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!

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 1 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 over the next few days, 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 (Philadelphia 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide sheilla

I don’t have any direct family connection with breast cancer. I don’t believe it’s necessary in order to support a cause. It takes passion, dedication, and the desire to help and support others. One motto I follow is, “Let’s not talk about, let’s do something about it.” There are many worthy causes that deserve attention and support, so why breast cancer? I think for me it is about the bond of sisterhood, the ability for women to join together and have a voice, to set aside our differences and to come together for one common reason and desire…to fight for a cure!

I first became aware of the 3-Day a few years ago when I was in the city one day and noticed people walking around dressed in different shades of pink, wearing big smiles, and having so much fun. I asked a few people and learned that it was the Komen 3-Day, and I remember thinking I wanted to do it one day. But you know how it goes; life gets in the way and soon a few years have gone by. I continued to think about doing the 3-Day (I had been getting more involved with breast cancer causes and events and I always thought back to those fun-filled pink walkers I saw in Philly), but the fundraising, the sleeping arrangements (I’m not the camping type), the bathrooms (how would I shower each day?) – all of these aspects of the 3-Day made me nervous.

But then, last summer, I went through a rough break-up which affected me strongly. I was in a pretty dark place, mentally, emotionally and physically. After weeks of feeling so lost, it occurred to me that I needed to focus on something bigger than myself and what I was going through, something that was only positive. My years-long goal of doing the 3-Day became the positive thing that I held onto. It came at the perfect time, by chance. To be able to give back was just what I needed.

But I was still nervous, especially about the fundraising. I called and spoke with Joanne, the Philly 3-Day coach, and she was so positive, encouraging, and informative. She answered all the questions I had, explained the details of the event, and listened as I shared my thoughts. I told her my concerns regarding the fundraising goal and my worries of not reaching it. Joanne shared some ideas and listened to mine. I had a few ideas planned and Joanne felt they were good and would definitely help me get to my goal without a problem. She was very convincing : ) When I got off the phone with her, I felt optimistic and decided I was going to do it. I told myself there was no better time than now to sign up, give it my best, and know that no matter what I am supporting a great cause. I even inspired my sister to sign up to walk with me; together, we’re “Sisters in Pink: Big or Small Save Them All!”

I am so grateful for the experience of being part of the 3-Day community. I know it’s called the 3-Day because that’s when we gather together to walk 60 miles as one union, sharing all the fears, tears and cheers, but I think it’s really a journey because I am not focused just on October 2-4. Every single day I am mindful of the cause as I put on my sneakers to walk with my dog, lead or participate in training walks, look at the ribbons displayed around me, talk to others about my experience, etc. I think my impression now is so much more than what I originally thought. It’s going to be fun, I don’t doubt it, but it’s also going to be so much more than I imagined: life-changing, memorable, love-filled, joyous, tear-jerking, incredible.

 

Be sure to visit the blog again tomorrow, when we’ll hear all about First-Timer Jodie, and what led her to the 3-Day!

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…This Blog Post

Today is Earth Day, and in the spirit of the occasion, we’re recycling our Earth Day post from last year! Okay, maybe that’s not the kind of conservation that Earth Day promotes, but it is a good reminder from us to you about How the 3-Day Stays Green in a Pink World.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles earth day