12 Things 3-Day Walkers Have to Explain to Outsiders

Anyone who’s been part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® understands that some aspects of the Komen 3-Day world may seem crazy or confusing to an outsider. Be patient. A little explanation gives these non- 3-Day® folks a glimpse into this pink world.

  1. What Connects Us – First things first: you don’t have to have a direct connection with breast cancer to be part of the 3-Day (though for thousands of folks, those personal connections have been their biggest reasons for participating). The fact is, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, so if a walker doesn’t know someone now who has been affected, chances are very good that they will some day; she may even be the one. We walk now to battle against that inevitability. Aside from that, the life-changing experience of the 3-Day is powerful enough to draw in just about anyone, regardless of their personal connection with breast cancer.
  2. Walking is a full-time job – Yes, we really do walk for three days in a row. No, it’s not non-stop, around-the-clock walking, but 20 miles a day takes around 8-10 hours for most people, so it’s pretty much all we’re doing for those three days.
  3. “Yeah, but it’s just walking, right?” – This might be the question that ruffles my feathers more than anything. “Hey, well-meaning but misguided friend, would you like to come out and take a 60-mile stroll with me, and then tell me, ‘It’s just walking?’”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog
  4. The Long Way – Speaking of extra walking, your friends may scratch their heads as to why you purposely park in the farthest possible spot at the mall, but you know the value of squeezing in some training wherever you can.
  5. Taking Care of Business – The thought of spending three days with porta-potties as the primary “facilities” might horrify some outsiders. You can assure them that the 3-Day’s temporary commodes are some of the nicest and cleanest portable lavatories there are. It’s a direct result of 3-Day walkers being courteous and hygienic when leaving their little plastic chambers, knowing that one of their fellow walkers isn’t far behind. The “bottom” line is: 3-Day people take care of each other, even whilst taking care of business.
  6. Sweeping Has Nothing to Do With Brooms – Some of your outsider friends might be concerned about what will happen to you if you get hurt while walking or can’t continue for some other reason. Explaining the concept of our helpful and creatively-themed fleet of Sweep vans will put them at ease and entertain them all at once.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog
  7. The Wonders of the 3-Day Camp – Yep. We sleep in tents, shower in semi-trucks and have an all-out dance party on Saturday night. Best home away from home ever.
  8. World’s Greatest Snack? – Two graham crackers. Peanut butter. Grape jelly. (Option: serve cold.) Come to think of it, you can skip trying to explain this one, as it defies description.
  9. Dieters Beware – I’ve had many people say to me, “You’re walking 60 miles? You must lose so much weight that weekend!” Uh, no. First of all, while walking is great exercise and the months spent training for the 3-Day can dramatically improve your overall health, losing weight on the 3-Day weekend itself should not be your goal. If there’s one thing that 3-Day walkers are, it’s well fed. Aside from the food provided at the 5-6 official route stops each day, there are also seemingly endless piles of candy, popsicles, cookies and brownies, and more, supplied by supporters all along the route. Many 3-Day walkers refer to the whole thing as the 60-Mile Buffet Line.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog
  10. You Know You’ve Totally Done This – You’re out on the sidewalk, a car honks its horn. What do you do? If you said, “Put my arms up and wave my fingers and/or give a thumbs up,” you might need to explain your behavior to an outsider.
  11. 3-peating – For some walkers, the 3-Day is a bucket list item to check off, but for many, once is just not enough. Over half of all 2015 3-Day walkers have walked at least once before and more incredibly, over 400 participants have been doing the 3-Day for 10+ years. Experiencing the magic of the 3-Day and continuing making an impact in the fight against breast cancer are powerful motivations for 3-peating.
  12. “When Will You Stop Walking?” – My answer when I get this question? When we don’t need to walk anymore, and not a day sooner.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog

 

Do you know what the best way is to explain the 3-Day to an outsider? Invite them to walk with you! Registration is still open for all 2015 events at The3Day.org/Register.

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 3 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Crystal, Sheilla and Jodie). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other two First-Timers’ stories; Sheilla’s is here, and Jodie’s here.

Crystal (Michigan 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide crystal

In the grand scheme of things, my life has been what my teenage daughter would refer to as “fluffy.” I grew up in a beautiful suburb and had family vacations where I got to spend quality time with my best friend in the whole world, my grandma. I have a sister whom I cherish with my whole heart. I have two beautiful children. Even though I lost my grandma in 2000 (just months before my daughter was born), all I can think about is how blessed I am to be surrounded by healthy, beautiful women. Breast cancer, fortunately, has not touched my family at all, and I count my blessings every day.  As the mother of an extraordinarily talented soon-to-be lawyer daughter, I want her to live in a world where breast cancer doesn’t exist.

When I was pregnant with my son, on bed rest, a commercial came on for the 3-Day®. I remember stopping in my tracks to watch it, and made a mental note to do that “one day.”

I’m sure you other moms out there can relate to how “one day” can easily turn into a decade without blinking an eye. I’ve dealt with many health problems, resulting in a hysterectomy this past February, but in the 7 years, as I dealt with issue after issue, unknown masses and scary, sleepless nights filled with worry, I made a promise to myself sitting in my doctor’s office that my “one day” would be this year.

