Out of a Wheelchair, Onto the 3-Day

Dr. Sheri awaits TJ as she marches to the Michigan 3-Day flagpole on Day 2, after being told many years ago that she would never walk again

Dr. Sheri awaits TJ as she marches to the Michigan 3-Day flagpole on Day 2, after being told many years ago that she would never walk again

Most individuals (even well-trained athletes) have a difficult time on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® if they have not trained by walking. Walking 60 miles over three days seems to bring out aches and pains that 3-Day® participants never knew existed. For TJ, walking had not been an option for five and a half years! Eight years ago, her health deteriorated rapidly, leaving her in a wheelchair and having doctors tell her that she would likely never walk again.

Last night, she walked unaided into camp.

That was after walking twenty miles yesterday, without help, and that was after twenty miles on Friday. It’s safe to say that TJ refused to believe anyone else, and in 2011, she completed the Michigan 3-Day in a wheelchair. “Even people close to me were saying, ‘You don’t have to do this!'” TJ explained last night. “I had to do it. In 2012, I did the whole Michigan 3-Day with a walker.” Thanksgiving 2012 was the first day that she managed an entire day without a walker. Her next goal? The 2013 Michigan 3-Day with no help.

TJ raises the flag "We Will Never Give Up" as the Michigan 3-Day walkers and crew cheer

TJ raises the flag “We Will Never Give Up” as the Michigan 3-Day walkers and crew cheer

TJ has had three generations before her endure breast cancer, and the Michigan 3-Day has been a source of trial and strength where she combines her desire to help others through breast cancer research and awareness and her own challenges to walk again.

Amid the sea of clapping participants and tears, TJ hoisted the flag, “We Will Never Give Up,” accepted a standing ovation at dinner, and took her place among all those who have conquered. With confidence, she states, “All battles can be won.”

TJ rests at Pit 2 on the 2013 Michigan 3-Day

TJ rests at Pit 2 on the 2013 Michigan 3-Day

A Cure is Worth a Thousand Miles

Matthew Pickus, founder of the 60-Mile Men, will cross his 1000th mile today on the Michigan 3-Day in support of finding a cure for breast cancer

On Saturday, Day 2 of the 2013 Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day, Matthew Pickus will cross his 1000th mile in an effort to find a cure for breast cancer. Most veterans of the Komen 3-Day have heard of Matthew as the founder of the 60-Mile Men, a dedicated group of men who have raised a serious amount of money from their notorious calendars. They are also fierce participants as crew members and volunteers forming a strong core for the fight to end breast cancer.  I asked Matthew to provide his perspective on a few points of the 3-Day, on the day he crosses the 1000th mile in his personal journey.A thousand miles is a long way, does anything strike you about the journey as a whole?  Realizations?

Matthew on Day 1 of the 2013 Michigan 3-Day, displaying the infamous 60-Mile Men calendar and his "Mr. January" page

Matthew on Day 1 of the 2013 Michigan 3-Day, displaying the infamous 60-Mile Men calendar and his “Mr. January” page

“It’s been an incredible journey.  I have stories that will make one laugh or cry from every event I have been to. Every event, there are two or three people that will stay with me the rest of my life. The people I have met and shared the journey with are incredible. The 90-year old walker that completes all 60 miles like it was nothing; the walkers that battle blisters and heat and fatigue for miles at a time; the 35-year survivor that tells her story for the first time ever; every participant has a story and I’ve been honored to hear quite a few. (And for better or worse, I am sure that there are walkers from around the country that can include me in their 3-Day stories!)  I don’t walk the event as quickly as possible; just the opposite. It’s the people in the middle and back of the pack that I enjoy spending time with, just strolling the event, doing what I can to help others and enjoying the journey.  Sometimes just walking next to someone and listening to their stories it all they need to continue their journey. Conversation and laughter and even tears make the miles pass easier.”

What does the 3-Day® offer you and the community you’ve met along the way? (Besides you offering so much to other people?)

“The ‘bubble’ that is a 3-Day is very much how I wish the rest of the year would be, and how I try to live the rest of the year. Everyone is looking out for everyone else and sharing stories and laughing and even being open and vulnerable with each other. It is a magical time. If there is one take away–the 3-Day is the epitome of “it is the journey, not the destination.” Don’t rush it. Enjoy the time and even the hardships. Look around, meet people and talk and share and laugh and cry. The destination will be there when you get there.”

Hands together for Matthew today as he heads into camp for his dedication and extraordinary efforts in finding a cure for breast cancer!

Michigan 3-Day Top Fundraisers

We could not have ordered better weather for the Michigan 3-Day, which exploded onto the streets this morning at sunrise.  The walkers were cheered on by a strong contingent of local supporters, and a cool breeze eased over the camp during dinner.  At the Camp Show, our top fundraisers were announced!

Top Fundraising Team: Hines Pink Pathers, $131,023; Lena Cervantes (Captain)

Bank of America

Bank of America awards the Hines Pink Pathers via Co-Captain Lena Cervantes for their tremendous efforts

Top Fundraising Crew Member: Amy Nadeau, $12,165; Camp Services

Amy accepts a Bank of America recognition for Top Fundraiser

Amy Nadeau accepts a Bank of America recognition for Top Fundraising Crew Member

Top Individual Fundraiser: Jon Eaton, $26,444

Bank of America awards Jon Eaton for his efforts as Top Individual Fundraiser at the Michigan 3-Day

Bank of America awards Jon Eaton for his efforts as Top Individual Fundraiser at the Michigan 3-Day

These numbers are astounding, and we are inspired by all of the Komen 3-Day participants in their fundraising efforts! See you on Day 2 of the Michigan 3-Day!