Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s

With their pink head boppers, pink boas and pink tutus, the three members of team Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s look like many other walkers on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. Talk with them, and their stories are also very familiar – they walk for loved ones and fellow coworkers who have been lost to cancer or who are survivors. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover a company who so whole-heartedly backs its associates that in 2014, they will make the single-largest donation to a Komen 3-Day team….ever.

Pacesetters Big Ol’ Shanty’s at the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day

Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s at the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day

The Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s get their name from the amazing company they work for, Pacesetter Steel Service, which happens to be located on Big Shanty Road in Kennesaw, GA. Steve Leebow founded Pacesetter Steel Service in 1977. As a young man, Steve worked in his family’s steel distribution center in New Jersey, where his passion for the industry was cultivated. By 1977, Steve ventured out and opened his own company in Atlanta, GA. Through the first 10 years, a small but dedicated group of Pacesetter associates established a steady routine of long hours, customer focus, and teamwork to grow the company. Many associates who helped build Pacesetter from its early beginnings still work for the company. Aviva Leebow, Steve’s daughter, was recently named the new CEO of Pacesetter Steel Service.

It’s Aviva who started the 3-Day team in 2013. “My grandmother, Joan Leebow, died at the age of 44 from breast cancer,” Aviva begins. “I never knew her. I grew up inspired by her story and everything I learned about her. Her world was focused on caring, sharing and giving. For my 30th birthday, I wanted to do something impactful. I chose the 3-Day. This is something she absolutely would have loved to have seen. I’ve always wanted to walk in her honor.”

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While her grandmother was her original inspiration for wanting to walk the Atlanta 3-Day, Aviva mentions a number of other loved ones – including fellow Pacesetter associates – who have been lost to cancer. So last year, she started a small but mighty team with one fellow coworker, Corri Green. “Half way through the walk last year, Corri and I looked at each other and said, ‘We are doing this next year,’” laughs Aviva. So here they are in 2014 – hitting the pavement again, and they’ve gained a third team member, their friend, Jessi Whittemore.

 So far this season, Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s has raised nearly $10,000. Both Aviva and Corri applaud the company and acknowledge that they couldn’t do this without their support. Their fellow Pacesetter associates hold fundraisers for months leading up to the event, giving of their time, their money and their support for these women who will walk 60 miles over three days.  On Friday, all Associates at Pacesetter headquarters took an aerial photo of themselves using a droid, rooting the team on to keep the team motivated while walking.  And Steve believes so much in the power of teamwork and in the Susan G. Komen mission that he is going to make sure Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s raises at least $50,000 this year. Utilizing money from a fund created in memory of Claudia B. Waters, Pacesetter wrote a check to the 3-Day for more than $40,000.

Founder Steve Leebow shares the very touching reasons behind Pacesetters generous donation.

Founder Steve Leebow shares the very touching reasons behind Pacesetter’s generous donation.

Steve visited the Atlanta campsite on Saturday night to share a little about why he is giving so generously to the 3-Day. “Fifteen years ago, one of our very first associates in our company, Claudia B. Waters, had the misfortune of getting breast cancer. And the entire company pulled together to try to do whatever we could to help her face the challenge,” Steve recounts. “Our many years of friendship with Claudia truly touched our lives. Her vitality was a constant source of encouragement to each Pacesetter associate, our suppliers and our customers. We miss her steadfastness, her dedication, her life.”

Aviva asks that we also recognize that there are many other Pacesetter associates who have battled breast cancer as well as Pacesetter family members.

As Aviva tends to some hot spots on her feet at Lunch on Day 2 of the 2014 Atlanta 3-Day, she describes an experience the team had a few miles earlier. “We were in Whole Foods and a woman saw us coming out of the bathrooms with our pink tutus,” she shares. “She came up to us and said, ‘I’m officially clear as of 11 days ago! Thank you for walking.’ It’s those moments when you know and see the effect this walk has. It makes it all worth it.”

Corri agrees. “We’ve already committed ourselves to next year,” she says with a big smile.

Thank you, Pacesetters Steel Service and team Pacesetter’s Big Ol’ Shanty’s. You are helping bring us closer to a world without breast cancer.

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The Gilbert Girls Take on Atlanta

Meet Team Gilbert Girls. They are an upbeat, beautiful, welcoming group of women who walk in the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day year after year. They all walk for some very special reasons, but their namesake is Margaret Gilbert, mother to Sara and sister to Tina. Margaret lost her battle to breast cancer in 2009 at the young age of 41.photo 7.2

Tina S., the team’s captain, has been a walker in the 3-Day for 7 years. Her teammates are no slouches either when it comes to years of participation! Cheryl S. is a 12-year veteran, and Annie B. has walked six times. What’s even more remarkable? Five of their eight team members are under the age of 20! Sara G. (17) has walked the last two years in her mother’s memory. Beth K. (17), Claire S. (17) and Jessica Z. (19) are all new to the 3-Day this year, and their eighth teammate, Caitlyn S. (18), will join them tomorrow as part of the Young Women Walking program.

