2015 Atlanta 3-Day Wrap-up

The Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day has finished for another year, and we could not be more thankful for this amazing community and the memorable weekend we shared.

We gathered in the pre-dawn hours on Friday morning at Stone Mountain Park, a breathtaking backdrop as the sun rose just in time for us to begin the 3-Day journey. The incomparable Dr. Sheri was joined on stage by Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen®, as well as Tara, our local events coach in Atlanta, for a moving Opening Ceremony.IMG_2413 IMG_2375

Walkers set out onto the route, weaving the first few miles through the beautiful park. After a quick break at the pit stop 1, walkers exited the park and hit the streets and a cheering station in Old Historic Stone Mountain Village.IMG_2472IMG_2941 From there, walkers looped through the communities west of Atlanta, making their way toward the city. They passed through the quaint downtown Decatur area, where they were greeted with another cheering station and pit stop 2.IMG_2819 A longer break greeted the walkers at lunch, which was one big pajama party, and from there, the route passed through the eclectic neighborhood of Little Five Points. Crew teams at pit stops 3 and 4 kept walkers pumped up and fueled up in the afternoon.IMG_2784 IMG_3048 As they headed into the downtown Atlanta area, walkers passed by Centennial Olympic Park, built for visitors and spectators of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. Soon, they had arrived at camp at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Friday night’s camp show, hosted by Dr. Sheri and Chrissy, was emotional. We heard from the Greater Atlanta Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, who told us about the ways that the 3-Day helps fund programs in Atlanta. This was followed by moving speeches from Julie H., who talked about the realities of living with Stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer, and Karen, speaking on behalf of her friend and teammate Rachel who passed away from breast cancer about a month ago. We also recognized Atlanta’s top training walk leader and the Atlanta 3-Day Milestone Award winner.

On Day 2, walkers set out from camp and headed north for the day. Much of Day 2 was spent in the community of Buckhead, where walkers enjoyed the New Balance cheerleaders at a lovely tree-lined pit stop.IMG_2982 IMG_3105 Yes, there were hills a-plenty on Saturday, but the beautiful scenery and dazzling homes (including the Governor’s mansion) gave the walkers plenty to look at as they climbed. Numerous cheer stations along the way kept weary walkers motivated; a favorite was a grassy stop just before lunch with some lovable pooches who came out to support the walkers.IMG_3088 IMG_3181 The lunch stop was at the Greater Atlanta Komen Affiliate headquarters, complete with a pink-dyed fountain, and dozens of Komen Atlanta’s people came out to cheer the walkers in.IMG_3184 As they headed back toward camp, walkers passed by some of downtown Atlanta’s most popular tourist spots, including the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.IMG_3061

The camp show on Saturday night was a flurry of awards, as we recognized Atlanta’s top fundraisers and Local Impact Award winners. We heard a touching, and at times funny speech from Gerald, a 10-time walker who shared his story of being a co-survivor to his first two wives, both of whom passed from breast cancer. The Saturday camp show was topped off with some heart-touching messages from the Atlanta Youth Corps, who were the perfect inspirations to kick off the always popular Saturday dance party.

The amount of get-up-and-go at the start of Day 3 was incredible, especially from walkers who had already covered over 40 miles of their journey.IMG_3425 The route started out with a stroll and a pit stop on the beautiful Georgia Tech campus, and from there, walkers headed into Piedmont Park, one of Atlanta’s loveliest parks.IMG_3470 IMG_3536 The lunch stop was rocking once again, as walkers relaxed on the cool sunny day and crew members treated tehm to a non-stop dance-a-thon. A highlight of the afternoon was a walk past the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site before turning towards Turner Field, the site of our Atlanta 3-Day Closing Ceremony.IMG_3846

Walkers crossed the finish line at Turner Field, where hundreds of friends and family members waited to welcome them (and one special guy proposed to his gal as she crossed under the arch!).IMG_3864 IMG_3883 IMG_3925 The unbelievable energy that Atlanta walkers and crew members showed all weekend long seemed to be turned up even more at the Closing Ceremony, where Dr. Sheri, Chrissy and Tara congratulated this amazing Atlanta family on their extraordinary journey.IMG_4003 IMG_4082 IMG_4018 IMG_4300We thanked our marvelous supporters, sponsors and local jurisdictions who helped us along our 60-mile journey, and the whole place erupted with joy when Chrissy shared that a remarkable $2.2 million was raised by Atlanta’s 800 walkers and 275 crew members. The Atlanta 3-Day family danced it out one final time, and as the final flag of the 3-Day was raised, we remembered and repeated the promise we made way back on Friday morning: to never give up our fight until we have ended breast cancer forever.IMG_4176 IMG_4294

Want to see a sneak peek of photos from the Atlanta 3-Day? Click here, and don’t forget to watch Facebook later this week for a full album you can download, tag, and share!

