Some of the highlights of the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day must include great weather, exciting community support and a great group of veteran and first-time walkers. The weather wasn’t too bad, either, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s during the day. The Opening Ceremony was a combination of some excellent Zumba, a beautiful sunrise behind Dr. Sheri’s welcome, and a wonderful group of flag bearers and breast cancer survivors.
No one can deny the strong community support for the cause. Private cheering stations dotted the route each day, with a special welcome in the town of Plymouth on Saturday. Not only is the square packed with people cheering on the walkers, but the community continues to dye the town fountain a very appropriate color of pink! From firefighters on Saturday to hundreds of local cheerleading squads on Sunday, the community came out with their full support of the fight to end breast cancer.
The Milestone Award was given to Barry Blauer at the Camp Show on Friday evening. Barry continues to be a driving force in the campaign to end breast cancer and has shown it with a commitment of over ten years and individual fundraising efforts that top $141,000! We can’t thank Barry enough for his commitment to the 3-Day family and for his large part in helping Komen fund its mission to end breast cancer.
As a photographer and writer along with the 3-Day® this year, I was once again moved by the sheer number of extraordinary stories among the participants from personal tragedy-turned-miracle to those who had just lost a mother to cancer. Each person had a profoundly touching story. A boyfriend pushed a participant 60 miles, after she had obtained her funding, but then tragically had broken her foot, which was in a cast. Without the need for notoriety, he silently moved over the course as attention was often diverted to his girlfriend’s cast. I noticed him stand silently beside, attentive but clearly not interested in the limelight. I saw them multiple times each day, with his limp worsening slowly in one knee. He wore sunglasses and a hat. He rarely spoke. I still do not know his name.
Somehow I felt he was the story of every walker who might never be “known” or tell their story to a large audience. Perhaps I didn’t ask his name because I wanted him to remain the universal walker, one who endured all without recognition. I think that’s who he is.
As the Closing Ceremony commenced, the participants gave tribute to breast cancer survivors without the need for a cue. On one knee and with a shoe held high, the Survivors’ Circle gathered in the middle of the Ceremony and later raised the flag, symbolizing the commitment to find a cure for breast cancer. What an event and what a success. Those who raised money including both the walkers and the crew of the 2013 Michigan 3-Day gathered a staggering $2.6 million. Thank you to all those who made this event in Michigan another wonderful success! See you next year!
MORE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 2013 MICHIGAN 3-DAY