Things No 3-Day Walker Said, Ever

You hear a lot of things on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, but we’d bet our fanny packs that there are some things you’ll never hear a Komen 3-Day walker say.

  • “Pink isn’t really my color.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles
  • “No thanks, I think I’ve had too many grahamwiches already.”
  • “I haven’t needed to pee for like 6 hours!”
  • “I wish the crew was more helpful and spirited.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles
  • “I just walk, ya know. I don’t really even pay attention to how far I have left to go.”
  • “Nah, we don’t need a picture of that.”
  • “Oh, are the local bike cops here? I hadn’t noticed.”
  • “That cheering station was way too loud.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles
  • “Woo! That hill was AWESOME! How long till the next one?”
  • “Mac n’ cheese? Pass.”
  • “I just love how everyone’s wardrobe choices are so reserved.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles
  • “Why is that man wearing a bra? That’s just weird.”
  • “Why is that motorcycle wearing a bra? That’s just weird.”
  • “I think I have too many pins.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles
  • “I know we’re stopped at a light, but I really don’t feel like I need to stretch.”
  • “Tell you my story? Sorry, I don’t really like talking to strangers.”
  • “It’s too bad no one ever comes up with any clever team names or t-shirt slogans.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles
  • “The 3-Day®? Eh, it was okay, but I should’ve just stayed home.”

 

“I didn’t have to watch anymore. I could walk.” – A Guest Post

For Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walker Carly M., walking has become a powerful tool for healing. She shares her story with us.

“From the time I was 13, cancer was a common term in my house. My youngest sister had leukemia when she was 9, underwent different kinds of chemotherapy for two and a half years, and beat it. It was my junior year of high school, and for a year, we were a normal family again. No cancer treatments.

“Then, the summer before my senior year in high school, a week before I turned 17, my mom was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. The doctor had originally told her it was a breast infection because it presented as a red, inflamed breast. No lump. Not the normal presentation for breast cancer. She had breastfed her five children, and the youngest was in 8th grade, so she obviously was not breastfeeding anymore and an infection seemed unlikely. Frustrated, she indulged the doctor and treated it as a breast infection for a week but when nothing changed, she went back and told him to figure out what it actually was. After many tests, they determined it was inflammatory breast cancer. They said that if she had not come in when she did, she would have only survived six more months. IBD is a very aggressive form of breast cancer, the five-year survival rate at that time was not great. Today it is still not amazing; depending on stage when diagnosed (this form is usually a stage III or IV upon diagnosis) and estrogen receptor status, it can be as low as a 34% five-year survival rate.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog mom

Baby Carly and her mom, Joan

“At the age of 49, with five kids ranging in age from 13- 21, my mom was not ready to throw in the towel. Over the next 10 months, she underwent chemotherapy, a mastectomy, a stem cell transplant and radiation. It was a harrowing year but we all made it through, thinking at the end that maybe we had beaten the odds. I graduated from high school and chose a university close to home to be able to help if needed.

“In January of that next year, my mom had a re-occurrence in her spine; the cancer had metastasized to her bones. For the next four years, we played a balancing game of radiation and chemotherapy, trying to keep the level of cancer cells in her blood low and zapping the sites where they landed.

“I graduated from college in May of 1999 and moved back home. My mom died in July, two weeks after my birthday. I was able to be there those last two months and help where I could. I still have many regrets about that time. I regretted the selfish things a college student does instead of spending time with their mom. I wish I had told her more often what an amazing mom she was to me. I wish I had reassured her that it was enough, that everything she had done for us was enough. But at 22, those words escaped me. And hindsight is always much clearer than when you are in it.

“I started walking in the 3-Day that next year. A very good friend of mine saw that I was floundering and found a way to give my emotions an outlet. This walk became one of the best things I could do for myself. The thing with cancer is it makes you feel helpless. You watch your mom become weak, her body a shell of what it once was. You watch her cry, giving her comfort when you can. You watch her throw up, again and again, and all you can do is give her a bowl and hold her hair. You watch her tell you she is not ready to die, and all you can do is cry with her. You watch.

“But with the 3-Day, I didn’t have to watch anymore. I could walk. I could fundraise. I could talk with other men and women who had experienced similar things. I could see the early detection programs that have been funded by the 3-Day. I could meet the women who are alive because they got treatment before their cancer had advanced. I could experience firsthand the good that the 3-Day can do. And it’s a lot of good. And I could walk some more. I didn’t have to watch anymore. I didn’t have to feel helpless anymore.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog mom

Carly, now a mom herself, walks in the hopes that her kids won’t have to experience the pain she did.

