Meet the Dallas/Fort Worth 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 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day®!

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The Dallas/Fort Worth team: Liz, Val, Gayla

 

Gayla Cruikshank – Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach

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Gayla sporting some 3-Day attitude

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Recruit walkers and inspire them to reach their fundraising/ training goals.”

We’re about a week from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “After picking up a bucket of camp mail from the post office every single day (yes, a bucket a day!), I help walkers with final donation issues, such as missing donations or checking on matching gifts. Emails are firing back and forth quickly confirming Cheering Squads and route cues, confirming Private Cheering Station locations, Camp Angel assignments, Camp Show entertainers, and 3-Day Lounge treats that are being donated by local bakeries (don’t forget to stop by the Lounge Friday night before they’re all gone). I have cried a few tears recently with participants when I called to congratulate them for being chosen to carry a Survivor or Honor Flag at the Opening and Closing Ceremony. Since Dallas is the home of Susan G. Komen® Headquarters, I’ve been creating a list of VIPs who will be out on the route walking with and cheering on the walkers.”
What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) I won 2nd place in a Demolition Derby in the Freemont County Fair in Riverton Wyoming; 2) I was the 1986 Senior Class President of Lewisville High School, home of the Fighting Farmers; 3) I had my first job when I was in 4th grade: a paper route on my horse.”

 

Liz Parks – Dallas/Fort Worth Participant Coach

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Liz having fun on her new toy!

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Inspire participants and answer questions on all things 3-Day related.”

We’re about a week from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “Very busy! Lots of calls and emails with last-minute questions about fundraising, what to expect on the event, or online check-in. I really love hearing everyone’s stories and calming a first-time walker’s nerves. I have connected with so many wonderful people and I cannot wait to meet them all in person.”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) I am extremely clumsy and have broken all my fingers and toes at one time or another, some more than once; 2) I was in the Army and had planned to be a Drill Sargent; 3) I have lived and traveled overseas.”

 

Val Jones – Dallas/Fort Worth Crew & Volunteer Coordinatorsusan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog dallas fort worth coaches val

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Distributor of information, logistics, and encouragement to crew members.”

We’re about a week from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “Crazy busy! I spend the majority of my days and nights answering emails, loving on my kitties (who sleep on my desk), and making sure that the amazing Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Crew Captains have all the information they need to help our walkers, crew members, staff and community members have a great event. When I’m done with all that my kitties usually demand more chin scratches before I can get some sleep!”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “Friends know I’m amazingly quirky to begin with but things most people don’t know about me include: 1) I am addicted to shopping! I LOVE bags (wallets, purses, totes, etc.) and I even have an app on my iPad that has catalogs on it. I have to start my day looking at Zulily and Hautelook and end my day browsing through digital versions of catalogs. 2) I adore cartoons for young kids. My TV is often tuned to Disney Junior. 3) Handwritten letters are one of my favorite things. I collect pretty stationery and try to write at least one letter a week to brighten someone’s day since (in my humble opinion) there is nothing better than receiving a letter in the mail. At one time I had over 10 different international pen pals.”

 

Going to be at the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day? Come meet coaches Gayla and Liz at two special meet-and-greets, on Friday and Saturday in camp, 6-7 p.m., in the 3-Day Lounge.

Love In the Air at the 2014 Michigan 3-Day

It’s hard to believe that the 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season is winding down, with five out of seven Komen 3-Day events already in the books. We’ve shared so many beautiful experiences out there on the road with our wonderful participants, and have created memories that will last a lifetime.

One story that caught our attention and warmed our hearts happened in Michigan at the first 3-Day® event of the year. A day or so before the event started, we got a tip that one of the Michigan walkers, Amanda S., was going to get the surprise of her life at the famous Plymouth cheering station.

Amanda, who resides in Ohio, was walking in the 3-Day for the third time with her team, BreastFriends4Life. Her mom passed away from breast cancer in 2006, and Amanda got involved with the 3-Day as a way to honor her memory. “I decided to go for it. I thought, 60 miles? That’s easy. I can do that, no problem, compared to what I watched my mother endure during her battle.”

While out with friends one night in 2011, about a year after her first 3-Day, Amanda met David. “I saw David on the dance floor—he had some moves! We made eye contact across the dance floor and I thought to myself, okay this is your moment, make it count!” They hit it off and began dating right away. As Amanda puts it, “The rest is history! We’ve been inseparable ever since.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk michigan proposal amanda david

Jump ahead to Day 2 of the 2014 Michigan 3-Day, and Amanda was approaching a cheering station around midday. She knew David would be there to support her, as he had been so many times before, but didn’t expect much more than a hug and some encouraging words. “When I got to the cheering station in Plymouth, my aunt told me Dave had left to use the bathroom. Perfect, I thought, now I can rest my feet for a few more minutes before my team makes me walk again!” But Amanda started to notice something was going on. “I couldn’t figure out why random people were taking pictures of me, why weren’t my teammates getting in the pictures, why is there a crew person taking my picture. Suddenly my aunt says ‘Oh, there’s Dave,’ and points behind me.” Amanda turned to see the love of her life, down on one knee, holding a sign. “My first thought honestly was why is he down on his knees? Second thought was, what does that sign say? And my third thought, which I spoke out loud was, What are you doing? I was so confused for the first 60 seconds and then it hit me – HE’S PROPOSING – AT THE 3-DAY – ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE STARING AT ME!” Amanda said yes, of course.

