5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help You Prepare for the 3-Day

Ah, the turning of a new year. It’s a time when we stop to remember the last 365 days (well, 363 at this point, but who’s counting) of challenges and opportunities, setbacks and victories, tears and laughter, and look ahead to all that 2015 will have to offer. For many of you, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® is on your 2015 radar, and while any day is a great day to start moving forward toward the goal of participating in the Komen 3-Day, January 1 is as perfect a time as any to make some resolutions that will bring you closer to that objective.

  1. Register – Seems simple, right? And yet, loads of people think about doing the 3-Day®, talk about doing the 3-Day, even call the coaches to ask questions about registering, but sadly, many of those well-meaning folks never end up registering. Taking that first step can be the scariest part of all. But making the big move to actually sign up for the 3-Day is making a commitment to improve the lives of countless strangers, while also enriching your own life through an indescribably amazing experience. What better way to start off the journey into the new year than to set your sights on that extraordinary destination? Register by April 6, 2015 and you’ll save $20.954833_10154839463985392_3117132205361215331_n
  2. Tell Your Friends – Once you’re registered for the 3-Day, the next resolution you can make is as easy as can be: tell people what you’re doing! You (hopefully) will be very eager to share news of your 2015 3-Day registration with friends and family anyway, but aside from sharing your excitement, telling people will help hold you accountable, and keep you from falling into the “I registered…now what?” rut. Which reminds me: in the midst of telling your loved ones that you’re doing the 3-Day, give the 3-Day coaches a call and tell them too! They love hearing from you, even if it’s just to say hi and tell them, “I’m in!” You can reach the coaches at 800-996-3DAY.
  3. Drink more water – This is a resolution that I renew every year. If you think of it in terms of just drinking more water, the “more” feels kind of non-specific and, perhaps, makes it less likely that you’ll stick with it because of that vagueness. So I like to make it a little less ambiguous: I resolve to drink one glass of water for every non-water drink I ingest. Need that cup of coffee in the morning? Down a glass of water first. Can’t resist that peach iced tea at lunch? Order a water with it and refuse a refill on the tea until the water is gone too. Like to enjoy some other tasty beverages after 5 o’clock rolls around? Commit to consuming a water course in between rounds. All that extra H20 in your system will lead to you feeling healthier and more energized overall, but will also prepare you and get you into the habit of staying hydrated when your 3-Day event rolls around later in the year.Hydration 1
  4. Take the stairs whenever possible – Like with the water drinking resolution, the pledge to “walk more” may feel imprecise and uninspiring. So crank up the motivation factor by making the plan specific and attainable: if there’s an option to take the stairs instead of an elevator/escalator, do it. That’s just one clear-cut way to incorporate more activity into your daily routine; you can be creative in thinking of other ways too, such as always parking in the farthest parking spot you can find, investing in a pedometer or fitness tracker and setting a daily step goal (for most people 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles, a bold yet achievable daily target), or, if you like to layer your challenges onto one another, resolve to always be moving while drinking your water courses. The point is, the more movement you can put into everyday practice now, the more fit and prepared you will be when you really start diving into your 3-Day training later in the year, and more confident about ultimately attacking the big 60 miles.905516_10154821442060392_6658135689896285332_o
  5. Ask for a donation once a week – Raising $2300 for the 3-Day is a huge undertaking, and I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t benefit–mentally and emotionally–from breaking that amount down into smaller pieces. There is no donation that is too small to make a difference, except for the donations you don’t ask for. So make a commitment, at least once a week, to ask someone for a donation. I’m talking about a direct request to a specific individual (as opposed to a weekly mass posting on Facebook, though there is a lot of potential benefit to doing that too). Whether or not you ask for a specific amount is up to you, though I recommend that you do. But ask. At least once a week. More often if you can. If you need inspiration with how to ask, check out our Fundraising Challenge posts on Facebook, the Creative Fundraising board on Pinterest, or search “fundraising” here on the 3-Day blog.

What other New Year’s resolutions are you making to help you prepare for the 3-Day?

 

Congratulations to the San Diego 3-Day Top Fundraisers!

In the early hours of Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in San Diego, there was some concern that the weather was not going to cooperate. After a rainy night and early morning, the Opening Ceremony site was covered with puddles and a light drizzle continued to fall. But by the time the Ceremony had begun, the dark clouds had passed, leaving a dazzling blue sky and stunning sunrise. The change from gloomy to glorious was a fitting parallel to what many Komen 3-Day participants experience in their fundraising journeys: a concerning start, followed shortly by a lifting of the clouds and dazzling prospects ahead.

If that analogy is true for the average 3-Day® fundraiser, it’s even more fitting for the top fundraisers for the San Diego 3-Day, individuals and teams who shine through the clouds more brightly than anyone.

Top Individual Fundraiser

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Michelle (center), the Top Individual Fundraiser in San Diego

Michelle B., the captain of Team Michelle, has made remarkable strides in her five years as a 3-Day walkers. This year, she earned the distinction of top individual fundraiser, bringing in an amazing $42,212. Across her five events, she has raised a lifetime total of $57,072. In addition to growing her fundraising total, Michelle has grown her team from 14 their first year (2010) to 35 this year, including her nephew, who traveled from Kansas with his mom to participate as part of the San Diego Youth Corps this weekend.

