Boston 3-Day Wrap Up

Success! The Susan G. Komen Boston 3-Day started off on Friday morning with a soaking rain that had us all huddled down under the tents.  The rousing stretching routine and Dr. Sheri’s inspirational pump-up got everyone moving, and then the survivors led the walkers out onto the streets. (See photographs from the Boston 3-Day here.)

Susan G. Komen walker gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.

A walker pushes on through the weather on Day 1 of the Boston 3-Day.

Spirits were high as ponchos and jackets remained on through the town of Wellesley and were gradually taken off before a replenishing lunch and tackling the hills before reaching camp. I loved seeing the new friendships that cropped up along the route that morning, friendships that lasted over the next two days and likely far into the future. After a good meal, the evening program of slideshows, local dancers, and messages and prizes from sponsors Bank of America and New Balance topped off a long day.

Susan G. Komen walker gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.

Day 2 started off on a high note with walkers almost bursting out of the gate in the morning, encouraged by the sunshine and music. Private homes and past years’ walkers dotted the route, and the walkers loved the extra support and encouragement. Chilled fruit was certainly the favorite of many of the walkers! The afternoon on Day 2 brought increasing temperatures and a scramble for water and gatorade to keep everyone healthy and moving. Great job, Crew!

What an Saturday evening program! Besides laughing like crazy at the money challenges from Bank of America, we were all in tears at the stories of the Youth Corps members who really reminded us why we are all out here: touching stories from children who have lost loved ones to breast cancer and who are making a difference. There were special recognitions to cancer survivors, to the men who were walking, to long-time walkers and to top fundraisers.

Walkers enjoy the swan boats at Boston Commons on the Boston 3-Day.

Walkers enjoy the swan boats at Boston Commons on the Boston 3-Day.

Saturday was the final push into the city and to the Closing Ceremony, where friends and family were waiting to welcome the walkers from their 60-mile journey. Blisters and sore legs and feet were taking their toll on the group, but valiant walkers picked up the pink banners “My Sister” “My Mother” “My Partner” “LOVE” and walked on, encouraged by rousing cheering stations, the swan boats in Boston Commons, and a lunch by the Harbor. Only a short way, now, and the walkers entered the crowd of cheering supporters. What a reception!

Walkers enter the finish triumphantly of the Susan G. Komen  Boston 3-Day®

Walkers triumphantly enter the finish of the Susan G. Komen Boston 3-Day

Hugs and tears transformed into a massive line of walkers who marched six across triumphantly into the Closing Ceremony and held a shoe above their heads in honor of the walkers who were cancer survivors. Everyone was quiet as they raised the flag on another Boston 3-Day and rededicated themselves to finding a cure because everyone deserves a lifetime®!

The Survivor's Circle watches the raising of the flag at Closing Ceremonies.

The Survivors’ Circle watches the raising of the flag at the Closing Ceremony.

“The General” Marches On

Gwen M. (aka "The General") smiles on Day 1 of the Boston 3-Day in 2013

Gwen M. (aka “The General”) smiles on Day 1 of the Boston 3-Day in 2013.

When the women said, “This is The General,” I had to ask. “Gwen here works as an access nurse at Mass General for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients” her friends responded. Gwen M, from Boston, has been working in a key position at The Gillette Center for Breast Cancer,  caring for women at a time when there are unanswered questions and an unknown future.

Gwen is surrounded by a solid group of wild women on the Susan G. Komen Boston 3-Day and by chance I was photographing in Cambridge on Day 3 at a cheering station when Gwen waltzed in. She immediately pulled Nancy P. (an original member of their team “Wild Women Originals” and cancer survivor) out of her wheelchair and waltzed with her!

Gwen M. (aka “The General”) dances with close friend, cancer survivor, and original member of “Wild Women Originals” Nancy P. on the Boston 3-Day 2013.

Thank you Gwen for your inspiration, warm smile and dedication!

Crafting the Perfect Fundraising Letter

Each summer, I eagerly anticipate the announcement of the next year’s 3-Day event series schedule. When the 2014 3-Day schedule was posted today, I was happy to see that the 2014 San Diego 3-Day will take place on the same weekend in November that I have come to love. My 2013 event is 109 days away and I am ready to start fundraising for 2014!

As a 3-Day coach, I hear from participants who tell me they don’t know what to say in their fundraising letter. My response is always, “Tell me why you became a 3-Day walker.” It‘s amazing how easily the words then flow. Inspired, tearful or celebratory, I love hearing what motivated them, and after listening to their story, I tell the walker, “Congratulations. You just wrote your fundraising letter!”

One walker who needs no help writing his fundraising letter is Burt Lipshie. Burt started his 3-Day journey in 2004 in San Diego and has not stopped walking since! Burt completed his 15th 3-Day in Boston this past weekend, and is preparing for his 16th and 17th 3-Day journeys in Chicago and Dallas. I asked him to share the secrets of his fundraising success. Continue reading