Meet the San Diego 3-Day Coaches

Every Susan G. Komen 3-Day® event has a core team of three coaches, each of whom plays a different role in helping our walkers and crew members prepare for the Komen 3-Day. For months, these dedicated staffers have been having personal conversations with walkers to help them with their training and fundraising, have hosted dozens of local events to bring participants together and build a community of encouragement, and have organized and inspired the amazing team of crew captains and crew members.

Let’s meet the coaches for the San Diego 3-Day®!

Kim Collings – San Diego Local Events Coachsusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog meet the coaches san diego kim collings

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Inspiring people to participate in the 3-Day and helping them believe they CAN! #thisisnotworkitsapassion”

We’re about a week from the San Diego 3-Day. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “There are so many fun last minute preparations for a great event. I am assigning private cheer stations, finding and confirming entertainment, working with camp angels, acquiring goodies for camp, calling participants to ask them to be part of the ceremonies and making daily trips to the post office to pick up camp mail. I feel a bit like Santa every day at this time of year.”
What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) I was one of the kids that got to test the Atari games before they were released to the public. Yes, I got to play Pac Man and Donkey Kong first!; 2) I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and peanut butter on toast or I go a little bonkers; 3) I am actually very introverted and being in front of large groups or attending crowded events makes me nervous.”

 

Staci Roos – San Diego Participant Coachsusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog meet the coaches san diego staci roos

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Empower, motivate, inspire, reassure and troubleshoot; all alongside fantastic participants!”

We’re about a week from the San Diego 3-Day. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “A typical day is spent doing everything I listed above. In this week leading up to the event my days are heavy on reassure and troubleshoot. ;) The greatest thing? Knowing, without a doubt, that the promises I’ve made about how incredible the experience is going to be will all be fulfilled. I’ve enjoyed making a lot of virtual friendships this season; we have participants coming from across the United States to walk in San Diego and many of them have promised me a hug or handshake. I intend to take them all up on it!”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) I grew up in San Diego and have lived here most of my life, but I’ve also lived in New York (Long Island) and San Francisco for extended periods of time; 2) My running playlist includes everything from Led Zeppelin to the Black Eyed Peas, Guns n’ Roses to Eminem, and The Beatles to the Scorpions. (And for those of you coming from Boston – OF COURSE!); 3) My motto: There is nothing wrong with candy corn and coffee for breakfast.”

 

Nanette Schlarmann – San Diego Crew & Volunteer Coordinatorsusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog meet the coaches san diego nanette schlarmann

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Leading an extraordinary 3-Day Crew to awesomeness.”

We’re about a week from the San Diego 3-Day. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “My inbox is creating a beautiful song from the notifications it’s receiving on a daily basis. Needless to say, I’m fielding many last minute questions, and am eyeball deep into spreadsheets (have to stay organized, don’t laugh…I’m trying here!), and numerous phone calls to make sure that I share information with my team. Needless to say, it’s VERY busy. ”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) If I could do anything in the world, I’d sing on Broadway; 2) I was a cheerleader back in my younger days. Eons ago; 3) I’m a Harry Potter fanatic. All 7 of my Harry Potter books sit proudly on my bookshelf. The kids are not allowed to take them without asking. My patronus is a cat. BuzzFeed told me so.”

 

Going to be at the San Diego 3-Day? Come meet coaches Kim and Staci at two special meet-and-greets, on Friday and Saturday in camp, 5:30-6:30 p.m., in the 3-Day Lounge.

The 2014 Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Wrap-up

The 2014 Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day has come to a close, and what a weekend it was! We’re so proud of all of our walkers and crew members for creating another incredible little world, and bringing us one step closer to our goal of a world without breast cancer.

