A Piglet Princess Makes Her 3-Day Debut

There’s a group of people on every Susan G. Komen 3-Day® event that you can’t help but notice. It might be their loud, enthusiastic cheering, their impressive helpfulness around pit stops and in camp, or their unmistakable yellow shirts. No matter how the Komen 3-Day Youth Corps kids come to your attention, one thing is certain: they’re a remarkable group of young people.

Last month at the Twin Cities 3-Day, I was excited to see these 10-16 year-old kids out again, as they are always a bright spot on each day, but there was one Youth Corps member in particular whom I simply had to talk to.

Madelynne is a soft-spoken girl from Wisconsin. At 11 years old, she’s one of the younger Youth Corps kids and she seemed a little apprehensive when she was asked if she would mind talking to me for the 3-Day blog (in fact, I had to explain to her what a blog is).

This was Madelynne’s first year on the Youth Corps, but like most Youth Corps kids, her connection with breast cancer goes back longer than any child should have to experience. She has had several family members who have had the disease, including her grandmother who was a 32-year survivor when she passed away a few years ago.Susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog twin cities crew youth corps mullet pig

And like most Youth Corps kids, the 3-Day has been a part of Madelynne’s own family history for many years too. Her dad has been a participant for most of her life. She said she doesn’t remember him first getting involved with the 3-Day (he’s been crewing since 2008, with one year of walking; all of his events have been in the Twin Cities, plus one year on the crew in San Francisco) but she knows that he’s kind of a celebrity on the Twin Cities 3-Day.

“Because he’s who?” I asked her. She smiled. “Mullet Pig.

Oh yes, Mullet Pig. You would be hard-pressed to find a Twin Cities 3-Day veteran who doesn’t know this icon of the Route Safety team. He’s out here on his bike, year after year, dressed in all kinds of wacky attire, right down to his signature piggy mask and pink lipstick. I asked Madelynne what she thought of that. Her response was what you’d expect from any daughter whose dad sports a pink tutu and an over-the-shirt bra adorned with stick-on googly eyes: “It’s embarrassing.”

But this is the 3-Day and anything goes out here, fashion-wise. I asked her if she thinks it’s cool at all, or is it just embarrassing, to which she promptly replied, “Yeah, it’s cool too.”

A little bit later in the day, I caught up with Mullet Pig (whose name is Dave on the other 362 days of the year) and shared with him some of my conversation with his little girl.

“She’s quiet,” I said to him. “She is quiet,” he agreed. “She’s very quiet at first, but once she gets comfortable, she starts coming out of her shell. I’ve seen it already, just from Thursday to today [Saturday].” Knowing what a larger-than-life presence Mullet Pig is on the Twin Cities 3-Day, I told him I was surprised at how introverted Madelynne seemed to be, by comparison. He replied, “As we were getting ready for the 3-Day, we were talking. And she knows all about Mullet Pig, and she loves that Dad’s Mullet Pig, but I could sense that she was kind of getting a little nervous. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know if I can be like you.’ And I said, ‘You know what? That’s okay. Madelynne, you can be Madelynne if you want to be at the 3-Day, you can be Princess Mullet Pig [the “family” nickname she’s had for years], or you can be anywhere in between. So she’s a little bit in between, I think. And that’s okay. I want to give her the freedom and the support to be her own person. She doesn’t have to be who I am.”570 susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles crew twin cities mullet pig youth corps

It was a real pleasure for me to talk to Dave about his daughter. I have kids too, and I know that it’s a special gift when a parent gets to hear the things their kids have said when they weren’t around. I told Dave what Madelynne said when I asked her what she thinks about what her dad does. Not necessarily how he looks, but what he does out here. Her response was: “He makes sure it’s safe. And he cheers the walkers up.” After being on her feet for a day and a half, Madelynne had admitted to me she was tired and knew that the walkers must be that much more tired. But she said she knows that her dad is really, really good at cheering people up.

Dave smiled at hearing that. “If I can bring smiles to people’s faces, that’s what I do. And if I can pass that on to Madelynne… I hear about it. I hear she’s doing her job. I hear, ‘Oh, Princess Mullet Pig was so cute! We loved her cheers!’ then that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about me, or Mullet Pig, or Mulletude, it’s about inspiring. That’s what it’s all about.”

Separately, I asked Madelynne and Dave to tell me one word that describes the other person. Without hesitation, Madelynne replied, “Awesome.” When I asked Mullet Pig a couple of hours later, I said I wasn’t going to tell him what Madelynne’s word for him was (to my knowledge, he’s just finding it out now). Dave pondered on his word for a few seconds. It’s hard to pick just one, isn’t it, I said. Dave, getting a little bit choked up with Daddy pride, said quietly “It is hard to pick just one,” then said, “All right. Awesome.” I laughed, knowing something he didn’t. The piggy apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it would seem.

