Open Letter to the 3-Day Community

Hello 3-Day family and supporters!

My name is Chrissy Mathews and I am the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Program Manager for Susan G. Komen®. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you at a Komen 3-Day or via email already this season. I very much look forward to meeting the rest of you soon!

Hi! I'm Chrissy.

Hi! I’m Chrissy.

I had the honor of starting this new role last summer. I spent my first week of work at the Twin Cities 3-Day and since then I have been coming home with everything pink, from my nails to my shoelaces. Not only that, but I became overwhelmed and in love with the 3-Day® walks and community.

As I’ve gone through our first two walks of the 2015 3-Day Series, there are a couple questions that have come up, more than once, about the 3-Day. If you have met me, you know I am all about open communication, so I am writing this letter to address these questions, and you have my commitment to continue to provide updates via the blog throughout the upcoming year.

One of the main questions I heard in both Michigan and the Twin Cities was, “Will the 3-Day continue in all seven cities for 2016?” Yes! The 3-Day will be taking place in 2016 in all seven cities and registration is already open! We encourage everyone to continue to form and build your teams for the 2016 series, so please tell your friends and family to register today!

The other question I have heard from many of you is, “How can we get more walkers?” I’d like you to know that we are putting our efforts and expertise behind new research to refine our 3-Day growth strategy. This research is already underway – stay tuned for updates!

If nothing else, I would like you to know that Susan G. Komen is fully committed to the 3-Day program and recognizes the impact that our 3-Day family brings to our vision of our promise of a world without breast cancer. Our goal is to work hard to ensure you all are better supported, better informed and set up for success.

In the 3-Day mission statement we say “we walk because we must.” I have to admit that at one point that seemed like a cliché line to me. But the more I’ve gotten to know you and understand what this 3-Day family is in this fight against breast cancer, the more I preach, yell, and celebrate that phrase! You are the grassroots warriors for Komen, our mission and in the fight against breast cancer. It wasn’t that long ago when we were not at a 99% five-year survival rate for breast cancer….

We walk because together we are driving the mission.

We walk because more than 40,000 men and women continue to die each year from breast cancer.

We walk because we are not just hopeful, we are optimistic — we WILL find the cures!

We walk… Simply because… We can’t not walk.

Thank you for being you. I have an open door and am happy to address any questions or needs you may have. Please come talk to me on your 3-Day event, or leave your comments on my post below.


Susan G. Komen 3-Day Program Manager


“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.

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 3 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Crystal, Sheilla and Jodie). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other two First-Timers’ stories; Sheilla’s is here, and Jodie’s here.

Crystal (Michigan 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide crystal

In the grand scheme of things, my life has been what my teenage daughter would refer to as “fluffy.” I grew up in a beautiful suburb and had family vacations where I got to spend quality time with my best friend in the whole world, my grandma. I have a sister whom I cherish with my whole heart. I have two beautiful children. Even though I lost my grandma in 2000 (just months before my daughter was born), all I can think about is how blessed I am to be surrounded by healthy, beautiful women. Breast cancer, fortunately, has not touched my family at all, and I count my blessings every day.  As the mother of an extraordinarily talented soon-to-be lawyer daughter, I want her to live in a world where breast cancer doesn’t exist.

When I was pregnant with my son, on bed rest, a commercial came on for the 3-Day®. I remember stopping in my tracks to watch it, and made a mental note to do that “one day.”

I’m sure you other moms out there can relate to how “one day” can easily turn into a decade without blinking an eye. I’ve dealt with many health problems, resulting in a hysterectomy this past February, but in the 7 years, as I dealt with issue after issue, unknown masses and scary, sleepless nights filled with worry, I made a promise to myself sitting in my doctor’s office that my “one day” would be this year.

I’ve never been one to take a risk or a chance, and certainly not one to ever do anything for myself. I’m selfless, I give all of my time to others. But participating in the 3-Day is something I wanted, a hunger deep within me. Once the decision was made that 2015 would be my year to walk, I didn’t discuss it with anyone, I just signed up on a sunny afternoon in December. I have many reservations about walking: that I’m not fit enough, or strong enough, or ready to do whatever crazy thing I’ve gotten myself into. But I figure I will go in it open-minded and expect nothing, and when I cross that finish line, I know deep within my heart and soul, not only will my grandma be with me in spirit, but I will come out changed forever.

I’ve learned something in my 38 years on this amazing planet: when you decide to make a difference for no other reason than to make a difference, not only do good things happen, but you become someone else and thankfully you can never go back. Life is a beautifully amazing journey, and I am so thankful I can make a difference.