Scenes From a 3-Day Lunch Stop

Today was Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Atlanta, and I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours near the entrance of the lunch spot, welcoming walkers in. The sun was shining, music was playing, and with my camera, I took in the sights.

The Day 1 lunch stop was one big pajama party! Their tagline: We’re dreaming of a cure. Awesome!IMG_2533

Early on, the walkers at the front of the pack trickled in a few at a time…IMG_2586IMG_2721 IMG_2712…but pretty  much everyone entered with the enthusiasm of people who had just conquered over 12 miles of Day 1.

Some were eager to document what they were seeing as they entered the lunch stop.


Perhaps they were impressed with these pajama-clad jammers, who danced a welcoming jig for every walker who came in. We’re talking hours of dancing, hugs and photos.IMG_2535 IMG_2536 IMG_2537 IMG_2538

Some walkers danced their way in too…IMG_2619 IMG_2624…and were rewarded with the warmest welcomes from the lunch medical crew.IMG_2617 IMG_2630Some families came out to reunite with their loved ones who were walking. This adorable little peanut and her baby cousin (along with their mommies) were there to see their dads, brothers who are walking in memory of their mom. IMG_2636IMG_2747While she waited for Daddy, this little darling hand-delivered candy to the other arriving walkers.IMG_2695 IMG_2696 IMG_2697Sweep vans rolled through from time to time, delivering walkers and raising spirits…IMG_2656…and of course, the lunch crew served up tasty food and drinks to their fellow 3-Dayers. IMG_2641Lunch is the perfect time for walkers to relax…IMG_2660…cool off in the shade…IMG_2679…catch up on social media and texts…IMG_2676…snap some pics of teammates…IMG_2674…stretch…IMG_2654…fix up their feet for the second half of the day…IMG_2681…or just enjoy a few minutes of quiet alone time.IMG_2744Some walkers captured special memories with our “I’m keeping the promise for…” photo banner and props. IMG_2652And some friends from other crew teams stopped by to eat and kick back (hi there, pit stop 1 pirates!).IMG_2671Oh, and remember those adorable girls? Their daddies finally made it to lunch, and it was the sweetest reunion we saw all day.IMG_2752 IMG_2759IMG_2766And of course, what 3-Day lunch stop would be complete without a spontaneous Youth Corps-led dance party?IMG_2801

What a lovely afternoon with the amazing Atlanta 3-Day family. Can’t wait to see everyone again tomorrow!

Congratulations to the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day Award Winners!

At the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day earlier this month, we were pleased to recognize some of our outstanding Komen 3-Day participants with special awards given out in camp.

Top Fundraisers

We recognized the top individual, crew and team fundraisers for the Philadelphia 3-Day® in camp on Friday.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners top fundraiser crewFor the second year in a row, Priscilla Rawlins (sweep team) was the top crew fundraiser in Philadelphia, raising $5,793 this year, and an incredible $60,075 over her seven years with the 3-Day. Priscilla is a member of Team Girlapalooza, which also got a special team recognition in camp for passing the $1 million in team fundraising this year (they’ve been a team since 2008). As for Priscilla, when she’s not participating and fundraising for the 3-Day, she coaches softball, loves Nationals baseball, and is obsessed with her FitBit.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners top fundraiser team breast friends of pennsylvania

Team captain Vivien (left)

The top fundraising team in Philadelphia was Breast Friends of Pennsylvania, which, with 79 team members was also the largest team on the Philly 3-Day this year. Team captain Vivian Vega-Schoch, along with her two 2016 co-captains, was recognized for the team’s amazing $145,619 fundraising total (though team members were quick to point out from the audience that they had actually surpassed $146,000 since we had last checked their fundraising total!). In their four years as a Philadelphia 3-Day team, Breast Friends of Pennsylvania has raised over $478,000.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners top fundraiserPhiladelphia’s top individual fundraiser was Riley Weston, a member of team Faith Girlz, who was participating in her fifth 3-Day this year in Philly. Riley raised a remarkable $22,553 this year, and over five 3-Day events, has raised a lifetime total of $86,555. Riley will proudly tell you that she believes that miracles exist, that fairy tales come true and that prayers can change outcomes, and Inside her petite frame beats a big heart, as she asked her Philly 3-Day family to send their own powerful healing thoughts to her best buddy, her dog Cleatus.

