Most individuals (even well-trained athletes) have a difficult time on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® if they have not trained by walking. Walking 60 miles over three days seems to bring out aches and pains that 3-Day® participants never knew existed. For TJ, walking had not been an option for five and a half years! Eight years ago, her health deteriorated rapidly, leaving her in a wheelchair and having doctors tell her that she would likely never walk again.
Last night, she walked unaided into camp.
That was after walking twenty miles yesterday, without help, and that was after twenty miles on Friday. It’s safe to say that TJ refused to believe anyone else, and in 2011, she completed the Michigan 3-Day in a wheelchair. “Even people close to me were saying, ‘You don’t have to do this!’” TJ explained last night. “I had to do it. In 2012, I did the whole Michigan 3-Day with a walker.” Thanksgiving 2012 was the first day that she managed an entire day without a walker. Her next goal? The 2013 Michigan 3-Day with no help.
TJ has had three generations before her endure breast cancer, and the Michigan 3-Day has been a source of trial and strength where she combines her desire to help others through breast cancer research and awareness and her own challenges to walk again.
Amid the sea of clapping participants and tears, TJ hoisted the flag, “We Will Never Give Up,” accepted a standing ovation at dinner, and took her place among all those who have conquered. With confidence, she states, “All battles can be won.”