Top Fundraising Team

Susan G. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog san diego top fundraisers team Powered by Optimism

Representatives from PBO (left three), including team captain Amy B. (center)

It’s hard to walk around the San Diego 3-Day without seeing the name Powered by Optimism. The San Diego 3-Day’s largest team with 109 members, Powered by Optimism, or PBO as they’re known, was also the top fundraising team in San Diego this year, raising $302,745. The team, led by captain Amy B. (who was also the Top Training Walk Leader in San Diego this year) is in its 5th year as team, and has raised a grand total of $901,291 in that time. Wow!

Top Crew Fundraiser

Susan G. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog san diego top fundraisers crew

Top Crew Fundraiser, Carol B. (left)

It’s worth mentioning, in case anyone isn’t aware, that 3-Day crew members, while encouraged to raise moneyas part of their crew commitment, are not required to raise a cent. This reality makes the $15,017 that was raised by Top Crew Fundraiser Carol B., all the more astonishing. Carol, a member of the Traffic Control crew team, is participating in her 9th event over her 8 years with the 3-Day, and is a 10 year survivor.

(Side note: In addition to Carol, there are two other crew members who have raised more than $10,000 in San Diego this year. Our heartfelt thanks go to Lori O. and Sandi S., both members of the sweep crew team, who each raised $10,102.01, more than 3 times what is required of individual walkers. Amazing!)

Congratulations to all of these extraordinary members of the 3-Day family, and every San Diego 3-Day participant who raised money this year. With you, we are all that much closer to our goal of ending breast cancer in our lifetimes.

“She might not get a miracle, but she could be a miracle for someone else.”

Warning: this story may make you cry.

It will make you sad. It should make you angry. It should fill you with frustration and grief, as it did me when I met Lisa L. on the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, then sat down to speak with her at length.

Lisa and her friend Brittney walk as part of team “Sasha 26.” Sasha is Lisa’s daughter. 26 is how old she was when she was taken by breast cancer.

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Brittney (left) and Lisa (right), representing team Sasha 26

Hearing Lisa recount the particulars of Sasha’s breast cancer journey—diagnosed Stage III at 23 years old after months of needless run-around and delays (as is often the case because she was so young, Sasha’s lump was dismissed and an initial mammogram denied); a rapid spread of the disease to her lymph nodes and lungs; surgeries and multiple chemotherapies—it’s unmistakable how closely Lisa was involved in everything that happened during the three years between 2010 and 2013. She sounds like a medical journal, the way she details specifics about the different diagnoses, tests, medications and procedures, but it’s the passion and indignation in her voice that can only come from a mother, especially when the news was as bad as it could be.

“She went from a clean bill of health to, you have 4-12 months to live.” Sasha’s cancer had metastasized into a rare form that was extremely difficult to treat, and extremely painful for Sasha. “It’s devastating to think you’ve won this battle only to be knocked down again…” The pain was real for Lisa too, being a mother whose daughter was, in many ways, forsaken by much of the medical community and ultimately was taken too soon.

I wanted to know more. I wanted to learn what would bring a mother to an event like the 3-Day. As Lisa told me, “The 3-Day is a huge thing for the community itself, but I’m still grieving for my daughter, and to be totally honest, I don’t feel like celebrating breast cancer. My daughter’s not a survivor. I’m a mom who fought for my daughter to live, and it’s hard to be part of the whole excited part.”

It’s completely understandable. With two daughters of my own, I could not imagine the grief and agony of losing a child. But here Lisa is, moving forward, about to tackle the final 4 miles of the route on blistered feet.

She is quick to point out that “Walking wasn’t my idea.” Lisa and Brittney are both Air Force Reserve officers in Texas (Sasha was also enlisted in the Air Force). “My unit has been so supportive of me with my daughter going through breast cancer and passing away. My unit just rallied around me. It’s a big unit, there are 250 of us, but Brittany had heard of Sasha’s story, and when I returned to the unit after Sasha had passed, she came up to me and told me that she was going to walk in Sasha’s name.” Brittney smiles subtly and sits quietly as Lisa continues. “I asked her who she was going to walk with. I mean, you don’t walk 20 miles a day, times three, alone. So I asked her who she was walking with, and she said, ‘By myself,’ and I thought, I just can’t let her do that. She’s doing this for my daughter. I need to be with her, to do it also, to help carry my daughter’s name for 60 miles.”

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Lisa has her beautiful daughter’s image tattooed on her arm

So Lisa signed up. She and Brittney went quickly from being acquaintances to teammates, and got to training and fundraising. “We raised money through all kinds of ways—through our unit, through our families, churches, neighborhoods.”

Brittney had her own connections to breast cancer as well. “I have three breast cancer survivors in my family. I know not everyone is as fortunate. I have these three women in my life today, so I realize how blessed I am to have them, because they could just as easily not be here. I’m really grateful that they’re here. There are plenty out there who don’t have that opportunity. They don’t have that chance.”

