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Walks Raise Money, and Hopes, in Fight Against Breast Cancer

Also this week: Latin music star Shakira and a question from Iran about actor Marlon Brando. Transcript of radio broadcast:


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.


I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We answer a question about American actor Marlon Brando …

Play some music from Shakira …

And report about walking to defeat a deadly disease.

Breast Cancer Walks

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. However, Americans work throughout the year to help defeat this deadly disease. One popular way many people help raise money for breast cancer research is to take part in organized walks. Shirley Griffith explains.


Large groups of people gather in cities at different times of the year. Each person who walks represents money given by others to help defeat breast cancer. One of these walks is the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Officials say the organization has provided more than four hundred million dollars in fifty countries around the world. The money is used to improve treatment for breast cancer and find a cure.

Avon Breast Cancer Walks are more than sixty-two kilometers and take place over two days. Breast cancer survivors take part in the walks. So do their families and friends, and family members of those who have died of the disease.

Lynn Graham of New Castle, Colorado is one breast cancer survivor who took part in an Avon walk this year. The sixty-two year old grandmother joined more than two thousand others to walk in San Francisco, California, in July.

Each of the walkers raised at least one thousand eight hundred dollars for breast cancer research and treatment. Miz Graham says she prepared by joining a health club and walking long distances three or four days a week. She called the walk the best emotional and spiritual experience ever.

Another breast cancer walker who shares this feeling is thirty-four year old Kiley McMichael of Blacksburg, Virginia. She took part in the three-day ninety-six kilometer walk organized by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Each person taking part raised at least two thousand two hundred dollars for breast cancer research and treatment. Miz McMichael walked in Boston, Massachusetts, in August with about two thousand others. She took part in the walk because of personal connections to survivors as well as women who died of breast cancer.

Both women say the walk was difficult. But it was filled with joy because they were linking with others working for a common purpose. And they both plan to do another breast cancer walk next year.

Marlon Brando


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Iran. Mansour Karami asks about American actor Marlon Brando.

Many critics say Marlon Brando was the greatest actor of all time. Many actors say he was a great influence on them.

Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska in nineteen twenty-four. His mother acted in the local theater. She and her husband had an unhappy marriage, and Marlon and his father did not have a good relationship.

Marlon Brando was an unhappy child. He was always getting into trouble in school and was expelled from one of them. He moved to New York City at the age of nineteen and studied acting. Soon, he was appearing in stage plays. His first major part came in nineteen forty-seven, when he acted the lead in Tennessee Williams’ play, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” His fame grew when he acted the same part in the movie, released in nineteen fifty-one.

Marlon Brando was nominated for an Academy Award for that movie, and for his next two movies as well. But he did not win the Oscar until nineteen fifty-four. He received the award for the movie “On The Waterfront.” Many critics consider his work as failed boxer Terry Malloy his finest performance. Here, Malloy expresses his regrets about losing fights on purpose so his brother could win money betting on them.

"You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody instead of a bum which is what I am. Let’s face it.”

Marlon Brando acted in about forty movies and was nominated for eight Academy Awards. He won his second Oscar for his work in the movie “The Godfather” in nineteen seventy-two. He played Vito Corleone, the powerful head of a criminal organization in New York.

Brando was active in the civil rights movement and protested the way Native Americans were shown in movies.

Marlon Brando died in two thousand four. He was eighty years old. Many famous actors expressed their sadness at his death. One of them said simply: “He was the best.”


The United States is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. Each year, the nation honors the work and influence of Hispanic Americans. Shakira is a very popular singer who was born in Colombia. Her sexy and energetic songs have become hits all over the world. Mario Ritter tells us more.


That was “Ciega, Sordomuda” from Shakira’s nineteen ninety-eight Spanish language album. She sings about being deaf, blind and stupid with love for someone.

Shakira was born in nineteen seventy-seven to a Columbian mother and Lebanese-American father. She made her first album when she was a teenager. Her strong voice and creative songs soon made her a big star.

In two thousand one, Shakira decided to start singing in English. Here is “Wherever Whenever” from her two thousand one album called “Laundry Service.” This song became an international hit and the record sold millions of copies.


Shakira is known as a hard-working woman with great artistic control over her career. She has won many Grammys and Latin Grammys. In fact, this year she has five Latin Grammy nominations, more than any other nominee. Shakira writes, sings, and produces her own songs. She even creates ideas for her own music videos and helps direct and edit them.

Shakira is also a skillful performer. She sings and dances around the stage. Imagine her singing and dancing to “Hips Don’t Lie” with the singer Wyclef Jean. This song is about making your body move to the music. So, start dancing!



I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. Our show was written by Dana Demange and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site,

Send your questions about American life to Please include your full name and mailing address. Or write to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., 20237, U.S.A. Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.