Even though she had talked with David many times about their plans to get married someday, Amanda was genuinely surprised by her 3-Day proposal. “I had told him before that I wanted my proposal to be special and romantic. And my number one rule was DON’T do it in front of a large crowd! He obviously did not listen to that part, but it’s okay!”

Asking Amanda to marry him at the 3-Day carried a deeper importance to the couple too. “David really wanted to bring my mom into our proposal. He knows how much she means to me and how much I miss her every day, so to him this was the perfect way to have her with me during this very special moment. He even said to me after the proposal, ‘You know your mom is with you right now and she’s smiling.’ He’s just so sweet.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk michigan proposal amanda david

Amanda shared that she was surprised, excited and very moved by David’s proposal. “He put a lot of thought into what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it and how to bring my mother into it. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

We give our warmest congratulations to Amanda and David, and wish them the lifetime of happiness they deserve.

The 2014 Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day Wrap Up

Congratulations, Atlanta – you did it! You rocked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® this past weekend.

Day 1_OpeningWe kicked things off in Stone Mountain Park early Friday morning. Although it was chilly, we knew the day would be beautiful and we enjoyed an inspiring Opening Ceremony. We heard some really touching stories from our fellow participants and were uplifted with a special tribute sung by two incredible local artists. Dr. Sheri and our eight members of the survivors’ circle led us out onto the route, where we enjoyed views of the beautiful park and the lovely, clean scent of pine. It really felt like autumn was upon us!

Soon after we refueled at Pit Stop 1, we came into an energetic cheering station set up along Main Street of Stone Mountain Village. Friends and family came out in droves to cheer us on and give us a little pep in our step. We rocked and rolled to some great 80’s beats at Pit Stop 2 and snacked on string cheese and grahamwiches. At Lunch, we took some time to change socks, attend to any hot spots that were popping up on our feet, and were entertained by a DJ playing some great music. As we came into the home stretch of Day 1, we were greeted with picturesque views of the Atlanta city skyline, and at mile 21.4, we reached our indoor(!) campsite for the weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Day 1_RouteWe snapped photos of the 20-mile banner, made up some trail mix snacks in the 3-Day Lounge, rested our weary feet in the massage chairs at the Bank of America tent and picked up Instagram #laceup365 photos at the New Balance tent. And we enjoyed the delicious and decadent mac & cheese for dinner – on National Pasta Day, no less! During the Friday night camp show, we recognized some our top performers of 2014, including the Atlanta top fundraisers and our Milestone Award Winner, Mary Anne W.

Day 2 started out as bright and crisp as the day before, and we quickly made our way to Pit Stop 1 in Midtown West: The Wild Wild Breasts of Atlanta! We tackled a huge hill before coming into Pit Stop 2, and then kept walking uphill the rest of the day (or at least it felt like it!). The mansions of Atlanta offered a gorgeous backdrop to the route and we wound through some very beautiful neighborhoods. The police were back out again to keep us safe and like always, they were so nice! At Pit Stop 4, the Ford Warriors in Pink paid us a visit and offered pink temporary tattoos, great photo ops, and free scarves.

Day 2_RouteBack at the GWCC, we enjoyed an evening with friends and family, sharing our stories from the route and showing them our home-away-from-home for the weekend. During the Saturday night camp show, we heard some really inspiring stories, including one from a young survivor, Julie B. And in typical 3-Day style, we danced the night away at the 3-Day Dance Party. Isn’t it amazing how good it feels to dance, even after 41.7 miles?!

Day 3_RouteAs we packed up our gear and folded up our tents on the morning of Day 3, we knew it was going to be a beautiful day; we had the anticipation of the Closing Ceremony to help carry us through the final 15.3 miles. Piedmont Park was a gorgeous setting for Grab & Go A and the picture-perfect weather didn’t hurt, either. We didn’t have to wait long to come upon a cheering station this morning; spectators were set up at John Howell Park and were handing out delicious goodies and clapping like crazy. As we made our way into the lunch stop at Paideia School, DJ Ross N. was rocking the tunes for the third day in a row, to give us something to jam to. The crew there made sure we knew we were in the final stretch of the weekend – just 5.3 more miles to go!

HoldingThose final miles went by quickly and we walked into Turner Field, cheered on by our loved ones and fellow walkers and crew members. There was quite a reception for the last walkers on Day 3 – it seemed like the smiling faces, cheers and high-fives stretched for miles! As we lined up to walk into the Closing Ceremony and be reunited with our families and friends again, we felt the butterflies of anticipation. Walking that final “victory lap” over to the stage is always emotional and we felt the weight of all 60 miles, the memories of those we’ve lost, and the tributes and stories of those we honor and celebrate.

ClosingAs the weekend drew to a close, we learned that with 1,100 walkers and 300 crew members, we had raised more than $3.2 million dollars in the fight against breast cancer. We will never give up!

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