Catching Up With the San Diego 3-Day Coaches

Before last year’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day® series, we introduced the local coaches from each Komen 3-Day. These are the staff members who support the 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. Today, we catch up with the San Diego 3-Day coaches (you can read last year’s “Meet the San Diego Coaches” here)!

susan g komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog san diego coaches

Nanette, Kim, Staci

What was your favorite memory from the 2014 San Diego 3-Day?

Staci (San Diego Participant Coach) – My favorite part is always reconnecting with my 3-Day family and meeting people for the first time that I have been emailing and talking on the phone with throughout the season.susan g komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog san diego coaches

Kim (San Diego Local Events Coach) – The Closing Ceremony. Watching all the love and celebration of completing the journey and the determination to never give up.susan g komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog san diego coaches

Nanette (San Diego Crew & Volunteer Coordinator) – My favorite memory from 2014 was seeing all of the hard work the crew has put into this event and making it their own over the year. They were having fun, they accomplished many great things and many friends were made. It made my heart swell.susan g komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog san diego coaches

Fun facts about the San Diego 3-Day Coaches – Can you guess which fun fact is true about which coach? (There are 3 facts about each coach; answers will be at the end of the San Diego 3-Day event wrap-up at the end of the week!)

  1. I’ve won a car.
  2. I’m home-body.
  3. I am an avid hiker.
  4. I am a pretty darn good poker player.
  5. I love decorating, gardening and “pinning.”
  6. My dream job is to perform on Broadway.
  7. My all-time favorite getaway is to a National Park.
  8. Up until a few years ago, I had 2 goats, 1 pig, 16 chickens, 2 roosters, 2 dogs and 2 cats.
  9. I took apart my malfunctioning washer and fixed it by myself. Who needs a handyWOMAN?


Looking for the answers from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches’ Fun Facts post? Here they are!


1) Val; 2) Liz; 3) Gayla; 4) Val; 5) Gayla; 6) Liz; 7) Gayla; 8) Val; 9) Liz

2015 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Wrap-up

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day began with a beautiful sunrise over Opening Ceremony at the Collin Creek Mall in Plano. The amazing Dr. Sheri welcomed the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day family, and was joined on stage by Dallas/Fort Worth local events coach Gayla, as well as Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen®, who was not only the 3-Day’s co-host this weekend, but also participated as a first-time walker.IMG_4561 IMG_4619 IMG_4576

Walkers set out through Plano, and within a few miles, passed an elementary school where literally hundreds of students were out to cheer them on (what a way to start the morning!), and arrived at pit stop 1.IMG_4762 IMG_4872 Soon, the route headed south into Richardson and pit stop 2, where the theme was “Wish for the Cure”, complete with magic lamps and “flying” carpets.IMG_5188 Even early in the day, it was clear that the Dallas/Fort Worth community would be a huge part of the 3-Day weekend; walkers rarely went more than a few blocks without hitting a private cheering station, school, or even just neighbors outside their houses cheering them on.IMG_5134 IMG_5093 IMG_5465 DFW is “Komen Kountry,” and some of the most amazing cheering stations walkers saw all weekend were the ones put on by Susan G. Komen; they literally rolled out the pink carpet and had special goodies for walkers on each of the three days.image1

Walkers enjoyed lunch at Valley View Park, and yes, met up with another public cheering station just on the other side. The second half of Day 1’s route took walkers through some very pretty spots, over bridges and through woods. At Churchill Park, many walkers stopped to snap pics with all the metal figures that populate the park. Soon, it was through pit stop 4 and into camp at Brookhaven College.

At Friday night’s camp show, we were joined once again by Dr. Sheri and Chrissy, who was quick to commiserate with walkers after completing the 20-mile day herself too.IMG_5547 We were moved by a speech from Sara, a young breast cancer survivor, and we celebrated the top fundraisers, top training walk leader and Milestone Award winner.