Lisa and Brittney’s friendship, cemented by this shared experience, is evident. Brittney laughs, “Yeah, there’s no turning back now! We can’t just see each other after this and go, ‘Oh, we only walked 60 miles together, no biggie!’ There’s no going back after that.” Lisa adds, “I have a deep respect for Brittney. She was going to do this by herself. She was inspired by the women that survived, and inspired by a young woman that didn’t. That, I think, proves a lot about her character and her spirit. I respect her for doing all that.”

I asked Lisa what Sasha would have thought about her doing the 3-Day. “Sasha would’ve been right here with me, and not once would she have complained about her blisters,” she answered with a chuckle. “Sasha was pretty tough. She never complained. Never complained, never said a harsh word, and she smiled throughout the whole thing. People would ask her, ‘Sasha, how are you?’ and she would answer, ‘Very well, thank you. How are you?’ And I would think, you’re not well! But she immediately asked about them instead. She was a beautiful soul, and I’m very proud of her. It’s funny, because I used to try and make her into a ‘mini me,’ now I’m trying to be like her!” I think that’s really beautiful.

“I’m trying to be like my daughter now. Like I said, she fought this disease, and she asked the doctors not to give up on her. Dr. Santosh Kesari [a San Diego-based neuro-oncologist] never did. He never gave her a time limit. And I think that’s what helped. That’s why she lived for 19 months, instead of the 4-12 months the other doctors gave her. He never put a time stamp on her.” To have finally found doctors willing to take on Sasha’s aggressive case was a big step, even if it came late. “They tried some things that other doctors wouldn’t try, and they slowed down the cancer. And now they’re doing it for other patients. On tumor boards, they still talk about Sasha today. From all the procedures and the chemos they tried on her, they were able to extrapolate what happens to the body when they go through these procedures. What happens to the cancer.”

“Sasha surprised everyone. She amazed everyone. Every time she walked through the door, they were just amazed by this young woman. Her strength, her courage, her grace.”

I asked Lisa what she would take away from the 3-Day experience. “I will always cry for just me and my daughter, but from here, I take away the bigger community, the bigger aspect of what breast cancer does to other lives as well. Because for me, it’s just my daughter. But I know other people get cancer, I know that. It’s invasive. It knocks everybody for a loop. But yet, it just brings everybody together too. They stand up and say, ‘Let’s get on with this!’ There’s a bigger camaraderie here, and so much more. You’re able to honor people.

“I knew it was a fundraising event, but actually, it’s more than that. I think these women come for bonding moments, they come for support, they come because they don’t want their daughters to have breast cancer. There was a lady we met on the trail who was walking by herself. We asked her why she was walking, and she said, ‘I just wanted to.’ She couldn’t get anybody to commit to do it with her, but she did. She just did it! That’s pretty remarkable. You meet special people, because it takes someone special to do this.”

We’re interrupted by a woman who politely asked, “Excuse me, are you walkers?” Lisa and Brittney acknowledged that they were, and the woman thanked them for walking. She was visiting Dallas, and had no idea the 3-Day was in town. She was an 8-year survivor who happened to find herself in the same park as our Day 3 lunch stop. It was a brief, 20-second exchange, and when she walked away, Lisa looked at me and said, “It’s moments like that.”

Brittany, meanwhile, had been sitting quietly, listening to Lisa’s story with the attentiveness and respect of someone who hadn’t heard it many times already. I asked her what she would take away from the 3-Day. “The camaraderie. People who gave their time to come out and support you. Just little things. Handing you a bottle of water. We saw one house that just had a pink polo shirt hanging outside. Just little things like that, just saying hey, we know what you’re doing and we appreciate it. That camaraderie is amazing.”

I asked, “It may be too soon to think about this, but do you think you’ll do it again?” Lisa laughed again (a nice sound), and said “I think once my blisters are healed and I’ve forgotten the pain! We’ll definitely do it again. We will. And maybe we can get a bigger group together, because now we kind of know the ropes. I think with our experience, we might be able to recruit more people next year.” Brittney added, “It’s a challenge, it is. But it’s well worth it. Because we can. That’s the big thing. I’m still here to walk, so why not?”

Lisa went on, “I just admire every person that comes out here. Women and men of all ages. What is inspiring is that they know they’re going to hurt. They already know. They know it’s going to be rough and be a trial, but they’re going to do it anyway. They do it over and over again, they keep plugging away at it until it’s something that—until breast cancer isn’t a death sentence to some of us.”

I ended our conversation by expressing my gratitude to Lisa for sharing her story. I told her that I know that this has probably been a really difficult weekend for her in a lot of ways, and, I hope, a good one in a lot of other ways. Her willingness to share was so important, because I think a lot of people need to hear that the story doesn’t end as well for some.

But I told Lisa her story’s not over. She replied, “Sasha did a lot for the medical community. She did a lot for teaching her mom a few lessons, and I think she taught others. Sasha said to me that she might not get a miracle, but she could be a miracle for someone else.”

I think that’s pretty clear.