Julie’s Angels

There’s a tradition at the 3-Day: every Friday and Saturday night, one of our amazing survivors stands on stage and shares her story with a captive audience. Without a doubt, there will be tears. Sometimes there is laughter. And there’s always thunderous applause at the end. This Saturday night in Atlanta was no exception.

IMG_9907At only 36 years of age, Julie B. is one of our young survivors. She bravely took the stage and shared the details of her recent and ongoing battle.

In March 2013, Julie gave birth to her son, Harris. Because her mother and maternal grandmother had both fought and survived breast cancer years ago, and her mother was recently re-diagnosed, Julie was already planning to have a mammogram after she delivered Harris. “They say that if it runs in your family, you should have one in your 30’s.”

But Julie didn’t even have a chance to schedule that mammogram. Just one week after Harris was born, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was a surreal moment when I got the call. I was in a state of shock when I heard the news,” recounts Julie. Her mother, who was still recovering from her own recent breast cancer reconstruction surgery, was there when Julie heard the news. “She assured me that everything was going to be okay. Her positive outlook kept me strong.”

Throughout 2013, Julie endured four months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and 28 rounds of radiation. Her grandmother, a breast cancer survivor for decades, also received a second diagnosis last year. Sadly, she lost her battle in October 2013. She was in her 90’s.

By the end of last year and all of the surgeries and treatments, Julie and her doctors felt confident that they got it all. The radiation had been done only as a safety measure, to ensure there were no lingering microscopic cancer cells. But she still insisted on a PET scan, to confirm that she was cancer-free.

Though she didn’t yet have the results of her PET scan, Julie shared with her women’s group from church that as a New Year’s resolution, she had set her mind to walking the 3-Day in 2014. Being one of three generations of women in her family who had received a breast cancer diagnosis within an 11-month span, Julie knew she wanted to take action to end breast cancer. This was the action she could take; this was something she could do. And as great friends do, her women’s group quickly jumped on board and agreed to do all 60 miles with her.

Just days later, Julie received the call from her doctor with the results: there were new areas of concern. “It absolutely crushed my heart and my spirit. I felt like we had just finished a long marathon and now we were faced with another one with no break in between,” she says, choking back tears.

But in early 2014, feeling loved, protected and like she had angels all around her, Julie and her friends and family (including her mom) formed Team Julie’s Angels. “They all decided to sign up. They’re walking in my honor. I couldn’t not walk with them.”

photo 15_teamAll 16 team members are first-time 3-Day walkers and together, they’ve raised nearly $60,000. “It is a great cause to support,” encourages Julie. “The fundraising really comes so much easier than you would ever imagine. There are so many people who have a connection – it might not be something you’re aware of – but people are really touched by it. And they’ll give more than you think they will.”

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“I have gotten more out of this walk than I ever could have imagined. It has been a positive light in my life as I am continuing my breast cancer journey,” continues Julie. “After experiencing cancer myself, I knew that I wanted to make a difference for other women, especially my daughter. I don’t want Addie Bliss to have to go through this.”

To a captive audience of hundreds at the 3-Day campsite, Julie concludes her story, “I’m Julie, and I walk because I believe everyone deserves a lifetime.” And the crowd reacts with the only appropriate response: thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Congratulations to the Atlanta 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Mary Anne W.!

Please join us in congratulating Mary Anne W., the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day Milestone Award Winner! This is Mary Anne’s 12th year with the Komen 3-Day, and her 12th event. She has raised a lifetime total of a staggering $74,900, and is the Team Captain of the Breast Defense League. Mary Anne first got involved with the 3-Day in 1998, when a co-worker challenged her to participate. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” Mary Anne laughed. Mary Anne has been participating in the 3-Day since 1998, when it was in Santa Barbara. She’s walked all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Like so many others who are involved with the 3-Day, Mary Anne calls the 3-Day a “life-changing experience”. Over the years, she has met so many walkers and made friends from all walks of life. Her 3-Day friends are above and beyond other friendships in her life, a belief we find that is shared among all members of the 3-Day.

Please join us in thanking Mary Anne for her dedicated service to the 3-Day, and for helping us continue the fight in a world without breast cancer. We will never give up!

Congratulations to the Atlanta 3-Day Top Fundraisers!

Day 1 of the Atlanta 3-Day has come to a close, and our 21.4 mile journey was filled with beautiful moments, like a brilliant sunrise over Stone Mountain, a fantastic cheering station in Stone Mountain Village, and many other great stops along the way. We ended the day with an exciting Camp Show, where we stretched, heard from inspiring speakers, played games, and celebrated some very special people. Please join us in congratulating the top fundraisers for the Komen 3-Day this weekend.

IMG_9464_Fundraisers(From left to right: Stephanie, Alison, Jennifer)

Top Individual Fundraiser

Congratulations to Jennifer C., who raised $38,000 this year and has raised an astounding $134,265 in her lifetime. This is Jennifer’s 4th year and 4th event, and she is a member of the team Grand Ta Ta’s. Here’s a fun fact: Jennifer is sisters with our #2 fundraiser, Christi-Ann. Jennifer was a cheerleader at NC State, and her sister Christi-Ann was on the dance team for UNC-Charlotte. What do we think about these sisters? They’re G-R-E-A-T!

Top Fundraising Team

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Refugees who raised an incredible $85,499! This is the Tampa Bay Refugees 1st year as team, but most are longtime participants from the Tampa Bay area. Accepting their award is Team Captain Stephanie P.; who helps motivate and inspire all 68 members of the team. Let’s hear it for the Tampa Bay Refugees!

Top Crew Fundraiser

Congratulations to Alison G., who raised $10,135 this year, and in her lifetime has raised more than $40,000. This is Alison’s 10th year and 20th event, and Alison is a competitive ballroom dancer. She has done the cha cha, rumba, swing, mambo, bolero, waltz, foxtrot, tango, two step, polka and even the hustle in competitions across the US. Here’s a fun fact about Alison: she has been in a long-time fundraising battle with fellow crew member Jake S. Each year, these two host a friendly competition to see who can fundraise the most, and the two of them have been the top two crew fundraisers in Atlanta the past several years. Their fundraising rivalry and support of each other is the reason why Alison is the top crew fundraiser this year.

Please join us in applauding and celebrating the dedication of these amazing walkers, crew members, and teams and thank them in their dedication for working toward a world without breast cancer.