To our 3-Day Family: What Gives You Strength?

Every day, we’re moved by the amazing people in our Komen Family who exhibit such passionate and dedicated displays of strength. While we celebrate our 3-Day Family every day, this month, we’re highlighting what gives you strength. Together with Susan G. Komen®, we’ve asked several Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participants in Seattle (and soon in Atlanta, Dallas / Fort Worth, and San Diego) to share what gives them strength. We invite you to do the same, by commenting here on the 3-Day blog or by sharing with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Follow along on the official Susan G. Komen Facebook page to see more stories like Darrell’s:

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The 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Seattle Wrap Up

 

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What a weekend we had at the 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Seattle! The Seattle Center was the perfect backdrop for an inspiring and moving Opening Ceremony, with the Space Needle glowing behind the Fisher Pavilion. After a beautiful sunrise, we were reminded why we walk and crew by Dr. Sheri, moved by amazing survivor and participant stories, and headed out with our first steps, passing by the Experience Music Project Museum. Walkers crossed the famous I-90 Floating Bridge, were cheered on by the amazing Seattle community at the Park on the Lid on Mercer Island, and then enjoyed lunch at the ‘3-Day Diner’, complete with retro music, at Bellevue Park.

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After lunch and a stop by the Paradise themed pit stop, it was off to Mile 14.5, where walkers posed at the beautiful Bellevue Botanical Gardens. Into Redmond, we got a little more pep in our step from an energetic cheering station at Idylwood Park, complete with spectators handing out delicious snacks and holding heartfelt signs. After 22.9 miles, we arrived into camp at the gorgeous Marymoor Park, where the sea of pink tents popped against the blue and orange sunset. We got to meet Seattle’s top fundraisers, played a few games with our friends at Bank of America, and heard an inspirational story from Survivor Dottie C. We headed to bed empowered by the reminders of why we walk.

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Seattle’s characteristic gray skies set the scene for Day 2, but the gray cloud clover was appreciated as walkers embarked on the 20.8-mile route. At Mile 5.6, the Lake Washington Waterfront featured pit stop 2, also an amazing photo opportunity as walkers said ‘Cheese’ with passing boats in the background. At Heritage Park, cheerleaders created an enthusiastic tunnel of sparkly pink pom-poms. The community came out in full support, some serving handmade snacks like cream-cheese stuffed celery sticks, and some serving frozen Gatorade mocktails. At this point, the sun broke through the clouds, revealing a radiant blue sky, just in time for lunch under the trees at Juanita Beach Park. At Mile 20.8, walkers arrived home to camp, where they heard Sarah L. share her moving Survivor story, and series-walker William K. shared his many reasons why he walks.

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Day 3 began with a quick bus ride toward Seattle, and after 2.4 miles, walkers were treated with pit stop 1 at Gas Works Park, set against a sweeping view of the Seattle skyline. Then it was on to the Ballard Locks, a unique series of interlocking bridges between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal.

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The community, complete with dogs decked out in feather boas, and energetic cheerleaders, kept walkers going onwards to lunch, and then on to the majestic sights of Magnolia Viewpoint.

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At Mile 16.3, walkers celebrated their victory by heading back to the Seattle Center, rallied by the sights and sounds of hundreds of people in pink. As our crew, volunteers, wlkers, and survivors marched into the Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center, with the Space Needle standing proudly behind us, we were overcome with a fierce sense of dedication and triumph. With the help of 925 walkers and 275 crew, we raised $2.7 million dollars, and are now 3 days and 60 miles closer to the end of breast cancer forever. Thank you, Seattle.

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60 Miles, 101 Pounds: Meet Rhonda of the Seattle 3-Day

Beyond the incredible impact your steps and fundraising make toward fighting breast cancer on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, one of the perks of walking is the gift of fitness. With a dedicated training schedule and long walks, many Komen 3-Day walkers find themselves enjoying a healthier, fitter version of themselves.

And sometimes, that healthier, fitter “you” comes with an extraordinary story. Meet Rhonda, from Maple Valley, Washington, a first-time Seattle walker on Team Tracy. Through her training and preparation for the 3-Day®, Rhonda has lost a remarkable lost 101 pounds. “This is more than just my weight loss story,” said Rhonda. Rhonda decided to make a change when she saw her son was also struggling with his weight, and was being bullied in school. Education was their first step: Rhonda and her son went and saw a nutritionist, and they went to a class to learn about portion sizes, healthy eating, and fitness. “I set a goal every month to change my life. The first goal was to not drink carbonated drinks. I switched over to water and I probably lost 20 pounds off of that goal alone. As I started losing weight I started gaining energy, so I would go for walks,” she said. As Rhonda began to walk, she also began to fall in love with fitness. “The walks were so therapeutic for me that there were times I had to call my daughter and say “It’s too dark, can you come and get me?”

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Rhonda lost 65 pounds, and then found herself at a stopping point as she became comfortable with her changing body. However, somebody made fun of her, and Rhonda found new motivation from that experience. “I went and lost another 20 or 30 pounds, and I was still on the downward trend, and then my boyfriend asked me to marry him. I thought, I gotta lose more weight!” As Rhonda kept losing weight, she also began to really get in shape, noting that when you lose weight, it’s not about just dropping the pounds, it’s also about toning and adjusting to a newer, healthier you.

Rhonda has always wanted to do the 3-Day. “My mom is a double survivor, and my stepmom is a survivor. I always wanted to do the 3-Day but I was never in shape for it,” she said. Rhonda had wanted to do the 3-Day last year but was on vacation, so 2014 was the perfect time to enjoy her first 60-mile adventure. “I’m having a blast!” she said.

Before and After photo courtesy of Rhonda: Rhonda's 'Before' was 86 pounds ago, and she's lost another 15 since the "After" was taken.

Before and After photo courtesy of Rhonda: Rhonda’s ‘Before’ was 86 pounds ago, and she’s lost another 15 since the “After” was taken.

She admits that in addition to adopting healthy habits like eating right, getting enough sleep, drinking water, and exercise, a large part of her success came from hope and believing in herself. She has a tattoo on her wrist that says ‘Believe’ in a lovely black script, and Rhonda said, “When I’m doing planks and I want to give up, I look at my tattoo. Everybody always asks me, ‘believe’ in what? And the answer is myself, or my son, or my daughter, or the tooth fairy. Always believe.”

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What advice can Rhonda offer to somebody who is also looking to make a change to their weight? “A lot of people give up because their diet doesn’t work out. It took me six months to lose my first pound. It was six months of changing everything, and I did it the right way. It wasn’t a gimmick or a pill. Because I taught myself to be healthy, I’ve been able to keep healthy. Don’t give up hope.”

Rhonda’s hope, belief, and endurance transformed her life, but her life wasn’t the only one whose changed. Her son ended up also making healthier lifestyle habits, and is no longer bullied. “He tells me every day, ‘Mom, you changed my life’.”