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.

2015 Atlanta 3-Day Wrap-up

The Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day has finished for another year, and we could not be more thankful for this amazing community and the memorable weekend we shared.

We gathered in the pre-dawn hours on Friday morning at Stone Mountain Park, a breathtaking backdrop as the sun rose just in time for us to begin the 3-Day journey. The incomparable Dr. Sheri was joined on stage by Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen®, as well as Tara, our local events coach in Atlanta, for a moving Opening Ceremony.IMG_2413 IMG_2375

Walkers set out onto the route, weaving the first few miles through the beautiful park. After a quick break at the pit stop 1, walkers exited the park and hit the streets and a cheering station in Old Historic Stone Mountain Village.IMG_2472IMG_2941 From there, walkers looped through the communities west of Atlanta, making their way toward the city. They passed through the quaint downtown Decatur area, where they were greeted with another cheering station and pit stop 2.IMG_2819 A longer break greeted the walkers at lunch, which was one big pajama party, and from there, the route passed through the eclectic neighborhood of Little Five Points. Crew teams at pit stops 3 and 4 kept walkers pumped up and fueled up in the afternoon.IMG_2784 IMG_3048 As they headed into the downtown Atlanta area, walkers passed by Centennial Olympic Park, built for visitors and spectators of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. Soon, they had arrived at camp at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Friday night’s camp show, hosted by Dr. Sheri and Chrissy, was emotional. We heard from the Greater Atlanta Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, who told us about the ways that the 3-Day helps fund programs in Atlanta. This was followed by moving speeches from Julie H., who talked about the realities of living with Stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer, and Karen, speaking on behalf of her friend and teammate Rachel who passed away from breast cancer about a month ago. We also recognized Atlanta’s top training walk leader and the Atlanta 3-Day Milestone Award winner.

On Day 2, walkers set out from camp and headed north for the day. Much of Day 2 was spent in the community of Buckhead, where walkers enjoyed the New Balance cheerleaders at a lovely tree-lined pit stop.IMG_2982 IMG_3105 Yes, there were hills a-plenty on Saturday, but the beautiful scenery and dazzling homes (including the Governor’s mansion) gave the walkers plenty to look at as they climbed. Numerous cheer stations along the way kept weary walkers motivated; a favorite was a grassy stop just before lunch with some lovable pooches who came out to support the walkers.IMG_3088 IMG_3181 The lunch stop was at the Greater Atlanta Komen Affiliate headquarters, complete with a pink-dyed fountain, and dozens of Komen Atlanta’s people came out to cheer the walkers in.IMG_3184 As they headed back toward camp, walkers passed by some of downtown Atlanta’s most popular tourist spots, including the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.IMG_3061

The camp show on Saturday night was a flurry of awards, as we recognized Atlanta’s top fundraisers and Local Impact Award winners. We heard a touching, and at times funny speech from Gerald, a 10-time walker who shared his story of being a co-survivor to his first two wives, both of whom passed from breast cancer. The Saturday camp show was topped off with some heart-touching messages from the Atlanta Youth Corps, who were the perfect inspirations to kick off the always popular Saturday dance party.

The amount of get-up-and-go at the start of Day 3 was incredible, especially from walkers who had already covered over 40 miles of their journey.IMG_3425 The route started out with a stroll and a pit stop on the beautiful Georgia Tech campus, and from there, walkers headed into Piedmont Park, one of Atlanta’s loveliest parks.IMG_3470 IMG_3536 The lunch stop was rocking once again, as walkers relaxed on the cool sunny day and crew members treated tehm to a non-stop dance-a-thon. A highlight of the afternoon was a walk past the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site before turning towards Turner Field, the site of our Atlanta 3-Day Closing Ceremony.IMG_3846

Walkers crossed the finish line at Turner Field, where hundreds of friends and family members waited to welcome them (and one special guy proposed to his gal as she crossed under the arch!).IMG_3864 IMG_3883 IMG_3925 The unbelievable energy that Atlanta walkers and crew members showed all weekend long seemed to be turned up even more at the Closing Ceremony, where Dr. Sheri, Chrissy and Tara congratulated this amazing Atlanta family on their extraordinary journey.IMG_4003 IMG_4082 IMG_4018 IMG_4300We thanked our marvelous supporters, sponsors and local jurisdictions who helped us along our 60-mile journey, and the whole place erupted with joy when Chrissy shared that a remarkable $2.2 million was raised by Atlanta’s 800 walkers and 275 crew members. The Atlanta 3-Day family danced it out one final time, and as the final flag of the 3-Day was raised, we remembered and repeated the promise we made way back on Friday morning: to never give up our fight until we have ended breast cancer forever.IMG_4176 IMG_4294

Want to see a sneak peek of photos from the Atlanta 3-Day? Click here, and don’t forget to watch Facebook later this week for a full album you can download, tag, and share!

Scenes From a 3-Day Lunch Stop

Today was Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Atlanta, and I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours near the entrance of the lunch spot, welcoming walkers in. The sun was shining, music was playing, and with my camera, I took in the sights.

The Day 1 lunch stop was one big pajama party! Their tagline: We’re dreaming of a cure. Awesome!IMG_2533

Early on, the walkers at the front of the pack trickled in a few at a time…IMG_2586IMG_2721 IMG_2712…but pretty  much everyone entered with the enthusiasm of people who had just conquered over 12 miles of Day 1.

Some were eager to document what they were seeing as they entered the lunch stop.


Perhaps they were impressed with these pajama-clad jammers, who danced a welcoming jig for every walker who came in. We’re talking hours of dancing, hugs and photos.IMG_2535 IMG_2536 IMG_2537 IMG_2538

Some walkers danced their way in too…IMG_2619 IMG_2624…and were rewarded with the warmest welcomes from the lunch medical crew.IMG_2617 IMG_2630Some families came out to reunite with their loved ones who were walking. This adorable little peanut and her baby cousin (along with their mommies) were there to see their dads, brothers who are walking in memory of their mom. IMG_2636IMG_2747While she waited for Daddy, this little darling hand-delivered candy to the other arriving walkers.IMG_2695 IMG_2696 IMG_2697Sweep vans rolled through from time to time, delivering walkers and raising spirits…IMG_2656…and of course, the lunch crew served up tasty food and drinks to their fellow 3-Dayers. IMG_2641Lunch is the perfect time for walkers to relax…IMG_2660…cool off in the shade…IMG_2679…catch up on social media and texts…IMG_2676…snap some pics of teammates…IMG_2674…stretch…IMG_2654…fix up their feet for the second half of the day…IMG_2681…or just enjoy a few minutes of quiet alone time.IMG_2744Some walkers captured special memories with our “I’m keeping the promise for…” photo banner and props. IMG_2652And some friends from other crew teams stopped by to eat and kick back (hi there, pit stop 1 pirates!).IMG_2671Oh, and remember those adorable girls? Their daddies finally made it to lunch, and it was the sweetest reunion we saw all day.IMG_2752 IMG_2759IMG_2766And of course, what 3-Day lunch stop would be complete without a spontaneous Youth Corps-led dance party?IMG_2801

What a lovely afternoon with the amazing Atlanta 3-Day family. Can’t wait to see everyone again tomorrow!