Congratulations to the Twin Cities 3-Day Top Fundraisers!

Today marked Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Twin Cities , and walkers and crew enjoyed Minnesota’s lush green landscape at scenic spots like the Lake Harriet band shell, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and B.H. Nelson Park.  Upon arrival at camp, participants enjoyed new camp elements that premiered last weekend in Michigan, like a make your own trail mix bar and cozy bean bags and foot rests. The 3-Day® camp show wrapped up a beautiful day, and our friends from Bank of America helped us recognize the top fundraisers for the Twin Cities 3-Day. Please join us in saying congratulations to these inspiring people!

Top Fundraising Team: Northern Nippys, $62,445 raised

This is the Northern Nippys’ sixth year at the 3-Day, and they’ve fundraised an incredible $184,195 total. Northern Nippys has 33 team members.

Northern Nippys Team Captain Laura

Northern Nippys Team Captain Laura

Top Crew fundraiser: Sharon Gruenhagen, $4,650 raised 

Hats off to Sharon Gruenhagen who raised $4,650; and has raised $21,963 lifetime total. This is Sharon’s  7th event as a crew member in Twin Cities.

Top Crew Fundraiser Sharon G.

Top Crew Fundraiser Sharon G.

Top Individual Fundraiser:  Patricia Miller, $14,000 raised 

Patricia Miller raised $14,000 this year; and has raised an astonishing $70,739 in the six years and six events she has completed. Patricia lost her mother to breast cancer 60 years ago when she was just 5 years old. She walks today because she wants to help others who fight this disease.

Top Individual Fundraiser Patricia M.

Top Individual Fundraiser Patricia M.

We’re so grateful to these amazing participants and for all of you who take steps every day to help us end breast cancer forever. To learn more about the top individual, Crew and team fundraisers in Twin Cities, as well as our eight series walkers, check out the framed table-top displays in the dining tent in camp.

Meet Mullet Pig: A Twin Cities 3-Day Celebrity

While you’re out on the route on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, you’ll meet all kinds of people; some first-timers with butterflies in their tummies, some seasoned veterans who approach 20 miles like a quick afternoon stroll. You’ll meet dedicated Crew members, who donate their time and talents in a multitude of ways, from remedying your blisters to keeping you safe and on track. You’ll meet members of the community, who come out adorned in every shade of pink, ready to hand you frozen grapes, a cold drink, a new button, or just to cheer you on. There’s no doubt that this wide variety of people, from every walk of life, is what makes the Komen 3-Day family so incredible. Today, I had the opportunity to meet “Mullet Pig”, or Dave P., a police officer from Wisconsin. Dave is somewhat of a local celebrity in Twin Cities; in fact, in the short time I spoke with him, he was approached for three selfies with participants.  Dave is on the Route Safety Crew for the sixth time this year and at his 7th 3-Day (he walked once as part of the 60 Mile Men team), and last year, he crewed in San Francisco and Twin Cities. Mullet Pig also has his own Facebook profile, and he loving calls his fans the “Bacon Nation.”

Mullet Pig poses for a photo after taking a selfie with a fan!

Mullet Pig poses for a photo after taking a selfie with a fan!

Though we can’t see his feet, Dave tells us about his “10 little piggies,” which are his polished toes wiggling to the beat of the music blasting at today’s lunch stop. Each toe is painted for the people in his life who have been affected by breast cancer. “I have 10 relatives that have been affected by breast cancer. Seven are survivors, and three are pink angels. My mother was a 32 year survivor who passed away two years ago. It’s hard to be sad about that, I got 32 more years with her… she owes her 32 years to research and the things that Komen does.” Dave’s grandmother was also diagnosed with breast cancer, and his sister is a survivor. Besides his deeply personal connection to the cause, what keeps him coming back year after year is the 3-Day community. “I’ve known so many people and you get to know everyone as the family. We’re a family.”

When people ask Mullet Pig why he does what he does, he says that he does it for the little boost he can give someone that just might make their day. Dave tells us about a participant he encountered last year who told him that every day, she had seen a sign from her father who had passed away. On the last day, she was a mile from finishing and hadn’t seen a sign that her dad was with her. She turned the corner, and there was Mullet Pig, loudly singing her dad’s favorite song. “That’s why I do what I do. I never know what I’m gonna do, and how it’s going to affect someone, so I just do my best to do something. I like to put a smile on people’s face.”

Pucker up!

Pucker Up!

Dave describes many other ways he gives people a boost — from the shockingly pink lipstick kiss mark he’ll place on your cheek, to walking the last mile with weary walkers who think that they just can’t go on. As Dave grooves to “Sexy Back,” I ask him how and why he chose the name Mullet Pig. In 2008, after a Crew Day, he and his wife went shopping to get some decorations. “I went by the dollar bin and saw something pink and pulled out this pig mask. I also grabbed a pink wig, and tied it to the end of the mask. I start wearing it, and all of a sudden people start calling me Pig Man. Everyone was calling me Pig Man. I didn’t like Pig Man, so I told this guy to think of another name. “Well, you’re a pig with a mullet,” he said. “Mullet pig! And that’s how mullet pig was born.”

As another loving fan from the Bacon Nation approaches Mullet Pig for a photo, I ask him if there’s anything else he’d like to add. With his trademark pig mask tucked behind one ear, he says, “We’ve come too far to quit. There are other people that can’t quit. We have to keep going. We do this for the survivors. For the ones that can’t walk. We’ve come this far. We have to keep going.” With the help of people like Mullet Pig, we will.

DSC_0034

Mullet Pig guiding participants to Opening Ceremony on Day 1 of the Twin Cities 3-Day

 

Dr. Sheri’s Michigan 3-Day Experience: Family Is What You Make It

The 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Series officially kicked off in Michigan August 15-17 and Michigan exploded with excitement, enthusiasm and commitment. We were graced with three days of beautiful weather, no liquid sunshine to speak of and a team of 375 volunteer crew members who gave untiringly of themselves to make this event a success. Nine hundred walkers showed up at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich., on Friday morning all smiles, their New Balances laced and stories of triumph ready to fuel our three-day journey.

Dr. Sheri welcoming home the last Michigan Walker on Friday, August 15

Dr. Sheri welcoming home the last Michigan Walker on Friday, August 15

On Day One, I saw a couple at the first cheering station who approached me while holding hands. I thanked them for walking and told them how adorable they looked and as they passed, they both looked back over their shoulder and yelled simultaneously, “We’re on our honeymoon!” At first I was amazed but then I remembered where I was – the Komen 3-Day! I’ve come to realize that just about anything good and pure is possible at the 3-Day. I later heard that another couple got engaged at one of the pit stops on the same day. Love was truly in the air.

My husband Dr. Donald rearranged his work schedule so he could join me during this event. On Sunday evening he looked at me with the biggest smile on his face and said, “I really love the 3-Day! I’ve never seen such purposeful commitment and dedication as I have repeatedly seen on every 3-Day I’ve attended.”

We are a family. There’s a famous quote that reads “Family is what you make it.” Together we have made a powerful stand in the fight to end breast cancer. We have proven ourselves strong, committed, determined and driven by a common goal. Whether made of blood relatives, friends or a combination of these, your family can offer you the support you need to thrive. Barbara Bush once said, “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” We were there for each other in Michigan and we will continue to embrace and carry each other throughout this upcoming season.