Congratulations to the Seattle 3-Day’s Milestone Award Winner, Tina M.!

Join us in congratulating the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award winner, Tina McDonough, who was recognized in camp on Saturday of the Seattle event. Tina first walked the 3-Day in 2007 in Seattle, and has walked a total of 11 times (8 in Seattle and 3 in San Diego). She’ll make it an even dozen when she walks in San Diego this November. Tina is the captain of Valley Girls & Guys, Seattle’s largest team (which also has a San Diego team). Between their Seattle and San Diego teams, Valley Girls & Guys has raised over $1.8 million for Susan G. Komen® since 2007.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

While Tina’s legendary status with the 3-Day has been firmly established, her start with the event was humble and strikingly similar to many: she was recruited by friends to walk in memory of a friend’s sister. That first year, Tina also dedicated her walk to her friend Michelle, who was battling a cancer recurrence at the time. Tina recalls, “We walked that year and I swore I would be back volunteering my time not walking (as we did not train and I hurt super bad). But then that December, Michelle passed away at 38. Watching her husband and daughter fall apart at her funeral I thought to myself, I can’t not do anything. So I formed a team. That foursome team has turned into a 180 walkers between Seattle and San Diego and quickly became my life passion. I am doing exactly what I was meant to do and we will never give up until we find a cure!”

Tina shared that the Valley Girls & Guys team had 15 survivors within its ranks last year alone, and those brave teammates are a big part of what brings Tina back to the 3-Day year after year. “I feel like if I give up or quit doing the 3-Day I would be giving up on them, and I will never give up on any survivor/friend! This is my second family and I love every single one of them with all my heart!”

With nearly $2 million raised by Valley Girls & Guys in less than a decade, we had to ask Tina about the secret to her team’s 3-Day fundraising success. “Our team secret is we are family! We would do anything for each other and we do our fundraising together as a team. We have a huge March fun night out (coming up on our 8th year this coming March) where we typically raise over $150,000, and any teammates who participate, attend, etc. receive monies towards their fundraising. Just that one event gets many of our team members halfway to their fundraising goal.” Tina knows that that boost of help and the ongoing support from the team family is usually enough to get everyone motivated to succeed.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

Apart from participating in the 3-Day, Tina and her team show remarkable support for the breast cancer community in other ways too. Since February of 2013, Valley Girls & Guys have made and sent 284 personalized blankets, which they call blankets of “comfort and hope,” to cancer patients and survivors all over the U.S., and as far as Germany and Australia (each blanket is created with a photo of the team, and inspirational quote and the recipient’s name). Tina also shared an exciting new endeavor that the team is about to begin: “The other thing our team is starting is The Who House – Harnessing the Power of Community to Support Cancer Patients and Their Families. I have an office in [the Seattle area] that we are going to open up after hours Monday-Friday for those going through cancer, co-survivors, youth and those who have lost loved ones, as a place they can come talk, get support and have resources to reach out to. We have huge plans for this and are excited to get it started and off the ground.” Tina is a realtor by profession, and not surprisingly, she received the 2013 REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes realtors who have made an extraordinary impact on their community, or on the national or world stage, through volunteer work.

What is Tina’s best advice for someone thinking about doing the 3-Day? “Just do it and join a team if you can! ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ (TEAM) and in this case it means not only fundraising money, but you get so much more than what you will ever put in which is amazing. You end up with an experience of a lifetime, lifelong friends, and you are part of something bigger than you and making a huge impact/difference in the world!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

We extend our warm congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Tina and her Valley Girls & Guys teammates for their exceptional dedication to a world without breast cancer.

Congratulations to the Twin Cities 3-Day Milestone Award Winner: George N.!

Congratulations to George Nummer, the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day Milestone Award winner! George is in his 11th year of involvement with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, on his 32nd event, and has raised over $81,000 in his life towards fighting breast cancer.