With the sun rising over Collin Creek Mall in Plano, we started the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day on Friday morning after an inspiring Opening Ceremony. Before long, walkers were at the superhero-themed pit stop 1 at Aldridge Elementary School, then were treated to back-to-back Cheering Stations in Richardson. Hooray for Day 1! Pit stop 2 was a “Mardi Bras” celebration at Cottonwood Park, and then onto lunch at Valley View Park. The North Texas Susan G. Komen affiliate added some sidewalk-chalk motivation to a local intersection, and walkers were rallied at a third Cheering Station on Forest Lane. The community was out in full force on Friday, including a special appearance by the Smoothie King, who shared samples with all the passing walkers.IMG_6706 IMG_0464 IMG_0622

With Susan G. Komen’s headquarters based right here in Dallas, walkers arriving to pit stop 3 found themselves in the “Komen Korral”, complete with hay bales, a hydration “saloon” and over 40 volunteers from Komen and Bank of America, supplying an endless stream of cheers (there was plenty of cowbell, to be sure). And it was “fourth and goal” at the football-themed pit stop 4, the walkers’ last stop before camp at Brookhaven College.IMG_0935 IMG_0912

Friday night’s camp show brought us a powerful speech about not giving up, by 39-year-old Rachel W., a stage IV breast cancer survivor, which had the crowd both laughing and crying. We also recognized Dallas/Fort Worth’s top fundraisers, top training walk leader, and Milestone Award winner.

Walkers left camp on Day 2 rallied by the spirited chants of some area cheer squads, then continued through Brookhaven Country Club, with loads of local support, including a 28-year survivor greeting everyone outside her house. A local drill team danced the walkers into pit stop 1 before the route continued through quaint downtown Carrollton, where walkers enjoyed the first Cheering Station of the day. Also in Carrollton, the pleasantly pink Vintage House had treats out front for the passing walkers; it was a nice full-circle tribute from a local business that also hosted several pre-event meet-ups throughout the year.IMG_1213

Continuing through the neighborhoods of Carrollton, including the scenic “purple trail” through Carrollton Park, walkers found themselves passing the halfway point of their 60 mile journey, and approaching Day 2 lunch at Country Place Elementary. Some gloomy clouds and wind looked a little bit ominous during midday, but they quickly blew through as walkers were able to power over the blue bridge, “cowboy/cowgirl up” with pink foam cowboy hats handed out at pit stop 3, and still be greeted with plenty of late-day motivation at pit stop 4.IMG_1306

Back at camp, it was friends and family night, so participants and their guests were able to gather together for the camp show entertainment, including an exhilarating performance by Nikia B. of her original song “Champion.” The song was followed by with more inspirational speeches from co-survivor Jim Hillmann and young survivor Krissie Dowd, and the incredible Dallas/Fort Worth Youth Corps. And of course, Day 2 would not be complete without the famous 3-Day Saturday night dance party, and the party we saw in DFW was one of the biggest we’ve had all season.

Sunday morning briskness put some color in our cheeks as walkers began Day 3 with a short bus ride to the picturesque Ursuline Academy, where they picked up the day’s 15-mile route. With beautiful parks and neighborhoods around every corner, walkers powered through to lunch at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. At this green, shaded urban gem of a location (how great were those bistro tables?), a line of food trucks offered delicious dining options to walkers and supporters. After lunch, it was a breezy 4 miles, continuing on past the dramatic bronze cattle drive statues near City Hall and on to Pit 3.IMG_1483IMG_1641After triumphantly crossing under the arch into the Participant Finish Area, walkers and visitors enjoyed music and relaxation, and many witnessed a romantic finish-line marriage proposal just before the last walker made it home. Closing Ceremony was bursting with energy and passion from Dr. Sheri and the crowd, with hundreds of loved ones looking on. Susan G. Komen president and CEO, Dr. Judith Salerno spoke, personally thanking the Dallas/Fort Worth walkers and crew for their remarkable commitment to fighting for the cures to breast cancer. And as we raised the final flag in tribute to our promise to never give up, that incredible feeling of hope could be felt, as big as the Texas sky.IMG_1713 IMG_1928

The Strength of Family on the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® community is known as a warm, welcoming family, embracing new participants and nurturing relationships with vets and newbies alike. It’s also not uncommon for actual families to participate together, usually in honor or in memory of loved ones. At the Komen 3-Day in Dallas/Fort Worth this year, I had the pleasure to meet a couple of these families and hear about how the 3-Day® has impacted their lives.

