“At Mile 1, I Found My BFF”

When a submission email for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® blog came in from Lisa C., I was immediately hooked by her subject line: “At Mile 1, I found my BFF.” Lisa, who is walking in the Komen 3-Day this year in San Diego, wrote, “I love surfing around on the 3-Day® website and have been inspired by the banners that read such things as: At Mile 20, I Found My Commitment; At Mile 34, I Found My Inspiration; At Mile 60, I Found My Strength, etc. This got me to thinking about what I found along the miles of my own 3-Day journey. The first thing that came to mind was: At Mile 1, I Found My BFF.”

In 2011, a friend approached Lisa about participating in the 3-Day and she agreed without hesitation. “I immediately said yes, [but not] because I knew anyone with breast cancer. I said yes because I love a challenge. I signed up right away.”

The friend who had recruited Lisa ultimately decided not to walk, but that didn’t stop Lisa from charging forward. “I threw myself into fundraising and training. I was a constant visitor to the Connections [Message Board] for the Twin Cities 3-Day. I was asking questions left and right and receiving responses. Finally, someone asked if I wanted to join Team Girlapalooza. It turns out that there were several lone walkers joining this team for various reasons that year.”

Team Girlapalooza met up early on Day 1 of the Twin Cities 3-Day, and after the Opening Ceremony, they started walking together. That’s where Lisa met a fellow Palooza, Marli.

Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk team girlapalooza friends

Lisa and Marli

Lisa describes their first meeting: “Have you ever met someone and it seems like you knew them forever? That’s how it was for me [and Marli]. Within the first mile, we found ourselves walking side-by-side, at the same pace. We began chatting.” They learned about each other’s lives, jobs, homes and families as they walked. Nothing like 60 miles to allow you to cover every topic under the sun!

Lisa also learned that Marli is quite camera-happy. “She was constantly stopping to take pictures of or with various landmarks, sunrises, sunsets, pit stops, fellow walkers, crew and safety personnel. By the end of the walk, I just had to hold out my hand for her camera. I just knew when she wanted a picture. She taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey, which was great because I am the type of person who would have put my head down and just plowed through.”

By Day 3, Lisa and Marli were as tight as could be, and were saddened to have to part ways (Lisa would head back to Wisconsin, Marli would be going home to Arizona). They agreed to walk the following year in Washington, D.C.—the home of Team Girlapalooza. “We kept in touch with each other via Facebook and a year later we found ourselves in D.C. We met a few days early and got in some sightseeing (yes we walked about 20 miles before the 60-mile walk!). During our trip we laughed at the same things, finished each other’s sentences and tripped over the same cracks in the sidewalk. We often found ourselves saying things like ‘I was just going to say that’ or ‘I was just thinking that!’” Lisa says they got so involved with talking and catching up that they missed seeing the White House and had to double back to take pictures.

It was around that time that Lisa found out about a friend’s breast cancer diagnosis. “I no longer was walking for myself but to honor Nancy’s struggle and determination to beat this disease. Knowing someone with breast cancer has made me much more aware of the struggles of others.”

Lisa and her 3-Day bestie Marli met again for the 2013 3-Day in Seattle but sadly, Lisa was unable to walk because of a broken foot. “I felt like I had failed. Marli was there to support me the entire time. She convinced me that I wasn’t quitting. I posted online that you know you are a 3-Dayer when you are laying in a hotel room on a comfy bed eating pizza but you really want to be eating mac and cheese and sleeping on the ground in a pink tent.”

Lisa, Marli and other Girlapalooza teammates will be reuniting for the 3-Day in San Diego later this year, and they both look forward to reconnecting and continuing their adventure.

Lisa wrapped up her story with a final thought: “So, for all of you first time walkers out there, know this: the Susan G. Komen 3-Day will change you in ways you never imagined. At Mile 1, I met my BFF.”

 

What have you found on the miles of the 3-Day? Tell us in comments!

March 3-Day Meet-up Round-up

All across the land, our Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches are busy getting walkers and crew members prepared and pumped up. Take a peek at some of the meetings and training walks that brought our Komen 3-Day family face-to-face since last month!

Michigan – The continually nasty winter temps couldn’t keep our Michigan 3-Day participants from gathering at the end of February for a reunion/reception at the Novi Civic Center. Just look at those smiles!

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Seattle – 3-Day coach Aubrey shared, “My library overbooked the room I was supposed to have for my meeting. At the last second, Paula and Jon [Aubrey’s fellow Seattle coaches] helped me get in touch with the RSVPs. I had 4 RSVPs but ended up with 8 attendees at a restaurant around the corner. All but one were first-time walkers!”

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There was also a Seattle 3-Day Reunion at a local bowling alley, which brought in nearly 30 attendees. New friendships, good food and bowling? Sounds awesome.

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And this little cutie accompanied her mom to a Get Started Meeting. Aubrey said there were lots of great questions, laughs and inspiration, and called it her “greatest Get Started Meeting yet!”

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Atlanta – Our Atlanta training walk leaders are excited to hit the pavement with the new and veteran walkers. They met up last week to chat about this year’s training goals.

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Dallas/Fort Worth – Oh my gravy! The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day coaches and participants have been busy this month!

A small but mighty group of all new walkers gathered in Dallas.

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The Go Federal Credit Union team, Cure for the Coconuts, met for happy hour with 3-Day coach Gayla. They are all new walkers and are so excited to get started. They’re already working on recruiting more of their co-workers to walk or volunteer in Dallas/Fort Worth in November.

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Another small yet strong Get Started Meeting began with only 3 attendees, but brought in a fourth who just happened to be passing by the room. Gayla shares, “She saw the video and was crying after.” Isn’t unexpected inspiration amazing?

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Team Z-Bra Girls is led by 9 year veteran walker Nina R., and in all their years of walking, they had never been to a Get Started Meeting. So Gayla met up with them at a Mexican restaurant to encourage more recruitment. They had a blast and captured this adorable picture.

Komen_3Day_dallas fort worth_z bra girls

Seventeen-year-old Katie H. is on her way! She’s on the Presbytittyans, walking with her friend Emilee W.  Katie is pictured at a Get Started Meeting in Frisco with her mom, a nurse who is thinking about joining the Medical crew in Dallas.

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And finally, No Walker Left Behind captain, Mary T. hosted a Lunch & Learn at her home in Cedar Hill, where a great group joined to get even more inspired about walking.

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San Diego – The San Diego 3-Day community has taken advantage of its year-round sunny skies and started training. Coach Kim and an incredible 23 walkers completed a 3.85-mile Walk & Talk. Way to go, San Diego!

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Have you and your teammates been meeting up to plan, train or fundraise for the 3-Day? Send us your stories and pictures, or post them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (don’t forget to tag #The3Day). And if you’re looking for an official 3-Day meet-up in your area, click here to find our calendar of local events.

There Are No Words…

On the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, breast cancer survivors are always close to our hearts and bright in our thoughts. They are reminders of the great strength and courage that can grow out of horrible adversity, and they are proof that what we are doing matters.

Every survivor has a story and I was inspired to learn about Krissie, a 6-time walker, and 6-time cancer survivor.

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“I was first diagnosed with sarcoma cancer of the abdominal wall at the age of 15. I had several recurrences over the next few years and was finally cancer-free at 19.”

Krissie got married, had kids and thought that cancer was far in her rearview. Being a survivor, she was passionate about doing something that mattered. She saw a commercial for the Komen 3-Day in January of 2008 and thought, “That is exactly what I need to do. I thought, what an amazing event and it was my time to do something.”

But right around that time, while doing a self-exam, Krissie found a lump in her left breast. “I was 28 and we didn’t think the lump was anything to worry about until they got in there and discovered that it was cancer, and that it was in my lymph nodes as well. So they removed the lump along with a bunch of lymph nodes. At 28 I didn’t think I had to worry about breast cancer, especially with no family history. I started chemotherapy treatment and began the healing process.” Part of that healing came from the 3-Day.  “I had no idea that the 3-Day would become even more meaningful than I knew possible. I believe that everything happens for a reason and without this walk I would not be here.”

During her very first 3-Day in Chicago, Krissie met Lori and Kim. “We are all pretty fast walkers, and as we walked we started talking and talking and talking. We finished that walk that year and did not see each other until the next Chicago 3-Day, but when we did, it was immediately as if we had never been apart. That was the year that we realized that this was not just a ‘walk’ friendship but a lifelong friendship. We always say that something so horrible is what brought us so close, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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Lori, Kim and Krissie

I asked Krissie what advice she would give to new walkers. “The first time I walked, I was terrified that I would not finish. I was undergoing treatment at the time and had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that this walk would change my life forever. The walkers, the community and the amazing volunteers helped me finish my first walk with a new sense of strength and hope. My advice for first-time walkers would be to take it all in. Don’t miss a thing. It’s going to be a hard and tiring 3 days but it’s also going to be the most amazing 3 days of your life. Listen to the stories. Laugh with new friends. Cry with others. Enjoy every second and don’t rush through it!”

Krissie, Lori and Kim—or KLK, as their team is called—have walked together every year since 2008, and are traveling to the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day this November. “They have been there every step of the way. There was a year that I was not able to walk and those girls walked every mile for me. It was a gift that will stay with me forever.”

“There are no words for the support I have gotten from my family and friends. My husband has been my rock. He has seen more than any husband should. He has wiped my tears, held my hand and picked me up off the ground. I have been blessed to be surrounded by an amazing family who has supported me every step of the way. I have always said that I have no idea what it must be like on their side, the fear that they must have, but I continue to get strength and hope from them every day. They let me get mad and they let me cry. They make me smile when I don’t want to. My teammates show me the light at the end of the tunnel.  We will continue to walk together for as long as we can.”

I also asked Krissie what her relationship with other survivors has been like. “I have met so many amazing people along the way. I have heard stories that have given me the strength to go on, to keep fighting. Many I keep in contact with, and some I have lost along the way. There is a moment at the end of the walk when all the survivors are in their pink shirts and it’s as if we have all been there for each other the entire time. photo(37)

“You gain a new family.”

 

Make the Susan G. Komen 3-Day a part of your family. Visit The3Day.org for information.