There Are No Words…

On the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, breast cancer survivors are always close to our hearts and bright in our thoughts. They are reminders of the great strength and courage that can grow out of horrible adversity, and they are proof that what we are doing matters.

Every survivor has a story and I was inspired to learn about Krissie, a 6-time walker, and 6-time cancer survivor.

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“I was first diagnosed with sarcoma cancer of the abdominal wall at the age of 15. I had several recurrences over the next few years and was finally cancer-free at 19.”

Krissie got married, had kids and thought that cancer was far in her rearview. Being a survivor, she was passionate about doing something that mattered. She saw a commercial for the Komen 3-Day in January of 2008 and thought, “That is exactly what I need to do. I thought, what an amazing event and it was my time to do something.”

But right around that time, while doing a self-exam, Krissie found a lump in her left breast. “I was 28 and we didn’t think the lump was anything to worry about until they got in there and discovered that it was cancer, and that it was in my lymph nodes as well. So they removed the lump along with a bunch of lymph nodes. At 28 I didn’t think I had to worry about breast cancer, especially with no family history. I started chemotherapy treatment and began the healing process.” Part of that healing came from the 3-Day.  “I had no idea that the 3-Day would become even more meaningful than I knew possible. I believe that everything happens for a reason and without this walk I would not be here.”

During her very first 3-Day in Chicago, Krissie met Lori and Kim. “We are all pretty fast walkers, and as we walked we started talking and talking and talking. We finished that walk that year and did not see each other until the next Chicago 3-Day, but when we did, it was immediately as if we had never been apart. That was the year that we realized that this was not just a ‘walk’ friendship but a lifelong friendship. We always say that something so horrible is what brought us so close, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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Lori, Kim and Krissie

I asked Krissie what advice she would give to new walkers. “The first time I walked, I was terrified that I would not finish. I was undergoing treatment at the time and had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that this walk would change my life forever. The walkers, the community and the amazing volunteers helped me finish my first walk with a new sense of strength and hope. My advice for first-time walkers would be to take it all in. Don’t miss a thing. It’s going to be a hard and tiring 3 days but it’s also going to be the most amazing 3 days of your life. Listen to the stories. Laugh with new friends. Cry with others. Enjoy every second and don’t rush through it!”

Krissie, Lori and Kim—or KLK, as their team is called—have walked together every year since 2008, and are traveling to the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day this November. “They have been there every step of the way. There was a year that I was not able to walk and those girls walked every mile for me. It was a gift that will stay with me forever.”

“There are no words for the support I have gotten from my family and friends. My husband has been my rock. He has seen more than any husband should. He has wiped my tears, held my hand and picked me up off the ground. I have been blessed to be surrounded by an amazing family who has supported me every step of the way. I have always said that I have no idea what it must be like on their side, the fear that they must have, but I continue to get strength and hope from them every day. They let me get mad and they let me cry. They make me smile when I don’t want to. My teammates show me the light at the end of the tunnel.  We will continue to walk together for as long as we can.”

I also asked Krissie what her relationship with other survivors has been like. “I have met so many amazing people along the way. I have heard stories that have given me the strength to go on, to keep fighting. Many I keep in contact with, and some I have lost along the way. There is a moment at the end of the walk when all the survivors are in their pink shirts and it’s as if we have all been there for each other the entire time. photo(37)

“You gain a new family.”

 

Make the Susan G. Komen 3-Day a part of your family. Visit The3Day.org for information.

 

What Gets You Through (Part 2) – Your 3-Day Mantras

The 60-mile journey of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® can be tough at times and often, a simple word, phrase or thought can motivate you past the hurdles of pain and fatigue.

We asked our Facebook community to share some mantras – encouraging words, phrases or thoughts that motivate you to keep going. On Friday, we blogged with some of your responses, and today, we’ve compiled even more of your shorter phrases into a stylish word cloud.

Needless to say, we are bursting with inspiration at all of your amazing mantras!

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Word cloud created at http://www.tagxedo.com

What Gets You Through – Your 3-Day Mantras

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Earlier this week on Facebook, we asked you to share your mantras – those motivating words, phrases or thoughts that get you through the most physically challenging times on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®—and boy did you all come through!

On Monday we’ll share a very cool “word cloud” compilation of the shorter mantra phrases, but for today enjoy some of the longer, more detailed responses that our incredible 3-Dayers shared.

