From Pain to Gain – and $1.4 Million

When Tina McDonough was asked to walk in the 2007 Seattle 3-Day with three friends in honor of her friend Michelle, who was living with breast cancer,  she couldn’t refuse. She remembers vividly how she felt physically while walking those 60 miles. “I had not trained enough, and was hurting – bad!” Tina confessed. That, she thought, would be her first – and last – 3-Day walk.

When Michelle lost her fight against cancer just two months later, Tina  was no longer deterred by her memories of the physical discomfort of her first walk. “I watched Michelle’s 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart,” said Tina. “Attending her funeral was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I knew I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory. I figured training and fundraising as a group would make it easier.” So her team, Valley Girls and Guys, was born.

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The 3-Day: Atlanta Style

Saturday night’s Camp Show said it all: from the choir Shades of Pink to the dance party that just kept going, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Atlanta this year was one good time after another. The Crew of more than 300 volunteers gathered before the event and very early on Friday morning to make sure the kickoff at Stone Mountain was just perfect. A chilly but dry morning blossomed into a beautiful sunrise as more than 1,000 walkers stretched, did Zumba, and cheered to the launch of a 60-mile walk that would raise over $2.9 million for breast cancer research and local support. Many first-time walkers enjoyed the inspirational Opening Ceremony and over 100 men joined the Komen 3-Day in Atlanta this year!

“Playing it cool” was the name of the game as walkers circled Stone Mountain through the large production set and onto the streets of Clarkston, Avondale Estates and Decatur. A large group of Bank of America employees at Pit Stop 3 cheered walkers who had started to feel the pains of the challenging walk. “No one said anything about those first hills!” smiled one walker when I asked how the day was going. Cheering stations in Decatur and possibly one of the most adorable group of pre-schoolers near the Clarkston First Baptist Church kept spirits high as participants finished the 21.6-mile day at the World Congress Center in Atlanta. Shelley Middleton gave a moving speech that night at the camp show and the Milestone Award was presented to Beth White for her eight years of dedication to the 3-Day®. She has personally raised $65,600 to date and counting! What an inspiration for the fight against breast cancer.

Day 2 rained on and off, enough for walkers to don ponchos on the 19.3-mile route through the northern areas of Atlanta. The Youth Corps once again provided some entertainment at lunch in the Buckhead neighborhood, and the cheering stations, including the Komen Greater Atlanta Affiliate were just awesome. The much anticipated Shades of Pink Choir (made up of 18 breast cancer survivors) rocked the house while the walkers and crew dined after the long day, and an impromptu duet of “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” (Martina McBride) by two of the younger walkers made the evening a musical delight. Joe Moore, a co-survivor, and Melissa Traylor, a young survivor, reminded  the large crowd of why we all work so hard. After the great camp show, things didn’t slow down. A dance party to rival any 3-Day Dance Party exploded with the Youth Corps leading things off!

Day 3 included a 15.3-mile route through Atlanta. The walkers enjoyed especially sunny and cooler weather and a great sunrise as they moved through Piedmont Park and Freedom Park. The Woodward Eagles cheerleaders entertained at a private station near Emory University. Walkers and crew finished the route at Turner Field to the cheers of family and friends (and two wedding proposals!) and celebrated the fight against breast cancer through a program of remembrance of lost loved ones and an appreciation of the survivors of breast cancer. The Survivors’ Circle gathered to raise the flag: “We Will Never Give Up!”

What is your favorite memory of the Atlanta 3-Day?

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS

Atlanta 3-Day Day 1 Atlanta 3-Day Day 1 Atlanta 3-Day Day 1 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2 Atlanta 3-Day Day 2

Atlanta 3-Day Day 3 Atlanta 3-Day Day 3 Atlanta 3-Day Day 3 Atlanta 3-Day Day 3

Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s not just the leaves that are changing color this October. October also turns a brilliant pink as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes over. Our Susan G. Komen 3-Day community is definitely well outfitted to wear their pink pride!

In addition to continuing to share stories from the 3-Day, we will celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by featuring important news from the Susan G. Komen® website. Here are two great websites to check out:

I Am Susan G. Komen: Five contributors share how they were affected by breast cancer and the role that Komen funding has played in their journey. The 3-Day’s own Richard Perrine is one of those featured. Don’t miss the video clip at the end of his story.

Susan G. Komen® Blog:  Breast cancer survivors, scientists and advocates share their stories on the Komen blog. Check it out for updates on Komen-funded research and their mission.

2013 San Francisco 3-Day  Closing Ceremonies flag bearers

2013 San Francisco 3-Day Closing Ceremonies flag bearers