The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 1 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 (Sheilla, Jodie and Crystal). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and over the next few days, 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.

Sheilla (Philadelphia 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide sheilla

I don’t have any direct family connection with breast cancer. I don’t believe it’s necessary in order to support a cause. It takes passion, dedication, and the desire to help and support others. One motto I follow is, “Let’s not talk about, let’s do something about it.” There are many worthy causes that deserve attention and support, so why breast cancer? I think for me it is about the bond of sisterhood, the ability for women to join together and have a voice, to set aside our differences and to come together for one common reason and desire…to fight for a cure!

I first became aware of the 3-Day a few years ago when I was in the city one day and noticed people walking around dressed in different shades of pink, wearing big smiles, and having so much fun. I asked a few people and learned that it was the Komen 3-Day, and I remember thinking I wanted to do it one day. But you know how it goes; life gets in the way and soon a few years have gone by. I continued to think about doing the 3-Day (I had been getting more involved with breast cancer causes and events and I always thought back to those fun-filled pink walkers I saw in Philly), but the fundraising, the sleeping arrangements (I’m not the camping type), the bathrooms (how would I shower each day?) – all of these aspects of the 3-Day made me nervous.

But then, last summer, I went through a rough break-up which affected me strongly. I was in a pretty dark place, mentally, emotionally and physically. After weeks of feeling so lost, it occurred to me that I needed to focus on something bigger than myself and what I was going through, something that was only positive. My years-long goal of doing the 3-Day became the positive thing that I held onto. It came at the perfect time, by chance. To be able to give back was just what I needed.

But I was still nervous, especially about the fundraising. I called and spoke with Joanne, the Philly 3-Day coach, and she was so positive, encouraging, and informative. She answered all the questions I had, explained the details of the event, and listened as I shared my thoughts. I told her my concerns regarding the fundraising goal and my worries of not reaching it. Joanne shared some ideas and listened to mine. I had a few ideas planned and Joanne felt they were good and would definitely help me get to my goal without a problem. She was very convincing : ) When I got off the phone with her, I felt optimistic and decided I was going to do it. I told myself there was no better time than now to sign up, give it my best, and know that no matter what I am supporting a great cause. I even inspired my sister to sign up to walk with me; together, we’re “Sisters in Pink: Big or Small Save Them All!”

I am so grateful for the experience of being part of the 3-Day community. I know it’s called the 3-Day because that’s when we gather together to walk 60 miles as one union, sharing all the fears, tears and cheers, but I think it’s really a journey because I am not focused just on October 2-4. Every single day I am mindful of the cause as I put on my sneakers to walk with my dog, lead or participate in training walks, look at the ribbons displayed around me, talk to others about my experience, etc. I think my impression now is so much more than what I originally thought. It’s going to be fun, I don’t doubt it, but it’s also going to be so much more than I imagined: life-changing, memorable, love-filled, joyous, tear-jerking, incredible.


Be sure to visit the blog again tomorrow, when we’ll hear all about First-Timer Jodie, and what led her to the 3-Day!


3 Reasons Why You Should Always Ask for a Specific Donation Amount

susan g komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog specific donation amount fundraisingQuick poll: while fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, who among you has written a fundraising letter or email, posted a Facebook ask, or made an in-person request and used some version of the following statement: “Please donate whatever amount you’re comfortable with.”

It’s true that every donation made to the Komen 3-Day—no matter the amount—is important and will make an impact in the fight against breast cancer. But experience has shown us that asking your donors to give a specific amount is a more successful fundraising tactic than the “whatever you’re comfortable with” route. Here’s why:

An Unmistakable Call to Action – People like to be given directions. When you ask for 3-Day® donations in a specific amount, you give your donors a clear instruction to act on, which will make them more likely to donate right away. Putting a deadline on your request is another great way to motivate your donors to give without delay.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

Aim High, Land High – For the past several years, I’ve straight-up asked my donors for $100 donations in my initial fundraising emails. I make no apologies for it, and I remind my donors that my job as a 3-Day walker, first and foremost, is to raise as much money as I can for Susan G. Komen®. I make this request knowing full well that many of my donors will not donate that much. But what I’m really doing is setting an expectation. Asking for a large amount says to my donors, “This is important, and your part in it is important.” Sometimes it works and I see those hundred dollar donations hit my account, but even if the donor is not willing or able to give that much, they will still end up giving as much as they can. On the other hand, back when I used to say, “Any amount is okay,” I found that donors would often give far less.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

Attention-Grabbing Gimmicks Work – Last year, I sent out a fundraising email two weeks before my 37th birthday, challenging my supporters to help me raise 37 donations of $37 each before my big day. The amount I asked for was very specific, very manageable, and since the birthday angle tied to it was personal to me, it was highly appealing to my friends and family members. The response I got from donors was immediate and generous; I raised over $1300 in less than 2 weeks, based on this tactic alone. If I had thrown out a request that said, “Please make a donation in any amount in honor of my birthday” I can’t imagine the ploy would have been as successful. Click here to find some other fundraising strategies that incorporate specific donation amounts.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations


March Meet-up Round-up

Even though our first Susan G. Komen 3-Day® event is over 4 months away, our Komen 3-Day coaches are busy meeting up with walkers and crew members, new and returning, to start getting them prepared and excited. Take a peek at some of the meet-ups that brought our 3-Day® family face-to-face in March (and a few from February)!


