Words to Encourage, Inspire and Motivate – A 3-Day Guest Blog

Today, we’d like to share a message from Lorraine H., Deputy Fire Chief for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and Susan G. Komen San Diego’s 2014 Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor.

susan g.  komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog lorraine survivor san diego fire departmentAs Susan G. Komen San Diego’s 2014 Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor for the Susan G. Komen San Diego Race for the Cure®on November 2, and a Susan G. Komen 3-Day walker, it is my goal to bring awareness to this disease. The critical message is that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In addition, as an African American woman, I am concerned with the disparity that exists in African American women diagnosed with breast cancer compared to other races. Breast cancer in African American women is the most common cancer and second leading cause of cancer deaths. Although incidence rates are lower in African American women, the mortality rate is 41% higher than their Caucasian counterparts. I commend the Susan G. Komen California Coalition for recognizing this and taking action in the form of an initiative to address the disparities at both the system and individual levels.

susan g.  komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog lorraine survivor san diego fire departmentHaving survived breast cancer, it is my responsibility to give back to the community. If I can use my voice, my face, my story, my experience to get the message out about the benefits of early detection through mammograms and screenings while providing information about the resources that are available through Komen, then I believe that I will be doing what I’ve been called to do.

I hope by sharing my story I will do three things:

  1. ENCOURAGE women to advocate for their health. Women that are due for a mammogram must get one. We’ve all heard excuses such as “I don’t have time” or “it hurts.” None of these excuses are acceptable and none of them are worth dying for.

    My cancer was found through a mammogram. I could not feel a lump. I went in for my annual mammogram and soon after I was asked to return to the office for a follow-up. The message said it was nothing to worry about, so I didn’t. I didn’t return for a follow up until several months later. Because I did not have a family history of breast cancer, I thought I was not at risk. Fact is, data reports that 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.

    When I finally did return for a follow-up mammogram, and after a subsequent ultrasound and biopsy, I was devastated to learn four days later that I had breast cancer.

    I want women to learn from my experience and not make the same mistakes.

  1. INSPIRE women by sharing my cancer journey. Four months before being diagnosed with breast cancer, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes runs in my family. Devastated by this diagnosis and not wanting to go on diabetes medication or insulin, I chose to go through a medically supervised weight loss program. Six weeks into the program and after losing 35 pounds, I was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout my surgery, treatment and beyond, I have managed to maintain the weight loss by following a healthy diet and strict daily exercise regimen. Because of the lifestyle I’ve chosen, I am proud to say that I am diabetes and cancer-free!
  2. MOTIVATE everyone regardless of the challenges or adversities you face, to focus on the positive and always try to do WHAT YOU CAN DO to BE THE BEST THAT YOU CAN BE every single day. Going through tough times builds inner strength and character. I have been a firefighter for 24 years and advanced through the ranks from firefighter to deputy chief. Those are significant accomplishments, by anyone’s standards, for an African American woman in a predominantly male profession. However, nothing compares to the accomplishment of surviving breast cancer.

    With the help of God, my doctors and my support network, I fought cancer and won. My mantra throughout my journey was “I will come out on the other end of this a better person.” I have, but I’m not done. It’s a continuous process and I choose to make the most out of every day.

My one-year cancer journey culminated by successfully finishing the 2013 Komen 3-Day in San Diego. It was seven months after my last chemotherapy treatment, and I was still suffering from some side effects. Despite that, nine amazing friends (fellow firefighters and friends) finished every step of the 60-mile journey by my side. Between team members and supporters we had more than 20 people rooting for us – as well as the entire San Diego community! We couldn’t have done it without them.

susan g.  komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog lorraine survivor san diego fire departmentThe feeling of accomplishment was amazing and giving back in such a bold way was even more rewarding than I could have ever expected. As I stepped into PETCO Park at the end of the walk, I was overwrought with emotion. It felt as though all of my suffering, physically and emotionally, was over and I could begin my life anew. I’ve always wanted to do the 3-Day but, like many others, the fundraising daunted me.

The entire group of 11 walkers raised the money through multiple FUNdraisers. I emphasize FUN because we really did have a good time raising money together. Our 3-Day team continues to grow this year and we all have people we are walking for.

This is a cause I truly believe in and as long as my legs can walk, this is how I will pay it forward. I knew I would do the 3-Day one day but nobody knew how soon and under what circumstances it would finally become my reality!

 

 

17 Reasons Why It’s Great to be a Guy on the 3-Day

It’s true that the majority of Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participants are women, but the Komen 3-Day is no “girls only” club. In fact, some of the most dedicated 3-Day® participants are men, and being a dude in our pink world has its advantages.

  1. You never have an issue fitting 3 days worth of stuff into a 35-pound bag.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day gear bag

  2. It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about boobs without getting slapped.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day

  3. If you offer a free foot rub, you’ll have a line of women begging you for one.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day foot rub

  4. There is nothing you could possibly do that would make you seem “unmanly.” Even this.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day flying boas

  5. Where else can you spend two nights sleeping next to hundreds of women and not get in trouble with your wife?susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day sleeping tents

  6. You never have to wait in line for the shower.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day shower

  7. You are the only ones who know what that “special sink” in the porta-potties is for.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day porta potty

  8. You can try out great new pick-up lines like, “Come to this pit stop often?” and “Know any good groin stretches?”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day pick up lines

  9. This.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day george and ladies

  10. Everyone wants to dance with you on Saturday night.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day dance

  11. Hours of conversation with women gives you priceless (and sometimes scary) insight into the female mind.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day conversations with women

  12. You’ve always wondered what it felt like to wear a bra, and the 3-Day is a safe place for you to explore.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day bra

