2014 Twin Cities Susan G. Komen 3-Day Wrap Up

This weekend, Twin Cities was filled with the power of pink as the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® passed through the many beautiful neighborhoods of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Though Friday morning started with gloomy skies, the brightness and enthusiasm couldn’t be dampened by the clouds. Dr. Sheri led us through a rallying and an inspiring Opening Ceremony at the Southdale Center in Edina, and from there, Komen 3-Day walkers began their magnificent journey and were soon welcomed to a New Orleans “Mardi Bras” themed pit stop at the beautiful Utley Park.IMG_9144

The Lake Harriet Band Shell was the first cheering station, and the Twin Cities Community came out in full force, complete with cheerleaders, candy, and coffee stations. Onward through Minneapolis, walkers and crew enjoyed a cheering station at the Parade Ice Garden and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Walkers took a lunch break at the lovely Loring Park, and after lunch, it was onwards to another pumped-up cheering station at B.H. Nelson Park, with impressive views of Minneapolis. After an incredible 18.6 miles, walkers and crew arrived at camp in Harvest Park in Maplewood, and during camp show, we got to meet the Twin Cities 3-Day top fundraisers and Milestone Award Winner, in addition to playing some fun games and hearing from an inspirational survivor, Sue N., who motivated us to start strong on Day 2.

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Day 2 on the the 3-Day® route started with balmy skies and cloud cover, and the friendly Twin Cities community came out in full support complete with puppies and babies in pink tutus at Holiday Inn Express cheering station. Vadnais Lake gave sore legs and tired minds some serenity, and a rocking cheering station at Ramsey County Island Park, complete with cheerleaders, helped our walkers put an extra pep in their step. The community came out again to rally walkers at Acorn Park in Roseville, and then, even conquering a few hills before lunch on Gramsie in Shoreview couldn’t dampen the excitement for lunch at Island Lake Elementary School.

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After hydrating and eating, walkers strolled across bridges at the picturesque Gervais Mill Park before heading back to Camp, where we heard from more amazing members of our 3-Day family, including Cassie of team Cassie’s Cups, who’s currently fighting breast cancer for the third time. Her moving story set the stage for Sisters Ashley H. and Nicole L., who again reminded us of the many reasons why we walk.  We ended the night with stars lighting up the sky as the 3-Day Dance Party kicked off, and then it was back into our pink tents for some serious slumber before taking on Day 3.

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A little bit of rain came down before Day 3 officially began, but the skies cleared up just in time to reveal brilliant blue skies, thick humidity, and a shining sun for our last 17.5 miles. The community came out to support the walkers at Northwood Park, passing out popsicles and iced coffee that were joyfully accepted by our strong walkers. The cloud cover lasted through Beaver Lake Park, where a serene lake shimmered in the distance as upbeat music kept our walkers pumped. Next on the route was Indian Mounds Park, and walkers were treated to sweeping views of the St. Paul skyline.

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After a beautiful photo opportunity sitting on Jody’s Couch, a Twin Cities 3-Day landmark for the past nine years, walkers moved on to pit stop 3.  Walkers fueled up and ‘rotated their socks’ at the 3-Day Speedway themed pit stop. The last few miles of the route stretched through beautiful downtown St. Paul, ending at the Minnesota State Capitol where the white and gold dome of the capitol building gleamed in the sun. Our 750 walkers, 225 crew members, and volunteers victoriously marched through the courtyard, and reminded us once again why these 60 miles and 3 days are so very important. The crowd of walkers, crew, volunteers and supporters danced joyously together, and celebrated an incredible $2 million dollars raised.

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One Step at a Time – Meet Pala, a Survivor

Survivors are the heroes of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. They remind us of one of the many reasons why we walk: because everyone deserves a lifetime. Today, we’re delighted to introduce you to Pala L., from Livonia, Michigan. Pala walked the Komen 3-Day in Michigan last week and is going strong for another 60 miles this week in the Twin Cities. This is Pala’s 14th 3-Day® since 2009, and she has previously walked Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Tampa and Arizona. “I was going to walk it once to see what it was like,” said Pala. “I was training in 2009 and when registration opened in 2010, I registered before I even walked the first time! I never dreamed I would be walking so many events per year.”

