MD Anderson’s Nov. 7 virtual Boot Walk to End Cancer® raised more than $955,000. Corporate sponsors, including presenting sponsor LyondellBasell, were joined by individual and team fundraisers and volunteers, and together they helped make the fifth annual event a huge success. The event has raised more than $7.4 million since its inception in 2016.
In an effort to keep patients, families and communities safe from COVID-19, the event turned to a virtual format this year. Participants were able to choose their own route in a location of their choice. More than 2,200 registered participants gave cancer the boot together, while apart.
A personal commitment to Making Cancer History®
Boot Walk chairs, Lourdes Hernandez and Randy Hulet, know that cancer doesn’t stop, even amidst a pandemic. They embraced the virtual format to help make the event special for participants during a challenging year.
"It was enormously gratifying to us that the unprecedented uncertainty and challenges of this past year were more than met by the certainty and enormous energy and passion of cancer fighters everywhere. By having to go virtual this year, Boot Walk achieved increased participation from cancer warriors everywhere — Texas, the U.S. and the world,” say Randy and Lourdes. “Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all these committed participants who, together, reached Boot Walk’s highest per capita fundraising level ever, and our sponsors whose support helps to make all this possible.”
The virtual format allowed the Boot Walk to reach an audience that might not otherwise have been able to participate. This year’s walk paved the way for people, and their four-legged companions, to participate from across the globe. Participants joined in the walk from more than 40 states, and 20 countries. The furthest participant walked in Paris, France.
MD Anderson’s Boot Walk team planned a series of virtual webinars and interactive activities to encourage participation in the weeks leading up to the event. The Walk Wednesday Webinar series — five 45-minute sessions — gave participants the opportunity to hear from MD Anderson experts on a variety of subjects including research, education, prevention and patient care. You can listen to the recorded webinars here.
The Boot Walk app played a major role in the event this year. Participants were encouraged to become Mission Champions by earning badges in the app by completing a variety of challenges such as walking three days in honor of the one in three people diagnosed with cancer. The week prior to the Boot Walk, cancer strikethroughs were chalked in various locations throughout Houston. Participants were encouraged to visit and take a selfie in front of the many strikethroughs in preparation for event day.
Event day kicked off with a virtual opening ceremony showcasing the many reasons why participants gave cancer the boot this year. George Lindsey emceed the virtual video, which featured appearances from Houston Dash and Houston Dynamo players, Megan Oyster and Christian Ramirez; Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson; and the Champion Sisters, who sang the national anthem.
Individual fundraisers who raised $5,000 or more received hand-delivered “walk-in-a-box” goodies to thank them for their support of MD Anderson’s mission to #EndCancer.
Jie Willey, a research nurse manager in Breast Medical Oncology, walked to honor 18 friends and family members currently battling cancer. Willey, a top individual fundraiser, also is captain of the IBC Wranglers, a team that has been among the top fundraisers since 2016.
"We walked four miles," said Willey. "It was an honor to remember those who have left us because of cancer and to support our friends and family who are currently undergoing treatment."
As in years past, the top 10 individual fundraisers and the top 10 fundraising teams will receive one-of-a-kind Boot Awards. These magical pieces are designed by artists from Texas and beyond. 100% of the funds raised from the Boot Walk support research, education and prevention programs at MD Anderson.
Plans are already underway for the 2021 Boot Walk to End Cancer. Visit the Boot Walk website for the most up-to-date information about the 6th annual walk.