Heaps of thanks go out to all of the Philly 3-Day walkers, crew members and supporters who helped bring the Philadelphia 3-Day to $2.7 million in total donations.

Milestone Award

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners Milestone Award

Philly coach Joanne (left) presents Candice with the Milestone Award

In Friday’s camp show, we also honored the Philadelphia 3-Day Milestone Award winner. This award is given on each 3-Day event to one participant who has an extraordinary history of involvement with the 3-Day. Philly’s Milestone Award was given to Candice Kiss, from The Pink Angels.

Candice has been part of the 3-Day family for 9 years, and the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day marked her 14th event. During her time with the 3-Day, Candice has raised over $105,000, and in addition to the 3-Day this globe-trotting walker has also participated in Komen Race for the Cure® events in Egypt and Israel and the Marathon for the Cure® (half marathon) in Phoenix, AZ. But it’s not just breast cancer events that draw her to the far corners of the globe: a new-found interest in genealogy recently took Candice on an exploration of the Azores, an archipelago of 9 volcanic islands off the coast of Portugal. Wow!

But it’s Candice’s history with the 3-Day that earned her the Milestone Award. Her friend and coworker Elizabeth said, “Candice is the consummate business professional, extremely conscientious and dedicated. These traits extend to her personal activities as well. Her dedication to the Susan G. Komen® organization and breast cancer awareness is awe-inspiring, as each year brings a greater level of hard work and new activity. Her bright personality never wanes and offers hope to others around her. I consider myself lucky to be one of Candice’s friends.” Another friend and fellow walker Sharyn had this to say about Candice: “I’m so excited Candice will be recognized for her dedication and passion. I met her years ago, when she either volunteered or worked for the Komen Affiliate. Fast forward to our mutual friendship with Bridget [a friend who passed away in 2013] and that’s where her passion, and love for her really shined. She is a tireless fundraiser for this cause. She is quiet, unassuming and humble. She’s one you want in your corner.”

Congratulations, Candice, and thank you for your years of dedication to the 3-Day community. We’re sure glad we have you in our corner.

Local Impact Award

The Local Impact Award is a new award for 2015, and is being presented to a participant in each 3-Day city who has been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day in their community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees are participants who go above and beyond with things like leading training walks, attending local events, supporting the local 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference in their 3-Day community by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

On Saturday in camp, we presented the Philadelphia Local Impact Award to Joanne Faccenda. Joanne is the captain of J-Walkers for the Cure, and has participated as a walker and crew member in 19 events over her 10 years with the 3-Day, not only in Philadelphia, but also the Twin Cities, San Diego, Tampa, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Cleveland and Atlanta. She has raised a total of $23,645.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners local impact award

Joanne has been involved with the 3-Day since 2006, after she lost a friend who was only 40 years old to cancer. She quickly became a vocal 3-Day advocate and has been essential to leading many fundraisers over the years, including ones for new walkers she befriends simply to be a source of support. Joanne has been known to travel long distances to help her fellow 3-Day walkers, and her friend Dawn told us, “Joanne makes a huge impact on other 3-Day participants. She is very encouraging and a wealth of information to first time walkers.”

Joanne’s J-Walkers teammate Maria said, “She’s everyone’s teammate. If she’s walking, you’ll never walk alone. If not, she might be hanging out a window ready to help you into her decked out, very inviting sweep van.” Joanne’s friend Astrid agreed, saying “She is one of the most caring people I know. She always puts everyone in front of herself.”

Join us in congratulating and thanking Joanne for her extraordinary commitment to the Philadelphia 3-Day. And thanks, as always, to the entire Philadelphia 3-Day family for another spectacular year.