Desert Cancer Foundation’s Sixth Annual Paint El Paseo Pink Walk, which draws hundreds to raise awareness and donations for free breast cancer screenings, will be held Oct. 13 at The Gardens on El Paseo. Individual and team registration sign-ups to raise money for breast cancer screenings and diagnostics for the uninsured and underinsured women in the Coachella Valley, can be made online today at www.firstgiving.com/desertcancerfoundation/paint-el-paseo-pink-2012

“We had more than 700 women, men, children and even dogs at last year’s event in which we raised about $50,000,” said Louise Fasana, executive director for Desert Cancer Foundation.  “We expect to see a larger turnout and hope to raise $150,000 this year.  To this end, Presenting Sponsor Desert Healthcare District is matching every donation, dollar for dollar, up to $75,000.  We are all so grateful.”

The Opening Ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk will step off immediately after.  Popular television personality Pattie Daly Caruso, a breast cancer survivor, will emcee the Paint El Paseo Pink Walk for the third consecutive year.

Palm Desert City Councilwoman Jan Harnik, a cervical cancer survivor and long time supporter of Desert Cancer Foundation, is the Honorary Chair of this year’s event.

“The Desert Cancer Foundation provides critical breast cancer screenings at no cost to women who cannot afford them,” Harnik explains. “It’s so important to take control of our health and have this done regularly. I have four daughters and have taught all of them how important this is.”

Presenting Sponsor is Desert Healthcare District, which is matching every donation, dollar for dollar.  Gold Sponsors, to date, are General Air Conditioning and Heating and the Inland Empire Susan G. Komen For the Cure.  Silver Sponsors include The Gardens on El Paseo, El Paseo Village,Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional Medical Center and Scott Burch Design of Indian Wells.  Additional sponsors are needed to reach this year’s financial goal.  For information about sponsorship, please call (760) 773-6554.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making the Sixth Annual Paint El Paseo Pink Walk more important than ever.  Low-income, uninsured women have limited or no options to obtain necessary screening mammography, plus additional diagnostics including ultrasounds, MRIs and biopsies.

“As we all know, early detection saves lives.  Everyone should have access to basic cancer prevention screening, like mammography,” shares Fasana.  “All donations to Paint El Paseo Pink go directly to paying for criticalbreast cancer screening and diagnostic services for people in the CoachellaValley community.  Last year, 448 women received free screenings, and a total of 633 diagnostic services were provided.  The total cost for these services, that Desert Cancer Foundation paid last year, was $157,241.  Leveraged through our strategic partnerships, this paid for health care that would typically cost $654,484 for the people of the Coachella Valley.”

The $20 per person registration fee includes a special limited edition Paint El Paseo Pink T-shirt. Join in the fun for a casual stroll down the stunning El Paseo!  Form a team with family, friends and even your dog.  Paint El Paseo. Pink bandanas for dogs are $10. Don’t forget to post your fundraising page link on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.  Send it to everyone and watch your donations grow.

About Desert Cancer Foundation:

Founded in 1994 with the mission of helping Coachella Valley families facing cancer, Desert Cancer Foundation’s primary role is to fund cancer diagnosis and treatment for residents who would otherwise be unable to access medical services due to financial limitations.

Desert Cancer Foundation has become an important partner in the local healthcare system.   Since 1995, Desert Cancer Foundation has helped local residents through its Patient Assistance Program by funding cancer-related medical treatment.  In 2005, Desert Cancer Foundation expanded its assistance programs to include funding breast cancer screening and diagnostic services for low-income, uninsured residents through the Suzanne Jackson Breast Cancer Fund.

To date, through its two programs, Desert Cancer Foundation has funded more than $45.4 million in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment at a cost of only $6.4 million.  Impressively, Desert Cancer Foundation has forged strategic partnerships with physicians, medical centers, imaging centers and other health care professionals who, sharing our vision and mission, provide state-of-the-art medical care at approximately one-sixth the current billable rate.

In 2011, Desert Cancer Foundation assisted 670 people through the Patient Assistance Program and the Suzanne Jackson Breast Cancer Fund and spent $565,199 on direct patient services.  The $565,199 covered $5,204,544 in actual health care (total billed medical charges).