  13. Dr. Sheri looks up to you. Literally.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day john shinar dr. sheri prentiss

  14. You can finally feel safe talking about your favorite Real Housewife without your buddies finding out.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day real housewife

  15. A photo of you on the 3-Day will look great on your online dating profile.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day online dating profile

  16. Chicks dig guys in pink.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day wear pink

  17. Breast cancer is a men’s issue too, and when a cure is found, you’ll know you were part of it.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day part of the cure

 

For help with this list, we got some very entertaining input and ideas from a few gentlemen who have seen it all on the 3-Day. Each of these fellas has walked the entire 3-Day series in a single year:

George N. (12 events in 2007)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day george nummer

Jim H. (14 events in 2011)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day jim hillmann

Glen D. (14 events in 2012)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day glen dekeyser

John S. (14 events in 2013)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day john shinar

Additional input came courtesy of 2012 walker Chris K.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk reasons why it's great to be a guy on the 3-Day chris king

Thanks for the ideas, guys!

Did we forget anything? Let us know in Comments!

The Return of 3-Day Mythbusters

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® is a big event with a big commitment. Through all of the steps of this incredible journey—from registering, to fundraising and training, to what to expect on the event itself—we have the Komen 3-Day coaches as well as our website and handbooks to help provide information and support. But with so much to learn about the 3-Day®, we know it’s not uncommon for some details to get lost or misconstrued along the way. In a blog post last year, we dished out the truth about some common misconceptions related to the Komen 3-Day, and today we’re back to address a few more of these misunderstandings in the latest edition of 3-Day® Mythbusters.

Myth: Cell phones are not permitted on the 3-Day. It’s 2014, and we’d be pretty out of touch if this myth were true. You most certainly can have and use your mobile phone throughout the 3-Day—to take photos or video, to update your Facebook and Twitter or to touch base with teammates who are on other parts of the route. We even have phone charging stations at camp. You just aren’t allowed to use your phone while you’re walking. When in motion, your focus needs to be on the road and other walkers around you, in order for you and them to stay safe. So if you need to snap a pic of the amazing scenery and Instagram it right away, just step off the route and stop, then stash your phone in your pack and carry on when you’re done. That way, you won’t inadvertently cause a 10-walker pile-up on the route!

Komen_3-Day_SocialMedia_CameraPhone_mythbusters

Myth: You’re not allowed to listen to music while walking. Back in the day, if you wanted to listen to music while you walked, your only options were to cover your ears with headphones or carry around a boombox for your beats. The 3-Day’s policy has always prohibited headphones/earbuds, simply for safety reasons – if you can’t hear what’s around you, you increase your risk of running into an obstacle or another walker. Now, however, most mobile phones can play music through built-in speakers, or can be connected to compact external speakers that are easily clipped to a walking pack. Let’s be honest: music can be a great motivator to get you through the miles, so if you can fire up your playlist without covering or plugging your ears, as long as the lyrics and volume of your tunes are not offensive to the people around you, groove away!

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk music

Myth: You must walk the entire 3 days, or nothing. The 3-Day is just that: a three-day long event, and to get the most out of it, you should certainly plan to be there from early Friday morning all the way through until after the Closing Ceremony on Sunday. But we get it, sometimes things come up—a Friday work commitment, travel conflicts, a Saturday wedding—and a walker may have to miss part of the weekend. That’s fine! We’ve even had two walkers leave during the middle of Day 2 to get married to each other, and then come back for Day 3. If you raise all your money, you are welcome to be there for the parts of the event that you can, and miss parts if you have to. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but it’s important to know that missing a few hours here or there shouldn’t hold you back from doing the 3-Day. (Note that the rules for Crew are a little different: because crew members have a designated job on the 3-Day, they are required to be on the event for all 3 days, plus the All-Crew Kick-Off on Thursday.)

Myth: The crew gets paid to work on the 3-Day events. The 3-Day does have a small paid staff who manages the events, but the majority of the on-event work—setting up camp, running the pit stops, serving food, keeping the route safe—is done by the all-volunteer crew. These amazing folks (usually around 300 people per event) commit their time and energy to making the 3-Day great, and are paid only in the smiles, high fives and heartfelt thanks of their fellow participants.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk crew route marking volunteer

Myth: Joining the Crew is an “easy” alternative to walking. Sometimes we hear people say, “Walking 60 miles is too hard, so I’ll just crew instead.” Those folks are in for a big surprise when they find out that being a crew member is equally—or more—challenging than walking. Crew members are the first people awake in the morning and the last ones to bed at night, and are often pushed to great physical demands (long periods on their feet and heavy lifting, for example) over the course of the event. So if you do not want to walk, but are still able to give 100% of your energy to the 3-Day in a different way, then the 3-Day Crew may be a good fit for you.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk crew volunteer pit stop

Myth: The 3-Day only serves junk food. Keeping walkers well fed and hydrated is an important health objective on the 3-Day. After all, your bodies are working hard with all that walking, burning an average of 100 calories per mile. Feeding hundreds of participants across 60 miles requires logistical efficiency, so packaged snacks like chips, peanuts, granola bars and yes, those delicious PB&J grahams make sense. But you can always find healthy, fresh options to eat too. At pit stops, you can feast on things like bananas and oranges, carrots and string cheese. Breakfast and dinner are hot meals served in camp, and include salads, fresh fruit, and protein.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk healthy snacks food

 

We hope this clears things up! If there are any other aspects of the 3-Day that you’re just not sure about, your best bet is always to call the coaches at 800-996-3DAY, or refer to your Fundraising, Training and Event Prep Handbooks on your Participant Center.

Are there any other myths that you’d like to see busted? Tell us in the comments!