Day 2’s route was full of new twists and turns with an almost entirely new route from past years. Cloudy skies soon opened up with some morning rain for the walkers to enjoy as they weaved through the neighborhoods of Farmers Branch.IMG_5793 Even with the rain, there were cheering stations a’plenty on Beltline Road, leading into a pit stop in Addison Circle.IMG_5961 Walkers faced a long stretch between pit stop 2 and lunch, but a huge public cheering station just before lunch to push walkers that last little way. Lots of supporters from far away locales (New Jersey, Boston) flew here to be with their walkers. By the time most walkers reached lunch at Campbell Green Recreation Center, the rain had stopped and walkers enjoyed the great park with a wide trail.IMG_5992 A “paw-some” cheering station set up by Lone Star Puppy Raisers greeted walkers after lunch with almost a dozen four-legged friends. From there, the route went through Far North Dallas, then wrapped up down Vitruvian Way, where (not surprisingly) people continued cheering walkers in all the way back into camp.IMG_6359

Day 2’s camp show was certainly emotional. For starters, Chrissy was feeling the burn from completing the 20+ miles of Day 2.IMG_6510 Beyond that, we heard another powerful speech from Robin, a 10-year walker and 10-year survivor, and from Miguel Perez, the Susan G. Komen VP of Affiliate Network. We also honored Dallas/Fort Worth’s Local Impact Award winner and heard moving messages from the DFW Youth Corps.

Sunday started with a short bus ride from camp, where walkers were dropped off at Walnut Hill Recreation Center to begin Day 3’s route. They got in a few good miles through some scenic residential Dallas neighborhoods before hitting pit 1.IMG_6871 IMG_6906 From there, walkers trekked through beautiful Park Cities, finding yet another public cheer station in Curtis Park, then walked around Goar Park. Up the route, walkers spent time on Lakeside Drive next to Exall Lake, a great photo op. Pit 2 was at Cole Park, then walkers circled around Turtle Creek before arriving at Reverchon Park for a gorgeous and shady lunch spot.IMG_7230 From there, it was up to the Katy Trail and into the home stretch past American Airlines HQ and Victory Park, the West End Marketplace and another big cheering station. The route passed Dealey Plaza (with the Book Depository and the “grassy knoll”), an important location in American history. Numerous iconic photo stops dotted the last five miles of the route: the big red courthouse, red Mobil Pegasus statue, and the bronze cattle drive statues leading up to city Hall and pit stop 3.IMG_7300 Main Street Garden Park (the site of last year’s Day 3 lunch stop), and Deep Ellum were the last couple of sights before walkers were routed into Fair Park and the finish line.

The sun dipped in the sky as walkers marched into Closing Ceremony. Dr. Sheri, coach Gayla, and Chrissy were on stage again to thank the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day’s sponsors and supporters, and to congratulate DFW’s 1,100 walkers and 325 crew members on their amazing 60-mile journey and the $2.8 million that they raised.IMG_7505 IMG_7589 IMG_7738

The 3-Day event team and our friends at Susan G. Komen can’t say thank you enough to every single person who makes this event what it is. This event, and the kind and passionate little world we create on it, would not be possible without each of you: your spirit, energy and passion. We look forward to welcoming many of you back in Dallas/Fort Worth next year and carrying each of you in our hearts every day until then. IMG_7669

Congratulations to the 2015 Atlanta 3-Day Award Winners

At the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day, we were delighted to shine the spotlight on some of our outstanding Komen 3-Day participants with special awards given out in camp.

Top Fundraisers

We recognized the top individual, crew and team fundraisers for the Atlanta 3-Day® in camp on Saturday.

The top crew fundraiser in Atlanta was Pamella Whitham, who was a member of the lunch crew. Pamella, a breast cancer survivor, has been part of the 3-Day for 12 years, with this year’s Atlanta 3-Day being her 12th event. As a crew member this year, she raised an incredible $8,515; her lifetime fundraising total is $47,175. When she’s not traveling the country for 3-Day events, Pamella is a realtor in Malibu, CA, and lives with her husband Bob who raises Budgies (parakeets).IMG_3319The top fundraising team in Atlanta was Grand Ta Ta’s. On most 3-Day events, the top fundraising team is also the largest team, but in Atlanta, it was quite the opposite. The Grand Ta Ta’s are made up of only five team members and together, they raised $80,400. In their five years as a team, this group has raised an astonishing $503,600. Amazing!