I’ve never been one to take a risk or a chance, and certainly not one to ever do anything for myself. I’m selfless, I give all of my time to others. But participating in the 3-Day is something I wanted, a hunger deep within me. Once the decision was made that 2015 would be my year to walk, I didn’t discuss it with anyone, I just signed up on a sunny afternoon in December. I have many reservations about walking: that I’m not fit enough, or strong enough, or ready to do whatever crazy thing I’ve gotten myself into. But I figure I will go in it open-minded and expect nothing, and when I cross that finish line, I know deep within my heart and soul, not only will my grandma be with me in spirit, but I will come out changed forever.

I’ve learned something in my 38 years on this amazing planet: when you decide to make a difference for no other reason than to make a difference, not only do good things happen, but you become someone else and thankfully you can never go back. Life is a beautifully amazing journey, and I am so thankful I can make a difference.

 

 

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 2 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Sheilla, Jodie and Crystal). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. Sheilla shared her story yesterday (see it here), and today, we’re happy to hear from Jodie.

Jodie (Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide jodie

Participating in the 3-Day® has intrigued me for a number of years. Jean, a dear family friend, took part in this 60 miles of pink (her fave color) several times even though neither she, nor her family, were physically touched by breast cancer. However, she was emotionally touched by the women and men affected by the disease. Jean repeatedly asked me to join her on this endeavor, but I was intimidated by the distance and by the amount of money that needed to be raised, so I declined. Sadly, I will never experience walking with Jean for 20 miles over 3 days. Her generous spirit reached to many facets of her life; while volunteering in a free eye clinic in Haiti with her longtime employers, she perished from injuries sustained in the 2010 earthquake.

Walking the Komen 3-Day with Jean became a heartbreaking lost opportunity, but other doors to the 3-Day continued to open to me. Belinda, one of my Pink Sistas, walked the 3-Day last year, and asked me to walk with her. My hesitations to join the event remained the same: too much walking and too much money to raise. However, when I viewed Belinda’s photos on social media documenting the 3-Day, I SO wanted to be a part of it; her smile said it all! I did not want to be apart from this event any longer. I began to give it serious thought. If I joined the 2015 3-Day, I would be walking it as a 12-year breast cancer survivor. I am not into numerology, but one of my favorite numbers is 12: I was born on the 12th of October, I was married on the 12th of June. I just like the number 12. I had convinced myself that I could do this! One week after Belinda posted those pictures of her and her fellow walkers—images of dedication, pride, strength and lots of pink, I registered online for the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day in November of 2015, where I will walk during my 12th year of survivorship!

I still worry that I am behind on my fundraising; I have emails and letters still to compose and send. I also fear that I’m behind on my training, as I experienced a pulled muscle, the pain and location of which had me overly concerned. On top of that, I’m currently home for a few days, with four prescriptions, and bronchitis. I promise, I truly believe I am younger than I actually am! But I know that these are just minor setbacks, and that my fundraising and training will resume.

When I signed up last November, I did so individually. In February, I was invited to a 3-Day meet-up, where I met Coach Gayla (what an asset to the 3-Day she is!) and some incredibly inspiring walkers, and at that meeting, I found myself being recruited to join the Boxing Babes team. I am extremely impressed with the many opportunities, for individuals and team members alike, to take part in meet-ups, trainings for walking and fundraising, and the varied fundraising events.

Like my fellow pink enthusiasts Jean, Belinda, and my other Pink Sistas, I have close connections to breast cancer as well. I began getting mammograms in my 30s, and on August 8, 2003, during a routine mammogram, I was called back twice for additional views. Further screening confirmed Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Facing this diagnosis, I never thought, “Why me?” Rather, considering the statistics, I thought, “Why NOT me?” Luckily, my breast cancer was caught early, was small, and was treatable. But my connections with breast cancer go so much further than my own diagnosis. Nearly a decade after my diagnosis, my youngest sister Kellie called (from her home eight hours away) to tell me, “I have breast cancer.” It was exponentially more difficult hearing those words from her, 10.5 years younger than myself, than from my physician. When I was the patient, I knew what I had to do; my medical team and I had a plan, etc. With her, I felt helpless and so wanted to take it all away from her! Beyond that, my paternal aunt had breast cancer in her late 60s, and courageously fought for twelve years with several recurrences. Another aunt, by marriage, had breast cancer in her mid-60s. A dear childhood friend had breast cancer in her 30s with two young children under the age of two. An older neighbor had breast cancer. I’ve known several men who have had breast cancer (one 30+ years ago, when my father told us the man had “chest cancer,” because no one spoke of the disease in women, much less in men). Many co-workers and their relatives have had breast cancer. Women with whom I have worshipped, have been diagnosed, and countless current Pink Sistas I’ve met through Survivor/Thriver events have experienced various diagnostic procedures, surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal treatments.

You may have heard those four little words from a loved one or friend. And even if you haven’t yet, you may, as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. For all the times I wished I could do something, or something MORE, or wanted to, but lacked the confidence, I did finally accept the 3-Day challenge, for all of the above reasons, and missed opportunities.

 

Tomorrow, our third First Timer, Crystal, will tell about how and why she got involved with the 3-Day. Are you a first-timer too? Share your story in comments!