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2016 Lion Heart Walk New York City

Lion Heart is committed to finding a cure for breast cancer. Founded and led by Kathleen van Rijn, Lion Heart supports Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and the Yale Cancer Center by endowing breast cancer research grants.

Lion Heart conducts fund raising events throughout the year. Pictured above, the Lion Hearts, before the September, 2016 walk and team dinner.

The Connecticut Open Tennis Tournament (CTO) held in late August and led by tournament director and Lion Heart, Anne Worcester, fund raises for Lion Heart. Tennis greats ride the spin bikes for breast cancer. They and CTO sponsors generously support this effort. Raffles/auctions complete a tournament wide support of Lion Heart.

Lion Heart also raises funds by conducting Lap-a-Thons. These swimming events are held across southern Connecticut in October and January and are led by swim coaches, Martha Phelan, Jen Lyman and the SCC coaches and include 16 girls’ and 17 boys’ swimming/diving teams.

Lion Heart fields a team for Smilow’s Closer to Free Bike Ride. Captained by Anne Worcester this team rides and fund raises in early September.

Many Lion Hearts find their own innovative and creative ways to raise funds, establish fund raising teams and support Lion Heart. Calvin Campany, manager of designer clothing boutique, Vince, Newbury Street, Boston held an October fund raiser; Claire Criscuolo of Claire’s Corner Copia, New Haven, held a pink apron fund raiser. Amy Worcester Lanzi and the team of her advertising agency, tpnretail, made a great Lion Heart video which we and all who fund raise are now able to use. Many Lion Hearts fund raise on the website with their own stories and experiences.

In 2016, our Ten Year Anniversary, Lion Heart raised over $145,000 and since its inception, the team has raised nearly $700,000. Every dollar raised matters. There are no overhead or administrative costs incurred and all of our funding goes directly to the research beneficiaries of Lion Heart grants.

Lion Heart receives applications for research grants from Yale Cancer Center researchers looking for pilot funding to begin interesting new avenues of exploration. In December 2016, Lion Heart awarded its fifth series of research grants.


The funds raised by Lion Heart team members have the potential to aid breakthrough research and truly make a difference. Lion Heart’s goal is to help find a cure for breast cancer through its support of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven.