3-Day Blog Throwback – The Insider’s Guide

Hi there readers!

Erin D. here. In addition to being the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®’s head blogger, social media mover and shaker, and occasional event staffer, I’m also a 15-time veteran Komen 3-Day walker.

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles social media insider's guide

Alysssa, Jenn and me – the 3-Day social media team in action!

A year ago, we ran a series of posts on the 3-Day blog called the “Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day.” The posts were written by yours truly, as a way to share my experiences on the 3-Day®, from Opening to Closing. The series was meant to serve as a way for people to get a look at various aspects of the event from the perspective of someone who has been there many times.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Insider’s Guide series, particularly if you’re new to the 3-Day, we encourage you to click back through the posts.

The Start of Something Beautiful

Pointing, Pacing, and… Motorcycles Wearing Lingerie

Pit Stops and Cheering and Sweeps, Oh My!

3-Day Camp: Just Like a Sleepover, Only More Pink

3-Day Camp: I love the Night Life

3-Day Camp: Happy Glamping on Main Street

Over But Not Ending

I’m just one Insider, and I know that every single walker, crew member, volunteer and supporter experiences the 3-Day in a different way. We love hearing about your experiences and memories, so share them in comments or post them to the 3-Day’s Facebook page, tweet them @The3Day or tag #The3Day and #DoSomethingHuge in your Instagrams!

Cheers,

Erin

Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2014 – Part 2

Every one of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches has countless inspiring and moving interactions with our amazing Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members. I asked them to relive some of their most touching memories from the 2014 3-Day® season (see Part 1 of these favorite moments here).

Aubrey Cushing (Seattle Local Events Coach) – The 2014 3-Day season as a whole is one I will hold very close to my heart forever. The opportunity to be on staff in 5 of the 7 events lent me ample opportunities to interact with the world’s most caring bunch of people. I never forget how rare it is to be so enamored with the work you do, and what I get to do is one of my life’s treasures. Of course, it was wonderful to see all of the hard work come together for the Seattle event this year, and I’m still hearing about how much fun people had. That feels magnificent because it shows we were in tune with what people would like, and that’s priceless. The crew teams I got to work with were fantastic, but pit stop 2 in Dallas was the highlight of my staffing events outside of Seattle. I feel very blessed to have seen so much beauty in a world that can sometimes be full of negative things. In the words of Sinead O’Connor, 2014 3-Day season, “Nothing compares to you!”Aubrey_DFW

Jen Haber (Philadelphia Participant Coach) – The person who most inspired me this season was Janet D., who was our #2 fundraiser this year in Philly. Janet is 31 years old and was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in January of 2014. She spent the entire year in treatment and training/fundraising for the 3-Day. She walked with her sisters and best friends. When we spoke on the phone at one point in the season, she was telling me about the treatment she was going through and how (of course) it made training more of a challenge, she also made a point to tell me how much the 3-Day had been a huge source of inspiration for her. It made me feel so good that she was so focused on doing something positive while going through something so incredibly difficult. Since I wasn’t working at the Philly event, I’m so sad I didn’t get the chance to meet her in person but she and her team are signed up again for next year. Hooray!2015 personal page_Janet

Kim Collings (San Diego Local Events Coach) – A young first-time walker came to me during a Walk & Talk earlier in the year, almost in tears thinking there was no way she would ever be able to raise $2300. After a nice conversation about different fundraising ideas, she went home and tried a few different things that we chatted about. She ended up raising $5050! There was another special moment watching a mother and daughter at the Closing Ceremony. The daughter is stage 4 and it has metastasized in to her spine. The mother said in her ceremonies speech, “I am walking so my daughter can live.”

Jennifer Hanskat (Michigan Participant Coach) – One of my favorite moments came in Michigan where I finally got to meet all of the full-series walkers (the eight people who walked in every 3-Day event this year) for the first time and putting faces to the names.  I had been working with these amazing walkers over months of email and phone communication, and it was nice to meet everyone face-to-face.hanskat and series walkers

I worked at pit stops on the route for Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth, crewed with my mom and my aunt in Twin Cities (we’re three peas in a pod, and wherever we go and whatever we do, we have a blast), and walked in Philadelphia. Even though I hit my head after nasty spill on the rainy sidewalk in Philly, it was still one of my favorite events because I was walking with my husband.  For the majority of the weekend, it was just the two of us, walking and talking.  No big team, very few shenanigans (which is unusual for me!), just low-key time on the 3-Day with my hubby.

Molly Fast (Local Operations Director) – The moment that sticks out to me the most was from the Twin Cities 3-Day where I met Anna, a walker who turned 21 on the event and was walking with her sister Carley, in honor of their mother. Their mom was a longtime 3-Day participant who was home at the end stages of breast cancer. Anna and Carley’s mom passed away about an hour after they made it home from the Closing Ceremony. It was heartbreaking but so beautiful.

Stephanie Winkel (Twin Cities Local Events Coach) – I met Sandy at one of my very last Get Started Meetings of the season, just 3 months shy of the Twin Cities 3-Day. She was brand new to the 3-Day and she brought her husband along with her to see what the 3-Day was all about. It was at this meeting that I learned about Sandy’s inspiration for walking: her best friend’s daughter-in-law, Alison, a beautiful young woman, who at just 30 years old had begun the third year of her fierce and courageous battle with breast cancer.  The love and support of her two small children, husband, family, friends and community had been an inspiration for Sandy to witness. Though this family lived quite a distance away, Sandy felt the need to do something to show her love and support for not only this family but others currently battling breast cancer. After learning about the 3-Day, Sandy did go home and register.

I followed up with Sandy after our event to see how she enjoyed her first 3-Day. She replied, “The 3-Day experience was beyond my wildest dreams.  It was a ‘calling’ that I was compelled to take up, and was truly life-changing.  I needed to be a part of something that made a difference.  I definitely found that, and so much more. My reason for walking was to raise positive energy and funds that in combination would lead to a miracle for her and others.” I was thrilled to learn at this time that Alison, Sandy’s inspiration for walking, is now in remission and beginning to get back to life with her husband and two children. Sandy, in the meantime, will continue her efforts of bringing hope and healing to others by joining us again in 2015!

 

Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2014 – Part 1

Every one of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches has countless inspiring and moving interactions with our amazing Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members. I asked them to relive some of their most touching memories from the 2014 3-Day® season.

Gayla Cruikshank (Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach) – I am honored to know so many outstanding Susan G. Komen 3-Day walkers and crew who work literally all year long to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer while still taking care of their own careers and families. It’s a true privilege to be a part of an organization that helps so many people.

One of my greatest memories of 2014 is being backstage before Opening Ceremony with the survivors and the participants who carried memorial photos and honor flags. The energy and hugs were amazing! The stories and tears were emotional and inspiring, like Lisa L., walking in her memory of her daughter Sasha, who died at age 26.gayla backstage 2

I was inspired by 80-year-old Ralph M, who has walked for three years and has raised over $11,000. He recently asked me how he could help a friend who has been re-diagnosed with breast cancer and needed help. I sent him to the local Komen North Texas Affiliate and within a few hours they were able to connect her with a grantee who will assist her with her insurance and treatments. Even beyond his work with the 3-Day, Ralph is helping others daily.dfw ralph

I also had such a great time having my own family members on the event this year (my 16-year-old Codi participated with Young Women Walking, and my 23-year-old daughter Darcy and my mom, Doy, crewed the Ta-Ta Towing sweep van).

Paula Hultman (Seattle Participant Coach) – San Diego walker Lori B. registered for the 3-Day just weeks before the event. She is a survivor and first-time walker who was determined to do whatever it took to reach her fundraising goal and walk in her first 3-Day. Unfortunately, Lori’s dad passed away suddenly about 3 weeks before the 3-Day was to take place, and Lori’s attention immediately was redirected to her family. I spoke with her and told her to focus on her family, and suggested she postpone her 3-Day journey to 2015. Lori wouldn’t have it. She was more determined than ever to reach her fundraising goal and participate – for herself, and now in her father’s memory. And that’s exactly what she did! She called after her event and said the 3-Day was more amazing than she could have ever imagined.  Lori is my 2014 San Diego 3-Day hero – and she is already registered and fundraising for 2015!Lori Brown 2

Ann Love (Michigan Local Events Coach) – I think my most memorable moment was being backstage as the folks who were carrying memorial photos in Opening Ceremony saw the enlarged pictures of their loved ones for the first time. There were tears and smiles and hugs. All the memories, happy and sad, that those pictures brought out in the participants and then the support offered by their fellow participants as well as all the staff that was back there – it’s why I love the event. It’s not always easy, but there’s always someone to lift you up when you need it.

Eileen Barnick (Twin Cities Participant Coach) – There are so many great memories and I can’t remember them all now!  I do know that it changed over the course of the year. Every time I hit a highlight, there was another one right behind it! Some of them included: finally meeting in person the friends I had met over the phone during the course of the season; registering a very nervous “I am not sure I can fundraise” participant eight weeks before our event and then seeing her become the number two fundraiser; meeting participants on our event who told me I was the reason they were there; getting camp mail in San Diego from one of the full-series walkers, thanking me for what I do each day. There were also some moments that gave me goosebumps and broke my heart, such as hearing Ashley and Nicole tell their story on stage in the Twin Cities, and seeing one of our long time Twin Cities participants being pushed into Closing Ceremony in a wheelchair, knowing that her remaining days were short. She passed away in October.

And of course the biggest highlight was being on event in so many cities this year and seeing first-hand the amazing people who are making a difference in others’ lives every day.

Jon Lueders (Seattle Crew & Volunteer Coordinator) – We had a walker in Seattle named Dena who was celebrating the fact that she made it through Day 1 by literally jumping for joy at the finish line. But she landed wrong and hurt her knee to the point of being unable to walk the rest of the event. I was approached and asked if we could allow her husband to push Dena in a wheelchair the rest of the weekend. I of course was happy to oblige, to the joy and relief of both husband and wife.

As this was a happy yet fleeting moment, I was pleasantly surprised when I got to see Dena later in the event series. Even with her injury, she was determined to walk an entire 3-Day event this year, and got back to work rehabbing and training for the San Diego 3-Day. Unfortunately, her injury worsened, and was unable to walk once again. But this did not stop her from making the trip to San Diego to support her team. When I had the chance to speak with her, she said something to the effect of “Of course I was going to be here to support my team. They supported me when I was hurt in Seattle, I want to pay it back.” This, for me, just solidified the dedication we find on event. Not just the dedication to walk and raise funds, but the dedication each walker feels to their 3-Day family.