Rex H.:  “My wife and I have read some very motivating memorials on the backs other people’s t-shirts [while we were walking]. It helps us forget about the hill. The blister. Being tired. All of those things are momentary. But those sisters we followed for I don’t know how many miles have lost their mother forever. That keeps me coming back.”

Meg S.: “I never heard her complain. Not once in the 5 years she fought so hard. So [my mantra was]… ‘I want to be as strong as my sister!’”

Marilyn I.: “Last year was my first 3-Day. Day 1… evening felt like glass in my quads, Day 2..was like razors in my calves, Day 3… I felt like a linebacker hit me about 4 miles before the finish line….I just couldn’t think of a good enough reason to quit! Everyone Deserves a Lifetime – Everyone.”

Tommy P.:  “[My mantra was,] ‘If she can I can.’ I soloed my 1st walk in 2010. Did not stretch enough Friday AM and PM. I was in bad shape Saturday AM. I limped around. Rubbed down, took Advil, and stretched. I was going to walk. An hour or so in I was still questioning walking till I saw one walker. She walked with a stiff leg limp. I watched her. She was wearing long walking pants but I could see her ankle. She was wearing a prosthetic leg with locked ankle and knee joints. I determined from that point on ‘if she can I can.’ I have never questioned it since then. I never met her. Have not been able to find out who she is but she is a hero to me.”

Molly D.: “My best friend can’t talk to his Mom. Keep walking.”

Atlanta 3-Day Day 2

Tara Z.: “I can’t do the walk due to severe back problems…but I am a cancer survivor and I have to say that all you walkers should know we (cancer survivors) know what you do and we appreciate it. When you get tired and feel like you can’t make it, just remember that because of what you are doing someone somewhere that is going through chemo or radiation is counting on you, is in pain with you and is more grateful than you will ever know. Your mantra could be ‘I’M A SUPER PERSON, I HELPED SOMONE WITH CANCER TODAY!’”

Frances V.: “I see all those wonderful people that come out cheer us on and then you spot that one very strong person in the crowd. You can tell that they have either just gone through chemo or maybe are still receiving it. They are out there supporting us and I think to myself, “60 miles is nothing compared to what they are struggling with.” Makes the rest if my day go by easier. Thank you for supporting us. You are why we so this and I know one day we will find that cure.”

Sandi S.: “I count my steps on all challenging hills…keeps me focused!”

Sara D.: “We DANCE!! When we’re too tired to walk, we crank up the tunes and dance our way in! Works every time!!”

Jenifer M.: “Our struggles are minor. Our journey has an end in sight. We know how long our journey is. The ones we are representing with our journey have a far longer journey with more pain and not certain how long their journey is. Together we all can make a difference one step at a time!”

Susan G. Komen walker gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.

Paula P.: “I have 5 daughters, I name one with each step. Kristen, Katie, Kayla, Kourtney, Khendra… Repeat.”

Tammy J.: “Walk through the tired. Tough times never last but tough people do.”

Melissa L.: “I went through surgeries and chemo – this pain feels GREAT because I am choosing it!”

Brendalee H.: “Hearing my nephew’s voice say, ‘You can do it Aunt E!’”

Carla S.: “When I had breast cancer, I never stopped just because I was tired. I can do this!”

Cristina U.: “They did it. They fought a harder battle, climbed a steeper hill, and faced the unimaginable. I can do this.”

Beth M.: “I start reciting the names of the people we’ve lost to breast cancer.”

Mandy B.: “My friend, Alisa, and I have walked three 3-Days and are signed up for the fourth. When a big hill appears we tackle it with little to no words. I don’t think we will ever forget the gigantic hill in Boston (our first walk that got us hooked) where a little girl was standing at the top holding a sign thanking us for walking because her mom died from breast cancer. Having young kids at home, that hit me pretty hard. I walk because I can and I thank everyone who supports me!”

Tamela L.: “When I did the walk in San Diego years ago there was a bald woman at the top of one of the hills we had to climb — she was dressed in pink and holding a sign that said: ‘Thank you for walking for me.’ Best moment of the weekend!”

Sydni L.: “No words…just take a deep breath and look around. The motivation is all around you.”

Susan G. Komen walker gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.