How the 3-Day Stays Green in a Pink World

All of us here at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® work hard to create a safe yet memorable experience for our participants, from the time you register until after you take your victory walk into the Closing Ceremony. Putting on an event for thousands of participants takes a lot of preparation, and the Komen 3-Day keeps environmental consciousness strongly in mind, not just on Earth Day, but every day when planning and executing its events.

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Here are some things the 3-Day® does to stay green:

Before the Event

  • A few years ago, we began posting the 3-Day walker and crew handbooks online to save paper. Only walkers who are completely new to the 3-Day get a mailed set. Today, except for a single welcome envelope sent when you register, all of your 3-Day resources are provided electronically.
  • This year, we stopped mailing out printed informational brochures, and instead provide details about the 3-Day in emails and on our website.

On the Event

  • Event staff, crew and volunteers are meticulous about trash pick-up at all event locations (our expectation is to leave our event locations cleaner than we found them).
  • Many of our event materials, such as route signs, are reused from year to year.
  • We have separate receptacles for trash and recycled materials at all route stops and in camp, and most camp locations also have bins for composting.
  • Participants bring their own water bottles to the event, which allows us to use gallon jugs of water rather than thousands of single plastic bottles.
  • We mix sports drink in 5 gallon jugs for participants to fill their water bottles as well, which also cuts out single-bottle waste.
  • The event staff and volunteers use GPS units for the event vehicles, which cuts back on waste from printed maps.

After the Event

  • After the Closing Ceremony, participants can donate their used shoes, which we then send to recycling centers.
  • All of our leftover water and snacks from the events are donated to local charity organizations.
  • All of the tarps, air mattresses, sleeping bags, etc. that discarded by participants after the event are donated to local charity organizations as well.

 

3-Day participants make the world a better place by raising money and walking, and we’re happy to do our small part to leave that world a better place too. What do you do to stay green on your 3-Day journey?

“At Mile 1, I Found My BFF”

When a submission email for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® blog came in from Lisa C., I was immediately hooked by her subject line: “At Mile 1, I found my BFF.” Lisa, who is walking in the Komen 3-Day this year in San Diego, wrote, “I love surfing around on the 3-Day® website and have been inspired by the banners that read such things as: At Mile 20, I Found My Commitment; At Mile 34, I Found My Inspiration; At Mile 60, I Found My Strength, etc. This got me to thinking about what I found along the miles of my own 3-Day journey. The first thing that came to mind was: At Mile 1, I Found My BFF.”

In 2011, a friend approached Lisa about participating in the 3-Day and she agreed without hesitation. “I immediately said yes, [but not] because I knew anyone with breast cancer. I said yes because I love a challenge. I signed up right away.”

The friend who had recruited Lisa ultimately decided not to walk, but that didn’t stop Lisa from charging forward. “I threw myself into fundraising and training. I was a constant visitor to the Connections [Message Board] for the Twin Cities 3-Day. I was asking questions left and right and receiving responses. Finally, someone asked if I wanted to join Team Girlapalooza. It turns out that there were several lone walkers joining this team for various reasons that year.”

Team Girlapalooza met up early on Day 1 of the Twin Cities 3-Day, and after the Opening Ceremony, they started walking together. That’s where Lisa met a fellow Palooza, Marli.

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Lisa and Marli

Lisa describes their first meeting: “Have you ever met someone and it seems like you knew them forever? That’s how it was for me [and Marli]. Within the first mile, we found ourselves walking side-by-side, at the same pace. We began chatting.” They learned about each other’s lives, jobs, homes and families as they walked. Nothing like 60 miles to allow you to cover every topic under the sun!

Lisa also learned that Marli is quite camera-happy. “She was constantly stopping to take pictures of or with various landmarks, sunrises, sunsets, pit stops, fellow walkers, crew and safety personnel. By the end of the walk, I just had to hold out my hand for her camera. I just knew when she wanted a picture. She taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey, which was great because I am the type of person who would have put my head down and just plowed through.”

By Day 3, Lisa and Marli were as tight as could be, and were saddened to have to part ways (Lisa would head back to Wisconsin, Marli would be going home to Arizona). They agreed to walk the following year in Washington, D.C.—the home of Team Girlapalooza. “We kept in touch with each other via Facebook and a year later we found ourselves in D.C. We met a few days early and got in some sightseeing (yes we walked about 20 miles before the 60-mile walk!). During our trip we laughed at the same things, finished each other’s sentences and tripped over the same cracks in the sidewalk. We often found ourselves saying things like ‘I was just going to say that’ or ‘I was just thinking that!’” Lisa says they got so involved with talking and catching up that they missed seeing the White House and had to double back to take pictures.

It was around that time that Lisa found out about a friend’s breast cancer diagnosis. “I no longer was walking for myself but to honor Nancy’s struggle and determination to beat this disease. Knowing someone with breast cancer has made me much more aware of the struggles of others.”