George takes on Day 2 of the Twin Cities 3-Day

George takes on Day 2 of the Twin Cities 3-Day

George has walked the Komen 3-Day in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas / Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Twin Cities, and Washington D.C. (whew!). In 2007, George walked all twelve 3-Day® events, and with every step George takes, he’s helping to spread the message that early detection is key. Along the route yesterday, he spoke with 14 women who promised they would get mammograms. At the Camp Show last night, George asked women in the audience to raise their hands and promise that they would get mammograms. This passionate advocacy for detection has already saved one life, as George tells the story of a young women who got a mammogram despite her insurance not covering it because she wasn’t 40. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and thanked George for encouraging her to get screened. Because they caught it early, it was treatable. As he likes to say, “What’s more important: the money or your life?”

Fundraising $81,000 is no small feat, and George has fine-tuned his fundraising strategies over the years. “I was hesitant the first time I ever fundraised, and I put in a lot of my own money,” he said. One of George’s favorite ways to raise money is by writing letters. “I send a couple hundred letters out a year,” he said. He also recommends that you get creative with your fundraising. George is a retired electrician and started working side jobs for donations. He also learned to talk to people on training walks and to tell them about his fundraising goals. “Ask for a donation. All they can do is say no – you’d be surprised how many people will donate to you!” George has also sold buttons and badges for fundraising.

George sells buttons and badges for his fundraising efforts.

George sells buttons and badges for his fundraising efforts.

There’s no doubt that seeing George’s smiling face around both Michigan and Twin Cities this year has been a joy for many participants, evident in the numerous photo opps George has been a part of. George’s advice to other 3-Dayers? “Don’t make a race out of it. Take your time, stop and smell the roses, talk to people.”

“After I finish this walk, I’ll be 20 miles short of my 2,000 mile mark. So I signed up for Michigan for next year – after Day 1, I’ll have my 2,000 miles,” George said. We’re grateful for George and every mile he’s walked with our wonderful 3-Day family, helping us get one step closer to ending breast cancer forever.

Donna Lawson: Compassion, Community, Commitment

Donna Lawson was recognized on the Susan G. Komen Chicago 3-Day with the Milestone Award for her efforts in finding a cure for breast cancer

Donna Lawson was recognized on the Susan G. Komen Chicago 3-Day with the Milestone Award for her efforts in the fight to end breast cancer

When asked what was the secret to her fundraising success, this year’s Susan G. Komen Chicago 3-Day Milestone Award winner Donna Lawson simply replied: “I am blessed with thoughtful and generous people in my life who have continued to support me year after year . . . Some start asking if I am [participating in the 3-Day] again at the beginning of the year so they can plan for a donation later. I send letters through the old-fashioned US Postal Service with a self-addressed envelope and a donation form.  My letter provides an update on the last walk, a ‘thank you’ to those who have donated previously, facts about breast cancer, and Susan G. Komen® efforts.  I always send a hand-written thank you note to each person who donated, no matter what the amount.”

Donna’s humble and personal approach reflects her personality and is likely a driving factor in both her motivation for fighting breast cancer and her substantial fundraising ability. Her efforts, along with her children and teams, have topped $100,000 over 12 Komen 3-Day events!  “I am a breast cancer survivor, and I knew a few people who had done the walk previously,” recounts Donna.  “After the first 3-Day our family was addicted to the feelings during our first experience and wanted to continue that as long as we could.”

Donna Lawson waits backstage in preparation for the Opening Ceremony at the Chicago 3-Day

Donna Lawson waits backstage in preparation for the Opening Ceremony at the Chicago 3-Day

Seasoned as she is in the 3-Day® and in fundraising, Donna encourages new walkers to “absorb and enjoy” the feeling of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, to meet people and hear their stories and of course, to keep dry socks in plastic bags.  She reiterates, “If you are not moved by the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, I would be shocked!” What does the Chicago 3-Day mean to Donna Lawson? “Compassion. Community.  Commitment.”

Congratulations to the 2013 Chicago 3-Day Milestone Award winner Donna Lawson!