Meet Pala from Livonia, Michigan, who walked Michigan and Twin Cities this year

Meet Pala from Livonia, Michigan, who walked Michigan and Twin Cities this year

In 2003, Pala was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I went from being told in March I had a clean mammogram to a lumpectomy in July because I found the lump. I had a six month old granddaughter, and the hardest part of my treatments was not being able to see her because of my low blood count. I don’t want her and that generation to worry about going through things I did. Her other grandmother was diagnosed a year after me, and she has it coming from both sides. I can’t have that.”

In 2007, the 3-Day route went by Pala’s house. Pala was two years out from treatment, and had no idea the 3-Day was in town. “I went outside and cheered. The walkers would say thank you for being here, thanks for coming out. And I thought, I’m just standing here, you’re doing all the work. In 2008, my husband and I stood out there, and again, they thanked us. In 2009, I said to my husband, I want to try this. I want to see what it’s about. I want to see if I can do it. I had no idea if I could fundraise. I had no idea if I could walk 60 miles. 14 events later… here I am.”

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Pala proudly wears many buttons and pins.

Pala works on fundraising for ten and a half months out of every year, and after walking 14 events, she’s learned to approach fundraising from many different angles. “I do everything that I can think of,” she said. She starts with writing letters, but her biggest fundraiser is her annual garage sale, and she also dabbles in recycling cans and ink cartridges. Pala also teaches monthly card-making workshops for donations, and reminds nervous fundraisers that the best way to fundraise is to think about what you like to do and figure out how you can make donations from it.

Pala’s passion for the 3-Day is obvious as she describes her love of finding creative ways to fundraise and the joy she gets from being around so many inspiring people. Pala embodies the type of commitment and dedication we see in so many 3-Day participants. What does she tell herself when the last few miles of the day are feeling tough? “Put one foot in front of the other. It’s like a person going through treatment who says, how can I get through this? One day at a time. One step at a time.”

Pala walks with her friend Becky, who also helps her with her annual fundraising garage sale

Pala walks with her friend Becky, who also helps her with her annual fundraising garage sale

Over the Hill: Conquering Day 2 on a Twin Cities Hill

Day two of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®  in the Twin Cities has come to an end, and all day, we enjoyed balmy weather with cloud cover that kept the sun’s rays tucked away. This cooler weather was much appreciated as walkers closed in on an awesome 22.5 miles, through scenic sites like the Gervais Mill Park, where reflections of pink gleamed upon the lily-pad studded pond. One of the more challenging parts of today’s Komen 3-Day route was a hilly patch on Gramsie Road that stretched through Shoreview. We trekked up the hill a few times alongside the walkers, and captured some of their reactions as they conquered the incline. Here’s what they had to say!

Walkers rockin' the hill on Gramsie Road in Twin Cities

Walkers rockin’ the hill on Gramsie Road in Twin Cities

  • “They’re not gonna make us walk up this hill, right?”
  • Someone yells, “This is the last hill of the day!” A walker responds, “You’re a liar!”
  • “There better be grahamwiches after this.”
  • “It’s all downhill from here!”
  • “You don’t want to know what I think about this hill.”
  • “Once you go up… you gotta come down!”
  • “You can’t write what I want to say.”
  • “At least it’s not the last two miles.”
  • “You know what’s worse than walking up a hill on the 3-Day? Swallowing a bug walking up a hill on the 3-Day.”
  • “Glad I’m going up and not down.”
  • “It’s not too bad.” (Friend replies, “Wait till he gets to the top.”)
  • “Are there any flat lands in this state?”
  • “It’s almost over!”

And our favorite…

  • “We can do it!”

We know that our amazing 3-Day® walkers and crew will never give up… on hills, or in the fight to end breast cancer.

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