Congratulations to Pala L., the 2015 Michigan 3-Day Milestone Award Winner

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to one walker who has an outstanding history or participation in the Komen 3-Day, and we were thrilled to recognize the incredible Pala L. with this special honor in Michigan last night. Pala has walked in 14 3-Day® events since 2009, and this year, she has the distinction of being a 3-Day series walker, meaning she will be walking all seven 3-Day events. High five, Pala!

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Pala became familiar with the 3-Day when she saw it happening near where she lived. “Like many people, it was something I thought about once in a while. The idea of camping, something I had never done, did not appeal to me (not realizing I could sleep elsewhere if I wanted). So I never acted.  Two years out of treatment, however, the 3-Day came right in front of my house! And the following year as well.  What an experience THAT was! After having walkers continually thank ME for standing in my yard and cheering, I knew I had to try this ONCE (Pala laughs!) to see what it was all about.“

Pala has raised, at press time, just under $52,000. “I literally fundraise year-round. Some months more activities than others, but it seems it is the only way I can get it done. On the flip side, it also keeps the 3-Day in the faces of everyone I know,” she said.

What advice would Pala give to somebody new to the 3-Day? “Prepare. In order to have both a successful and fun weekend, you need to train and have the proper gear, including clothing. Work out all uncomfortable issues during training season.  This is not the time to skimp on the cost of a good pair of shoes. Or socks. Your feet will thank you!”

Thank you, Pala, for your continued dedication to the 3-Day and the fight against breast cancer. We have a feeling she’ll be back next year, because in her words, what brings her back to the 3-Day is “The feeling. The feeling of doing good for others. The feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of knowing we are making a difference. The feeling of love, caring and kindness. When you can’t wait an entire year to experience these feelings, you walk more than one 3-Day per year!”

Congratulations to the Dallas/Fort Worth Milestone Award Winner, Burt L.!

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to one walker who has an outstanding history or participation in the Komen 3-Day, and we were thrilled to recognize the incredible Burt L. with this special honor in Dallas/Fort Worth last night.

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Burt with Dr. Sheri

This is Burt’s 11th year participating in the 3-Day®, with this Dallas/Fort Worth event being his 19th event. He originally got involved with the 3-Day as a way to honor his dear cousin Judy, who lost her battle to breast cancer in 2004. Just one week after her passing, Judy’s daughters registered for the San Diego event, and it didn’t take Burt long to decide to put his body on the line and join them. Over a decade later, Burt still captains team JuJu’s Girls (and Boys) in Dallas/Fort Worth, in Judy’s memory.

In his time as a 3-Day participant, Burt alone has raised an astonishing $182,170. Even with a total as impressive as that, it’s not the huge numbers but the small moments that stand out the most. Burt shared one of his favorite memories from a 3-Day event, which happened a few years ago here in DFW on Day 3 of the walk. As he was turning a corner after a big cheering station, Burt saw an elderly woman sitting on a beach chair along the sidewalk. She was holding a sign that said, “Thank you. I am a 50-year survivor.” Burt approached her, knelt down, took her hand and kissed it. The glow on her face made all the aches of Day 3 disappear. It’s the kind of connection that makes the 3-Day such an miraculous experience, and Burt is the kind of person who makes those connections his priority.

Congratulations to Burt, the Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Milestone Award winner.

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.