location. These teams are often the first to leave in the morning – between 3:45am and 4:45am (!) – and the last to return to the Wellness
  • Route Clean-Up: Responsible for the pick-up of bagged trash from each Rest Stop and Quick Stop.
  • Route Water & Ice:  Distribution and replenishment of water and ice needed for each of the Quick Stops and Rest Stops.
  • Sweep: Circulates throughout the route in 12-person passenger vans, providing transportation to Rest Stops for Walkers who may not be able to complete the day’s route.

Include volunteer Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Physical Therapists, Podiatrists, and medical professionals who give freely of their time to assist the walkers during the event.

My friend Linda is a massage therapist who has been part of the Boston and New York teams.
Below is a slideshow of photos I took during 2007-2009 walks in NY, Boston and Charlotte of the crew members.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

One Comment leave one →
  1. fpunzalan permalink
    March 6, 2010 4:17 am


    Please post this to your site:

    People who want to raise funds this coming Susan G Komen 3-DayRace For The Cure and Avon Walk, you can buy bulk Pink Merchandise for low prices at this site:

    If you’re also planning to help and raise fund you may also visit the site.

    Thank you! May we help many people through this. 🙂

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