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NEW YORK - Delta’s annual “Breast Cancer One” employee survivor flight takes wing today, kicking off the airline’s month-long campaign to generate awareness and raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This year marks Delta’s 11th annual survivor flight, which will carry more than 140 employee breast cancer survivors on board Delta’s newly painted pink plane on the flight’s first international route from New York City to Mexico City.

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“As Delta continues to focus on expansion in Latin America and the Caribbean, we are proud to showcase on a global scale, our commitment to finding a cure,” said Sandy Gordon, Vice President – In-Flight Service. “Delta employees across the globe are united in their passion and support for BCRF and its critical mission of finding a cure for breast cancer and we are grateful to our employees and customers for their continued support.”

The employee survivors, along with Delta leaders and BCRF executives, will be celebrated and honored during a gatehouse event in New York and a hangar event in Mexico. Colleagues from Delta’s partner airline Aeroméxico will also take part, showcasing the international scope of the fight against breast cancer. 

For the second year in a row, select Delta customers who are breast cancer survivors or currently fighting the disease and their guests will also join the flight. Customers were encouraged to share stories of the person who provided tireless support during their journey through the airline’s Unsung Hero social media contest. As a result, two customers and their unsung heroes were chosen to join Delta employees on this year’s flight.

In addition to the Unsung Hero contest, Delta also held a SkyMiles Experiences online auction, in which three customers donated a total of 263,071 miles, which will go directly to BCRF and its efforts. The three customers, along with their guests, will also be a part of the flight, totaling 10 total customers on board. 

In Mexico, survivors will be treated to an overnight stay which will include dinner and a meet-and-greet with Dr. Sofia Merajver, one of BCRF’s world-renowned researchers. Nearly 80 percent of the Delta employees involved are first-time participants. 

Since 2005, Delta employees, customers and their friends and family members have raised more than $9.2 million for BCRF, including last year’s efforts of $1.3 million. The collective contributions have also funded the vital work of 37 different research projects over the years.

To further raise awareness and support for breast cancer research, Delta employees will wear pink uniforms and sell pink products, including pink lemonade and pink headsets, on board and in Delta Sky Clubs throughout the month of October. Proceeds from the airline's pink products will benefit BCRF.

Related: CEO Richard Anderson writes about Delta's breast cancer campaign.