Lisa and her 3-Day bestie Marli met again for the 2013 3-Day in Seattle but sadly, Lisa was unable to walk because of a broken foot. “I felt like I had failed. Marli was there to support me the entire time. She convinced me that I wasn’t quitting. I posted online that you know you are a 3-Dayer when you are laying in a hotel room on a comfy bed eating pizza but you really want to be eating mac and cheese and sleeping on the ground in a pink tent.”

Lisa, Marli and other Girlapalooza teammates will be reuniting for the 3-Day in San Diego later this year, and they both look forward to reconnecting and continuing their adventure.

Lisa wrapped up her story with a final thought: “So, for all of you first time walkers out there, know this: the Susan G. Komen 3-Day will change you in ways you never imagined. At Mile 1, I met my BFF.”

 

What have you found on the miles of the 3-Day? Tell us in comments!

The 3-Day Crew: “A family you’ll want to spend time with!”

We continue celebrating National Volunteer Week by spotlighting one of our many extraordinary Susan G. Komen 3-Day® crew members. Kit L. has been part of the Komen 3-Day crew for over a decade. To say she is committed to the 3-Day® is an understatement. In 2013 Kit participated in her 40th (!) 3-Day in San Diego. She has worked on almost every crew team there is, has served as crew captain dozens of times and intends to continue crewing 2-3 events every year.

Kit, who lives outside Chicago, first heard about the 3-Day on a radio commercial in 1999. “I heard the ad, and knew I had to do SOMETHING. My friend Roni had just been diagnosed and I felt so helpless. So, 60 long miles it was that year, and I have been smitten ever since.” After that first year, Kit thought she’d give the crew a try. “I began with the thought I would alternate [walking and crewing] each year, but crewing soon had me thinking otherwise. I started traveling to different cities, always as a crew member, and it truly became a passion.”

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Kit’s personal connection to breast cancer began with numerous friends whom she terms as breast cancer “thrivers,” not just survivors. The connection has deepened in recent years. “I lost Linda, my best high school friend, last year and I hate this disease even more now, but I know there’s a cure waiting after someone’s last step. When I was diagnosed with DCIS a few years ago, I knew that advances funded by Susan G. Komen® made a difference in my treatment and for that I will be forever grateful. We walk and crew for a reason, and I am living proof of that.”

Kit has a pragmatic, but inspiring philosophy about being part of the crew. “Crewing is like cleaning the house: you do it for others, certainly not for the glory. I love meeting the walkers and hearing their stories, and I love my mates on all of the crew teams I have been on. I have enjoyed being a team captain, as I surround myself with others who are so passionate and giving that they make ME want to be a better person.

“All you need to do is crew once, and you know what satisfaction it brings. I always get so much more in return than I ever put out. Crewing is a job where you put your needs last, and yet it feels so good. My philosophy is that the more you give, the more you get, and the 3-Day proves this over and over again.”

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Kit counts Sweep as one of her favorite crew jobs

A self-described optimist, Kit shared what keeps her going when the job gets tough. “I am motivated by my late friend Linda’s picture that keeps me going when it’s 30 degrees, in a monsoonal downpour, and I have hours to go before I sleep. Things like bad weather can be met with a chorus line at the top of a hill, all screeching ‘Singing in the Rain’ or other goofy actions. We have such a professional group that I never feel like I am alone, and dilemmas are often solved before they escalate. I try to keep an open mind, a loving heart and closed mouth.”

3-Day crew members are encouraged, but not required, to fundraise for the event but Kit has never considered fundraising to be optional. “I have always maintained that by crewing you DO need to fundraise. I set a goal for each of my team members and share with them my fundraising letter and social media techniques.” Kit fundraises enthusiastically even though she doesn’t have to, and has been the top crew fundraiser many times. “Yes, I have raised a lot of money over the years, and I am tenacious in asking everyone for their support. I send everyone updates and challenges, and have prizes for my crew members. If you let folks know how much it means to you, it will mean something to them. Last year, after my Linda passed, I sent a photo of us from high school and asked my friends to please help me make a world of no more suffering in her honor. If you bring a personal story to your request, I have found it means more.”

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I asked Kit what advice she would give to someone who is thinking about crewing for the 3-Day. “Try it. You’ll like it. Or in my case, try it, you’ll LOVE it, and it will become the most fantastic times of your life. Stay open, and treat it as a chance to meet your new best friends. It’s a family that you will want to spend time with!”

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Kit and the hundreds of volunteers like her. We literally could not do it without you!

**2014 Crew registration is closed for all events except Twin Cities and Seattle, which have limited openings left. We are still recruiting qualified health services professionals to join our Medical and Sport Medicine teams. To register for one of these Health Services Crew teams, or learn more about the 3-Day Crew, please contact one of our coaches at 800-996-3DAY. If you would like to serve as a Day Volunteer, visit The3Day.org/volunteer for more information or to sign up.