“I know we haven’t found a cure yet, but to me, knowing that some children don’t have to say goodbye to their moms too soon is enough. And so I walk.”

Carly will be walking in her 8th 3-Day event next month in Michigan.

Catching Up With the Twin Cities 3-Day Coaches

Before last year’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Series, we introduced the local coaches from each event city. These are the staff members who support the Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members all year round, answering phone calls and emails, hosting community events, assigning crew captains and juggling dozens of other tasks to make sure that the 3-Day® participants make it to their events excited and well prepared.

Since we gave you the coaches’ full profiles last year, we’ll delight you with just a fun update before each event this year. We checked in with the Michigan 3-Day coaches earlier this month, and today, the Twin Cities coaches—Stephanie, Eileen and Amy—are in the spotlight (you can read last year’s “Meet the Twin Cities Coaches” here)!

First Up…A New Team Member! – We’re happy to welcome new Crew & Volunteer Coordinator, Amy Schwager, to the Twin Cities 3-Day team. Amy is new to the Twin Cities event, but not new to the 3-Day, having been a staff member for many years. susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles twin cities coachesSince we didn’t “meet” her in last year’s blog post, here’s a little more detailed insight into Amy:

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – Magical, inspirational, and rewarding. I heart my crew!

We’re a few weeks from the Twin Cities event. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – My days (and some evenings) are spent doing whatever I can to support my crew captain leadership team. They are my fuel, my inspiration, and I want to do whatever I can to make their jobs easier on-event. The next couple of weeks I will send out final event documents, re-adjust crew teams based on our needs, finalize our day volunteer deployment, and finish checking off all of the pre-event items. And in just a few weeks all of our efforts will culminate on an incredible 3-Day weekend. Challenging in its distance, profound in its intensity and life changing in its scope. I am confident it is going to be empowering journey in an indescribable way!

 

Thanks, Amy! Now, let’s check in with Stephanie and Eileen too!

What was your favorite memory from the 2014 Twin Cities 3-Day?

Stephanie (Twin Cities Local Events Coach) – I love the spirit and energy of the 3-Day weekend. Every mile along our route is filled with stories, laughter, hope and inspiration. Everyone is so nice and genuinely cares about each other. I always enjoy standing near finish line and watching the walkers celebrate their 60 mile journey!susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles twin cities coaches

Eileen (Twin Cities Participant Coach) – My favorite part of the 2014 Twin Cities 3-Day was finally getting to meet all of the participants I had been working with throughout the season. It was fun putting faces to names and remembering all of the conversations throughout the year. I love getting hugs from new-found friends. I am hoping to get many more this August! susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles twin cities coaches

Fun Facts About the Twin Cities Coaches – Can you guess which fun fact is true about which coach? (There are 3 facts about each coach; find the answers at the end of the Seattle coach catch-up, coming next month!)

  1. I have two delicious little boys (Brooks 7, Bryn 2) and a sweet golden retriever (Newton) who keep me smiling every minute of the day.
  2. My new favorite TV show is Scandal. I have watched the entire first four seasons since June.
  3. Bring me a coffee in the morning and you’re my friend for life.
  4. I recently got re-married and have discovered the delights and craziness of a blended family–including the joy of becoming a “GRANDMA” at the young age of 45!
  5. I love long driving vacations. We once drove 40 hours straight to San Francisco. Our favorite family vacation is a 22-hour drive to Myrtle Beach.
  6. I am always freezing. Even living in California, you can rarely catch me without my winter wool hat on.
  7. Besides being a 3-Day coach, my life revolves around keeping up with my three kids (ages 16, 13 and 10) and their very busy schedules. I know these days won’t last long, so I love every minute of it.
  8. I will be staffing six 3-Day events this year, and I am looking forward to seeing many of the Twin Cities participants in other cities too. Please stop and say hi!
  9. In college I did Semester at Sea—traveling to 14 different countries over 3 months. That experience left an imprint on my heart and I will forever love traveling and experiencing new cultures.

 

 

Looking for answers from the Michigan Coaches’ Fun Facts post? Here they are!

1) Ann; 2) Gina; 3) Ann; 4) Jennifer; 5) Jennifer; 6) Gina; 7) Jennifer; 8) Ann; 9) Gina.