The Dallas-Fort Worth 3-Day

Even with a chill in the air, the Texas sun rose on a beautiful Opening Ceremony at the Collin Creek Mall on Friday morning for the start of the 2013 Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. Crew members gathered even earlier than the walkers (in the dark!) to set up and ready themselves for over 1,200 participants who took to the streets, pounding 60 miles of the pavement to raise $3.3 million for breast cancer research and prevention. Participants walked 20.6 miles on the first day with Aldridge Elementary children packing the sidewalks to cheer them on. Richardson’s Fire Department and Police Department were particularly supportive, stopping along the way to cheer and help with street crossings.

Bank of America gathered up a great group of employees to pump up the walkers at Pit Stop 3, which was staffed by local Susan G. Komen affiliate employees. Beautiful weather continued throughout the day as walkers moved from Plano, Richardson, Dallas, and onto to Brookhaven College in Farmers Ranch, the site of camp. The Camp Show at night is a time to be entertained, to recognize those who have gone above and beyond in fundraising and overall commitment to finding a cure, and to hear inspirational messages from survivors. Friday night did not disappoint as Delese Hill-Range gave a touching address, and Cathy Hite was recognized with the Milestone Award for her serious commitment to the cause of fighting breast cancer.

Day 2 started out chilly but exciting as walkers lined up for the opening of the route and the 19.8 miles that awaited them. The New Balance-sponsored cheerleaders from Bishop Lynch Friars cheered the walkers into Pit Stop 2, and participants were greeted with some great trail walking and a huge cheering station sponsored by Susan G. Komen North Texas Affiliate just before some well deserved lunch. A big ‘Thank You’ to the city of Addison for its hospitality on Day 2! On return to camp, walkers retreated to the Bank of America massage chairs and, if needed, to the help of our great Medical Crew. At the Camp Show, co-survivor Burt Lipshie and young survivor Cara Welsh gave fresh perspective on why we continue to fight against breast cancer.

Day 3 started out with big smiles knowing that it would be the final miles before the finish of the event. The Crew helped facilitate a bus drop to the Ursuline Academy where the route opened onto the 16.8-mile course that would take participants through some of the beautiful parks of Dallas and into the city. An anticipatory excitement awaited so many first-time walkers as they neared the finish line in Centennial Park. The cheers of family and friends brought many tears to the walkers who had come so far. An emotional Closing Ceremony outside in great weather at the Fair Park reminded us of the loved ones we have lost. With one shoe held high, participants gave tribute to those breast cancer survivors with us today on the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. The crowd danced to “We Are Family” as the Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day wrapped up. See you next year in Texas!

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS 

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In Texas, Real Men Wear Pink

Kevin works in IT and is known for his hog hunting skills, but is also man enough to walk the Komen 3-Day in a little pink and show his support for fighting breast cancer

Men always have a thing about being “real.” The Los Angeles Raiders used to say, “Real Men Wear Black.” That’s understandable since black is often associated with masculinity. For the past four months, however, I have met more ‘real’ men wearing pink than I ever thought possible. Who are these guys? They are men enough to cry when they talk about a wife they lost. They are men enough to put an arm around a stranger on a 60-mile walk. And yes, they are men enough to wear a pink tutu and walk down the streets of Dallas/Fort Worth.

That’s a real man for you.

Tom supports the Dallas-Fort Worth 3-Day and honors his wife by carrying a special flag

Tom supports the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day and honors his wife by carrying a special flag

“I don’t mind wearing pink!” said Tom, early on Day 2 before the walk started. “My wife is a breast cancer survivor, and I have had many other friends who have battled the disease. I teach school and I’ve been wearing pink shoelaces for about a year now.” Tom was asked to carry a flag in honor of his wife in the Opening Ceremony.

Frank was dressed in the blue colors of Team Tiara. “They had adopted me into their team!” he explained at the beginning of the route on Day 1. He also toted the cutout of a dear friend and walker who unfortunately was undergoing surgery on Day 1 of the 3-Day even though she had already raised her money to walk. Affectionately dubbed “Flat Janice” the team carried these “flat” cutouts of their teammate to tote her along for the long walk. Frank seemed pretty content with his adopted team.

"Flat Janice" is supported by her team and teammate Jim on the Komen 3-Day in Dallas-Fort Worth this weekend as she could not attend at the last minute

“Flat Janice” is supported by her team and teammate Frank on the Komen 3-Day in Dallas/Fort Worth this weekend as she could not attend at the last minute

Mark and Jason looked like two linebackers as they strolled into Pit Stop 3 yesterday on the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. They could have sacked the entire group of Bank of America employees who had gathered to cheer on the walkers. They were walking fast and had met each other on the route, but had different reasons to walk 60 miles. “I’m walking  so my 14-year girl doesn’t have to worry about cancer!” said Mark. Jason was ‘taking the place’ of his wife who wanted to walk but could not. These were not the usual pink-clad walkers you see on a Komen 3-Day weekend. The two men wore their comfortable gear, but accented themselves with pink, including a baseball hat that read: “Real Men Wear Pink.”

Dubbed "The Linebackers" by the author, Mark and Jason cruise through the 60-mile course on the Susan G. Komen Dallas 3-Day

Dubbed “The Linebackers” by the author, Mark and Jason cruise through the 60-mile course on the Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day

Even Youth Corps enthusiast Eli got involved because of his grandfather. “My grandpa actually died from breast cancer,” said Eli at the lunch stop for the walkers. Eli had to raise $500 and go through a rigorous interview process to be accepted into the Youth Corps, which supports the event. Eli’s youth group is identified by their brilliant yellow shirts, with of course, some excellent pink highlights.

Eli supports the Dallas 3-Day by assisting the Youth Corps, a hard-working group of young volunteers for the weekend

Eli supports the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day by assisting the Youth Corps, a hard-working group of young volunteers for the weekend. He is joined here with fellow Youth Corps member Sarah

Father and son combo Frankie and Nathaniel stood out to me on the early morning of Day 1. They were not surrounded by a large team of women. They had not been invited to walk with a group. They were just out alone, to walk for their wife and mother. It was clear that the walk meant quite a bit for them. “By doing this walk,” said Frankie, “we can do something about it. We can have our say!”

Eli supports the Dallas 3-Day by assisting the Youth Corps, a hard-working group of young volunteers for the weekend

Frankie and his Nathaniel start Day 2 of the Dallas-Fort Worth 3-Day in honor of their wife and mother

Frankie and son Nathaniel represent all the men who pick up the pink banner and join the hundreds and hundreds of women and men who walk to fight breast cancer this weekend in Dallas/Fort Worth. Thank the men in pink this weekend on your Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day event!