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.”

photo 4

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.”

To our 3-Day Family: What Gives You Strength?

Every day, we’re moved by the amazing people in our Komen Family who exhibit such passionate and dedicated displays of strength. While we celebrate our 3-Day Family every day, this month, we’re highlighting what gives you strength. Together with Susan G. Komen®, we’ve asked several Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participants in Seattle (and soon in Atlanta, Dallas / Fort Worth, and San Diego) to share what gives them strength. We invite you to do the same, by commenting here on the 3-Day blog or by sharing with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Follow along on the official Susan G. Komen Facebook page to see more stories like Darrell’s:

1654090_10154768147390157_3471333889876159811_n

IMG_3091

IMG_3107

IMG_3124

IMG_3129

IMG_3136

 

Congratulations to the Seattle 3-Day’s Milestone Award Winner, Tina M.!

Join us in congratulating the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award winner, Tina McDonough, who was recognized in camp on Saturday of the Seattle event. Tina first walked the 3-Day in 2007 in Seattle, and has walked a total of 11 times (8 in Seattle and 3 in San Diego). She’ll make it an even dozen when she walks in San Diego this November. Tina is the captain of Valley Girls & Guys, Seattle’s largest team (which also has a San Diego team). Between their Seattle and San Diego teams, Valley Girls & Guys has raised over $1.8 million for Susan G. Komen® since 2007.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

While Tina’s legendary status with the 3-Day has been firmly established, her start with the event was humble and strikingly similar to many: she was recruited by friends to walk in memory of a friend’s sister. That first year, Tina also dedicated her walk to her friend Michelle, who was battling a cancer recurrence at the time. Tina recalls, “We walked that year and I swore I would be back volunteering my time not walking (as we did not train and I hurt super bad). But then that December, Michelle passed away at 38. Watching her husband and daughter fall apart at her funeral I thought to myself, I can’t not do anything. So I formed a team. That foursome team has turned into a 180 walkers between Seattle and San Diego and quickly became my life passion. I am doing exactly what I was meant to do and we will never give up until we find a cure!”

Tina shared that the Valley Girls & Guys team had 15 survivors within its ranks last year alone, and those brave teammates are a big part of what brings Tina back to the 3-Day year after year. “I feel like if I give up or quit doing the 3-Day I would be giving up on them, and I will never give up on any survivor/friend! This is my second family and I love every single one of them with all my heart!”

With nearly $2 million raised by Valley Girls & Guys in less than a decade, we had to ask Tina about the secret to her team’s 3-Day fundraising success. “Our team secret is we are family! We would do anything for each other and we do our fundraising together as a team. We have a huge March fun night out (coming up on our 8th year this coming March) where we typically raise over $150,000, and any teammates who participate, attend, etc. receive monies towards their fundraising. Just that one event gets many of our team members halfway to their fundraising goal.” Tina knows that that boost of help and the ongoing support from the team family is usually enough to get everyone motivated to succeed.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

Apart from participating in the 3-Day, Tina and her team show remarkable support for the breast cancer community in other ways too. Since February of 2013, Valley Girls & Guys have made and sent 284 personalized blankets, which they call blankets of “comfort and hope,” to cancer patients and survivors all over the U.S., and as far as Germany and Australia (each blanket is created with a photo of the team, and inspirational quote and the recipient’s name). Tina also shared an exciting new endeavor that the team is about to begin: “The other thing our team is starting is The Who House – Harnessing the Power of Community to Support Cancer Patients and Their Families. I have an office in [the Seattle area] that we are going to open up after hours Monday-Friday for those going through cancer, co-survivors, youth and those who have lost loved ones, as a place they can come talk, get support and have resources to reach out to. We have huge plans for this and are excited to get it started and off the ground.” Tina is a realtor by profession, and not surprisingly, she received the 2013 REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes realtors who have made an extraordinary impact on their community, or on the national or world stage, through volunteer work.

What is Tina’s best advice for someone thinking about doing the 3-Day? “Just do it and join a team if you can! ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ (TEAM) and in this case it means not only fundraising money, but you get so much more than what you will ever put in which is amazing. You end up with an experience of a lifetime, lifelong friends, and you are part of something bigger than you and making a huge impact/difference in the world!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

We extend our warm congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Tina and her Valley Girls & Guys teammates for their exceptional dedication to a world without breast cancer.