Between the combination of long-time and young walkers, you might think fundraising would be challenging for the group. But Sara, Beth and Claire – the high school gals – were quick to point out that as soon as they tell people what they are doing, the support was quick to follow. It’s no surprise that these young walkers inspire others with their desire to walk 60 miles in memory of Sara’s mother.

Tina, Cheryl and Annie, the 3-Day veterans, all say that they weren’t prepared for how much fun the walk is, and that once you do it for the first time, you’ll do it again and again. As Cheryl puts it, “The cheering makes it a lot easier. There are so many people who tell you, ‘Way to go! Way to go for walking! Way to go for stretching! Way to go… for going to the bathroom!’ It’s a feel-good experience.”

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To unite them as a team, they print t-shirts each year with a different word cloud. This year’s shirts are yellow (which stand out beautifully in the sea of pink!) and bear the names of all the loved ones for whom they walk, along with some inspiring 3-Day themed words. Those meaningful names and words are in the shape of the number “60,” a very fitting number indeed.

Tina quickly explained that Jessica wasn’t wearing her team tee today – because they just adopted her to Gilbert Girls this morning. But, rest assured, she’ll be wearing her yellow shirt tomorrow.

We’re so inspired by the warm, loving family of 3-Dayers all around us; helping to reinforce what seasoned 3-Day participants always say, “On the 3-Day, there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet.”

June Meet-up Round-up!

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is halfway over! Here in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® world, this means that we’re even closer to the start of the event season, and Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members are busy preparing with training walks, meet-ups and clinics. The 3-Day® will be here before we know it! Take a look at some of our local events from June.

Michigan

Members of two of Michigan’s largest teams, The BC Babes and the Hines Pink Pathers, joined forces to get to know each other a little better on a beautiful June training walk. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june training michigan

Twin Cities

Twin Cities walkers came out on June 28th to attend a Packing Workshop held at TC Running Co. in Eden Prairie. They learned some tips to make their 3-Day camping experience easy, comfortable and fun! New friendships were made, tenting partners were found and all enjoyed some delightful discounts off clothing and gear. They are ready to go!Komen_3Day_june_twin cities_get packed clinic

Seattle

The Komen Puget Sound Race for the Cure took place on Sunday, June 1 at Seattle Center. There were over 7,000 participants this year, and 3-Day coaches Aubrey and Jon saw lots of 3-Day faces there. The weather held out and we had a beautiful event with lots of sunshine and plenty of friends. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june seattle puget sound race for the cure

Atlanta

Stone Mountain Park – the site of the Atlanta 3-Day Opening Ceremony – was the setting for a beautiful morning training walk. Coach Tara enjoyed some company with a great group of motivated ladies who walk there almost every weekend. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june stone mountain training walk

We discovered a new Walk & Talk path and some wonderful new walkers to join us. It was a very humid night, but we all made it and even enjoyed getting some training in on the hills. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june atlanta training lawrenceville

Dallas/Fort Worth

Coach Gayla rocks her signature selfie at this Walk & Talk in Richardson. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june dallas fort worth training

Eight walkers showed up for a Get Prepped Clinic in Rockwell, hosted by our friends at New Balance.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june get prepped clinic dallas fort worth rockwall

Nothing could dampen the spirits of Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day team Pink Soles in Motion, who trained right through the North Texas flooding rains on June 22nd. On their walk, they met a young woman who was holding a rummage sale to raise money for her friend who was recently diagnosed. It was a poignant reminder of why they walk.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june dallas fort worth pink soles in motion rain trainingsusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june dallas fort worth pink soles in motion rain training rummage sale

We had a great casual meet-up with new and veteran walkers at The Londoner in Frisco.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june dallas fort worth meet up londoner frisco

San Diego

Thirty-five wonderful walkers attended a Walk & Talk with Cliff’s Crew and friends in Fullerton. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june san diego fullerton cliffs crew

San Diego 3-Day coach Kim hopped in on a training walk in Daley Ranch. As Kim put it, “Sometimes we just want some dirt under our feet!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june san diego daley ranch training

We had a great Walk & Talk in Encinitas – gorgeous day, 6 amazing miles and 15 fabulous people. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june san diego encinitas training walk

Bonus Meet-ups!

Chicagoland – As a special thank you for their dedication to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, coaches Jennifer and Eileen hosted a Chicagoland 3-Day gathering on Thursday, June 5th in Park Ridge, IL. It was a night of fun, friendship and laughs. We had a wonderful time celebrating with our Chicagoland 3-Day community.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june chicagoland reunion

Tampa – Atlanta coach Tara ventured further south to the Sunshine State for a Walk & Talk with some Tampa Bay walkers, including members of Team 211. It was a morning walk along the Bayshore with 20 amazing women, and the morning included a beautiful sunrise, muffins, stingray sightings and a surprise birthday party for Team 211’s captain Sylvia—cake included, of course! Tara shared, “This team really is family, and I was so honored to be welcomed in and even invited back. They are working hard to keep the Tampa walkers engaged and excited to make their travels to other 3-Day cities.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june tampa team 211susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk june tampa

 

Looking to find a meet-up in your area? Check out the 3-Day calendar of events here.