4 of the 5 Grand Ta Ta's team members at Opening Ceremony in Atlanta

4 of the 5 Grand Ta Ta’s team members at Opening Ceremony in Atlanta

The captain of the Grand Ta Ta’s, Christi-Ann Wiltberger, was also Atlanta’s top individual fundraiser, bringing in $40,000 on her own (fundraising awesomeness must run in the family; Christi-Ann’s sister Jennifer, a Grand Ta Ta’s teammate, was the #3 fundraiser in Atlanta, raising over $20,000).IMG_3310

Our thanks and applause go to all of the wonderful walkers, crew members and supporters who helped bring the Atlanta 3-Day to $2.2 million in total donations.


Milestone Award

Tara, the local coach for the Atlanta 3-Day, joined us on stage on Friday night to recognize the Atlanta 3-Day Milestone Award winner. This award is given on each 3-Day event to one participant who has an extraordinary history of involvement with the 3-Day. The Milestone Award for Atlanta was presented to Shelley Middleton.

Shelley, a 21-year breast cancer survivor, told us that her favorite number is 3 and her favorite color has always been pink, even before her diagnosis, so it seems like she was always destined to be part of the 3-Day family. She first took part in the 3-Day 9 years ago, and this year’s Atlanta 3-Day marks her 9th event. In her history with the 3-Day, Shelley has raised over $69,000.

Shelley and coach Tara

Shelley and coach Tara

Shelley, a mother of 13-year-old triplets, has quite the team supporting her at home, but is part of a small team of two on the 3-Day. Her sister Susie is her teammate on Nancy’s Angels; the team is named for their mom, who passed 32 years ago. Susie had this to say about her sister: “Shelley is such a fighter and a strong 21-year survivor who gives so many people hope and inspiration to do the same. She asked me to walk the 3-Day ten years ago and we haven’t stopped since. Our little team of two has raised over $150,000 dollars in the ten years. We don’t want another mother, daughter, sister, aunt or friend to be affected by this disease.”

Congratulations, Shelley, and thank you for your years of dedication to the 3-Day community. We are grateful for all you are and all you do.

Local Impact Award

The Local Impact Award is a new award for 2015, and is being presented to a participant in each 3-Day city who has been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day in their community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees are participants who go above and beyond with things like leading training walks, attending local events, supporting the local 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference in their 3-Day community by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

In Atlanta, we were pleased to honor two participants with the Local Impact Award: husband and wife Charles and Renee McCollum. Charles and Renee have been part of the 3-Day for 5 years and 5 events, Charles as a crew member and Renee as a walker. As part of team Badges for Boobies, the couple has raised a combined total of over $16,000.IMG_3288

In preparing to present these two 3-Dayers with the award, we tricked them a little bit and told each individual that the award was going to their spouse. That way, we were able to get thoughts from each of them about their partner. Sneaky? Maybe a little, but worth it. Charles shared this about his wife: “Renee is always trying to recruit new walkers and will take time to explain everything about the 3-Day. She arranges training walks that will fit others’ schedules just so that they can get ready for the event. She can meet a stranger and make them feel like she has known them for years right away. She has been the force behind me getting my health back together after my heart attack in 2013. She makes sure I eat right and I cannot begin to thank her enough for her support and love. She has been my inspiration and I would not be where I am in my life without her as my wife and best friend!”

So sweet! Renee’s thoughts about her husband are just as lovely: “Charles has such a heart for the 3-Day and all those involved, especially ‘his’ walkers. He absolutely lives for the privilege of being there every morning to hug the walkers when they head out and let them know he will personally be there when they get back. He is moved to tears at merely discussing his connection with many of the walkers, especially the elderly or physically fragile ones who he gets to literally carry off the sweep vans. He has made a special connection each of our 4 previous years with at least one particular walker who struggled to make it and just hugged and cried with them when they crossed the finish line each day! I almost make it a joke during our training walks and have someone ask him about his “hug buddies.” He tries to tell one of the stories and just starts crying…he can’t do it. It is the most special thing to see MY MAN have that kind of heart!”

Join us in congratulating and thanking Charles and Renee for their extraordinary commitment to the Atlanta 3-Day community. And thanks, as always, to the entire Atlanta 3-Day family for another spectacular year.