On March 21, Michigan 3-Day coaches Ann, Jennifer and Gina joined long-time walkers and crew captains (and some adorable guests) for a fun-filled reunion at Lucky Strike in Novi. As “America’s High Five” continues to thaw out, more and more events will be happening, so keep an eye on the “Find a Meet-Up” page of the 3-Day website ( g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up michigan

Twin Cities

With it still being a little too cold for much outside walking, Coach Stephanie met a few 3-Day friends for a Walk & Talk on March 7 at Southdale Mall (home of the Twin Cities Opening Ceremony in 2014). The group included 2014 Top Training Walk Leader, Sue N. (far left). The other ladies were all new walkers. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up twin citiesThe Twin Cities training season officially kicked off with a Get Trained Workshop at Marathon Sports in Minneapolis on Saturday, March 21. Participants were fitted for proper shoes and got tips on hydration, preventing blisters and dressing for warm weather, then two of the Twin Cities’ awesome training walk leaders led attendees on a 3.5-mile walk to break in the new shoes they just bought. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up twin citiessusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up twin cities


The West Seattle Library Get Started Meeting on March 7 had a mix of veteran and first-time walkers as well as a crew member. One person (Kendra, the blonde holding the sign) was so inspired, she registered for the 3-Day on her phone in the middle of the meeting! susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up seattleACME Bowl in Tukwila was the backdrop for the Seattle 3-Day Reunion on March 19. Seattle coaches Aubrey, Paula and Jon met with more than 30 walkers and crew members to eat, play games, award prizes, reminisce about the 2014 event, and join in the commitment to recruit even more new walkers for 2015.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up seattleSeattle team captain Mitch C. (aka, “Mr. Coach Aubrey”) led a fun 3-mile scavenger hunt training walk on March 28. It was the first one he has hosted this year and everyone who attended the walk in Bradley Lake Park in Puyallup had a wonderful time. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up seattle susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up seattle


Some brave Philadelphia walkers gathered for a chilly Walk & Talk/Training Walk held in Washington Lake Park in Sewell, NJ on Saturday, March 28. Even with the threat of snow, the amazing group, made up of veteran walkers as well as two brand new 3-Dayers, walked for almost an hour and had a great time.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up philadelphia


On March 15, 32 Atlanta walkers and crew members met to reconnect with 3-Day friends. We had fun with a photo booth, some yummy snacks, and enjoyed one of the first beautiful days of the year together.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up atlantasusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up atlanta

Dallas/Fort Worth

Coach Gayla has been busy in the Lone Star State! Here, she had from a couple of jokesters from team Presbytittyans, Emily “Weave” W. and Tom R., setting up for the Get Started Meeting in Grapevine on March 19.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up dallas fort worthOn March 26, local 3-Day supporter, Title Nine, greeted walkers with fruit and water before and after a 3-mile Walk & Talk on the Katy Trail in Dallas.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up dallas fort worthTeam No Walker Left Behind helped lead a 4+ mile training walk & Meet-Up at the No Walker Left Behind HQ in Cedar Hill on March28. It was the perfect start to a perfect weekend in Texas. The “hill” in Cedar Hill is appropriately named, and Coach Gayla noted, “I had flashbacks of [walking in] San Diego while my hamstrings and calves screamed ‘Yowza!’ as we hiked up and down through training walk leader Mary T.’s neighborhood.” susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up dallas fort worth

San Diego

Saturday, Feb 28 was the first Walk & Talk of the season in San Diego. It threatened rain but that didn’t stop this group of 16 walkers—6 of whom were brand new to the 3-Day—from walking 5 miles along the beach in Mission Bay. Coach Kim told us, “New walker Pam S. (pictured in the back row with the teal jacket) shared with us that this was the first time she had ever walked 5 miles. At the start of the walk she thought she would only try and complete 3 miles, but the next thing she knew, she was having so much fun walking and talking with others that 5 miles just snuck up on her and she felt great! She was so excited to get home and write her fundraising letter and include her 5-mile story. It was pretty awesome watching the excitement of all the new walkers.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up san diego


BONUS Meet-ups!

Coaches Eileen (Twin Cities) and Jennifer (Michigan) hosted a Chicagoland gathering on February 12 in Rosemont, IL. More than 15 people attended, with the majority being registered participants, and it was a really good mix of new and veteran walkers.  The energy was amazing and everyone really seemed to appreciate keeping the 3-Day spirit alive in the Chicago area.  We had introductions and fundraising chats and two veterans from the group are planning another big reunion training walk in August. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up chicagoland

Tampa Bay
On March 21, approximately 30 Tampa Bay area walkers and crew members met up for a couple of hours at Columbia Restaurant. It was a great afternoon of connecting with old friends and meeting new ones!susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up tampa bayland

Dallas/Fort Worth coach Liz and San Diego coach Staci (who live in Phoenix and San Diego, respectively), hosted a reunion on March 19 at Claim Jumper restaurant in Tempe for past Arizona 3-Day participants. Most attendees are going to be walking or crewing in other 3-Day events this year, including San Diego, Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles meet-up arizona


If you couldn’t make it to a meet-up in March, fear not! The April calendar is packed with dozens of Meet-ups and more. Visit the 3-Day website to find a local event near you.