Kristi B.’s family didn’t have a strong connection to breast cancer, but that all changed when her father was diagnosed with the disease in the early 2000s. “It was a real shock [when my dad was diagnosed]. We had never really experienced breast cancer. Both my grandmothers had had breast cancer, but I was so young, I wasn’t really involved in it. It was just a shock to find out our father had it.”

Sadly, Kristi’s dad passed away in 2005, and shortly after that, her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease had gotten too close too many times. “At that point, I started walking.”

The Dallas/Fort Worth walk this year is Kristi’s fifth walk (she’s also crewed and volunteered). She walks not only in memory of her dad and in honor of her sister who was diagnosed in 2006, but also for her other sister who battled breast cancer just last year.

This year’s event has another special importance to Kristi’s family: her 17-year-old son, Eli, is walking alongside her for the first time.

Eli was a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Youth Corps for the past two years, and this year decided to walk it with his mom. “It’s a real bonding experience,” Kristi said. “I’ve been around him when he did the Youth Corps, and my older son crewed here a few years ago, so having them here and experience this with me, it brings us closer together.”

I asked Kristi what, after five years, still inspires her about the 3-Day. We smiled when Eli immediately pointed to himself. Kristi confirmed, “Every year I tell myself I’m not walking again, it’s just too much, but this year, he wanted to do it. So he’s why I’m here.”

Naturally, I wanted Eli’s perspective as well, about how walking was different from his time on Youth Corps. “I’ve experienced more, I’ve gotten to know the other walkers a lot better.” And of course, I needed the story behind his vibrant and frilly tutu. “It was my fundraiser for the 3-Day. We had a Facebook group set up called ‘Put Eli in a Tutu.’ We had over 900 followers. If I made the fundraising requirement, I’d have to wear a tutu all 3 days. And I made it.” I was quick to acknowledge that it is a fabulous tutu, and pointed out that Eli didn’t seem uncomfortable in it. He laughed, “It’s not too bad, it’s actually keeping me warm a little bit!”

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog dallas fort worth kristi eli family

Kristi and Eli

 

Not long after talking with Kristi and Eli, I heard another remarkable example of how the 3-Day brings people together. Renee R., a Dallas-area local, has been walking in the 3-Day for six years, two cities each year (and three in 2013!). Renee has five sisters, who are spread out all over the country, and although she first got involved with the 3-Day as a way to honor her sister Robin—a stage IV survivor who lives in Las Vegas—it was her relationship with her youngest sister, Jill, that was profoundly affected because of the 3-Day last year.

Renee shared, “Jill lives in Chicago, and I was going to do the Chicago 3-Day last year.” She stops, choked up for a moment. “We hadn’t seen each other in forty years.”

Renee describes her family as “a blended family that didn’t stay blended.” But as she prepared to travel to Chicago last year, Renee came across Jill’s email address, hidden within a group message to the whole family. and sent her a message: “I wrote, ‘If I walk the 3-Day in Chicago, will you consider having lunch with me?’ And she said ‘no, I want more than that.’” So Renee and two of her other sisters—Linda who lives in Pennsylvania, and Robin from Las Vegas—met up with Jill in Chicago as well, and four of the six the sisters were reunited for the first time in decades.

I marveled at how, despite all living so far from each other, five of the sisters were together here in Dallas. Renee assured me, “Now they want to follow me wherever I go to walk the 3-Day. So the 3-Day really brought us together.” Robin was not able to make the trip out from Vegas, but the other five women insist that they’ll get all six of them together eventually. In the meantime, they celebrate and honor Robin, as well as the oldest sister, Diane, who was also diagnosed in February.

“The 3-Day brings people together. This is my pink family— ” Renee indicates her team, Angels for the Cure, who are sitting nearby—“We stay together during the off season, celebrate birthdays. But the 3-Day brought my actual family together too. If it wasn’t for the 3-Day, I wouldn’t have gone to Chicago,” Renee says, hugging Jill and filling that forty year absence as if no time had passed at all.

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog dallas fort worth sisters renee reunion

Renee (center) and her sisters. Jill, her youngest sister whom she hadn’t seen in 40 years, is second from the left.