He continued, “I have to say ‘awesome.’ You know, just to see her and see her personality and what she does. She’s so open to suggestions but yet, she’ll take those suggestions and make them her own. As a parent, it’s good to see. As she’s growing up, you know, she’s not my little baby anymore—well, she’ll always be my baby—but she’s growing up, she has her own personality, and that’s what I think is cool about all of this. She grasps the concept of what we do out here. Inspiring people.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles crew twin cities mullet pig youth corps

2015 Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day Wrap-Up

The Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day started on Friday morning against a brilliant blue sky dotted with clouds at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. In an emotional Opening Ceremony, we heard from 3-Day spokesperson Dr. Sheri Prentiss, Chrissy Matthews from Susan G. Komen and Ann Love, local events coach in Michigan, rallying the walkers to begin their remarkable 60-mile journey and kick off the 2015 3-Day season.

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Walkers headed out into Novi, buzzing by the bee-themed Pit Stop 1 at 2.4 miles, and then were cheered on by an amazing group from the community at the CVS Pharmacy in Farmington Hills.

Crew members at Pit Stop 1 are all smiles handing out snacks bright and early on Day 1 of the Michigan 3-Day.

Crew members at Pit Stop 1 are all smiles handing out snacks bright and early on Day 1 of the Michigan 3-Day.

As the train of walkers got farther into Farmington, they enjoyed photo opps at the Farmington Historic District, and at Pit Stop 2, they said “aloha” to delicious snacks and hydration to keep the spring in their steps. Twelve miles into the route, walkers were refreshed by an amazing cheering station at the Gill Elementary School, which kept them going for ten more miles into camp.

Members of the BC Babes with Dr. Sheri Prentiss, National Spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Members of the BC Babes with Dr. Sheri Prentiss, National Spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Back at camp, the Michigan 3-Day family greeted the last walker, and had an energizing camp show that honored top fundraisers and the Michigan Milestone Award winner. The camp show also features inspiring speakers who reminded us why we put one foot in front of the other in the fight against breast cancer.

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A drizzle of rain couldn’t stop walkers and crew members as they greeted Day 2, who instead decided to call it “liquid awesome” and charge forward!

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After a brief refuel at Pit Stop 1, walkers headed towards the Downtown Northville Cheering Station, where the community rallied them on with snacks, encouragement and love. After lunch at around 9 miles, it was off to the much-anticipated Kellogg Park Cheering Station in Downtown Plymouth, complete with a pink carpet photo backdrop and the legendary pink fountain.

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Walkers powered on through the day’s mileage, rejuvenating at Pit Stop 3 (13.5 miles) and again at the mo-town themed Pit Stop 4 (16.7 miles), before closing in on camp after an incredible 22.3 miles. 11850543_10155860141680392_4476886471322413465_oSaturday night was Friends and Family Night at camp, complete with games, music and ice cream trucks. Walkers’ and crew members’ spirits were raised as the pride and joy from loved ones helped them work through the sore feet and blisters. In Saturday’s camp show, we honored more outstanding 3-Day community members, played some new games sponsored by Bank of America, heard from the 3-Day Youth Corps, and of course, finished the evening with a classic 3-Day style dance party, where our sore feet were no match for the electric tunes pulsating through the tent.

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Sunday morning started with a bus ride to Livonia, and 1.5 miles in, walkers were rewarded with what felt like all of the cheerleaders in the world creating a pink alley of pom-poms to walk through. The beautiful city of Dearborn Heights did not disappoint as many of us posed at the McFadden-Ross House, and then charged forward, completing the final day’s breezy 16 miles at the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn.

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Here, the entire 3-Day family celebrated, cheering in our last walker, and then joining hands and marching into the Closing Ceremony. Dr. Sheri and Chrissy shared the incredible news that 650 walkers and 300 crew members raised an astonishing $1.9 million dollars in the fight against breast cancer! We renewed our promise from Friday’s Opening Ceremony, for our world free from breast cancer, and raised the flag and our shoes toward the sky, reminding the world that we, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, will never give up.

To see the 2015 Michigan 3-Day Photos, click here or visit the 3-Day’s Facebook page.

This is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Promise: A world without breast cancer.

Through the Eyes of Michigan 3-Dayers: Instagram

We love seeing our participants’ Susan G. Komen 3-Day experience through their own eyes. Enjoy some of our favorite photos that were posted to Instagram during the Michigan 3-Day. You can find these and many more under hashtags #MI3Day and #The3Day, and if you haven’t already shared your shots with these hashtags, it’s not too late (you can always go back to old posts and add hashtags as comments too)! CONGRATULATIONS on an amazing 60 mile journey, Michigan 3-Day walkers and crew!

Photo by Instagram User @Lindsey_Lewis1

Photo by Instagram User @Lindsey_Lewis1

Photo by Instagram user @beckyjomamab

Photo by Instagram user @beckyjomamab

Photo by @tabvinson

Photo by @tabvinson

Photo by Instagram User @Katie_Lucken

Photo by Instagram User @Katie_Lucken

Photo by Instagram User @alyssataylor0991

Photo by Instagram User @alyssataylor0991