There Are No Words…

On the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, breast cancer survivors are always close to our hearts and bright in our thoughts. They are reminders of the great strength and courage that can grow out of horrible adversity, and they are proof that what we are doing matters.

Every survivor has a story and I was inspired to learn about Krissie, a 6-time walker, and 6-time cancer survivor.

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“I was first diagnosed with sarcoma cancer of the abdominal wall at the age of 15. I had several recurrences over the next few years and was finally cancer-free at 19.”

Krissie got married, had kids and thought that cancer was far in her rearview. Being a survivor, she was passionate about doing something that mattered. She saw a commercial for the Komen 3-Day in January of 2008 and thought, “That is exactly what I need to do. I thought, what an amazing event and it was my time to do something.”

But right around that time, while doing a self-exam, Krissie found a lump in her left breast. “I was 28 and we didn’t think the lump was anything to worry about until they got in there and discovered that it was cancer, and that it was in my lymph nodes as well. So they removed the lump along with a bunch of lymph nodes. At 28 I didn’t think I had to worry about breast cancer, especially with no family history. I started chemotherapy treatment and began the healing process.” Part of that healing came from the 3-Day.  “I had no idea that the 3-Day would become even more meaningful than I knew possible. I believe that everything happens for a reason and without this walk I would not be here.”

During her very first 3-Day in Chicago, Krissie met Lori and Kim. “We are all pretty fast walkers, and as we walked we started talking and talking and talking. We finished that walk that year and did not see each other until the next Chicago 3-Day, but when we did, it was immediately as if we had never been apart. That was the year that we realized that this was not just a ‘walk’ friendship but a lifelong friendship. We always say that something so horrible is what brought us so close, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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Lori, Kim and Krissie

I asked Krissie what advice she would give to new walkers. “The first time I walked, I was terrified that I would not finish. I was undergoing treatment at the time and had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that this walk would change my life forever. The walkers, the community and the amazing volunteers helped me finish my first walk with a new sense of strength and hope. My advice for first-time walkers would be to take it all in. Don’t miss a thing. It’s going to be a hard and tiring 3 days but it’s also going to be the most amazing 3 days of your life. Listen to the stories. Laugh with new friends. Cry with others. Enjoy every second and don’t rush through it!”

Krissie, Lori and Kim—or KLK, as their team is called—have walked together every year since 2008, and are traveling to the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day this November. “They have been there every step of the way. There was a year that I was not able to walk and those girls walked every mile for me. It was a gift that will stay with me forever.”

“There are no words for the support I have gotten from my family and friends. My husband has been my rock. He has seen more than any husband should. He has wiped my tears, held my hand and picked me up off the ground. I have been blessed to be surrounded by an amazing family who has supported me every step of the way. I have always said that I have no idea what it must be like on their side, the fear that they must have, but I continue to get strength and hope from them every day. They let me get mad and they let me cry. They make me smile when I don’t want to. My teammates show me the light at the end of the tunnel.  We will continue to walk together for as long as we can.”

I also asked Krissie what her relationship with other survivors has been like. “I have met so many amazing people along the way. I have heard stories that have given me the strength to go on, to keep fighting. Many I keep in contact with, and some I have lost along the way. There is a moment at the end of the walk when all the survivors are in their pink shirts and it’s as if we have all been there for each other the entire time. photo(37)

“You gain a new family.”

 

Make the Susan G. Komen 3-Day a part of your family. Visit The3Day.org for information.

 

Celebrating Powerful Women, with Dr. Sheri

In honor of National Women’s History Month starting on March 1, we asked Dr. Sheri Prentiss, the National Spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, as well as a breast cancer survivor and a walker herself, to share some thoughts about what it means to be a powerful woman.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.

When you think of the most powerful women you know, who comes to mind? Some of us think of political figures like Hilary Clinton. Perhaps you think of Oprah or Beyonce or other entertainers.

It’s easy to recognize power in celebrity, or status, in those we see on the news, or the ones that write best-sellers or live in the public eye.

But true power is something much more subtle and sublime. Webster’s Dictionary defines powerful as “having power, authority, influence”. According to this definition, being powerful has nothing to do with being a public figure, a millionaire or a politician.

While the world certainly needs revolutionaries, entertainers, and politicians, what the world needs MORE of are everyday women, not using their power to position themselves over others, to re-write history or be rich and famous, but women who will use their power to create awesome lives for themselves and others. Women just like the ones I meet on every Susan G. Komen 3-Day®!

The world is in desperate need of women who channel their power into touching hearts with their authenticity, stirring emotions with their self-expression, and impacting their worlds with their regular lives. In doing these things, we DO change the world, we WILL re-write history and we will be remembered – as women who knew and exercised their power.

What are the secrets of powerful living? How can you invite more power into your life? It’s easier than you think…

1. A powerful woman exercises her authority. This doesn’t mean you go bossing people around, but it does mean you stand up for your values, refuse to be a door-mat, take full responsibility for your life, reject the victim role, refuse to settle for less than you deserve in life and love, and use your power to speak your mind.

2. A powerful woman spots her leaks, and patches them right away. We all have an incredible capacity for power. Think of this capacity as a gas tank, power being the fuel that moves you. When you have a leak—even the tiniest pin-hole— you lose your power. Where in your life do you lose power? What people, activities, obligations, or thought processes drain you of your power? When you find them, patch them by making whatever changes are necessary.

3. A powerful woman surrounds herself with other powerful women. The truth is that you won’t always feel strong and in control. Troubles, fears and real-life problems have a way of draining our power. Women who are connected to other women can share their power. When one friend is low on power, another can siphon some of hers to share. When you’re driving on empty and putter out on the side of life’s highway, a caring friend can pick you up and bring you to the nearest re-fueling station. How many caring friends have you found in our loving Komen 3-Day family?

4. A powerful woman re-fuels regularly. Like fuel, power gets spent the more you move. The more you exercise your power, the more necessary it is to re-fuel. A powerful woman does this by connecting with inspiration on a regular basis. By expressing her creativity, by reading good books, by praying, meditating or exercising. There are a million different ways you can re-power. Pick what appeals to your heart and do it. I don’t know about you but every 3-Day® event that I participate in is a way for me to re-fuel.

5. A powerful woman shares her power. It seems to go against what we think of as powerful, doesn’t it? The good news is, sharing your power doesn’t give you any less power. You can share your power perhaps by mentoring a teenage girl, or by participating in a 3-Day, raising your kids to be strong and independent, or by putting your arm around someone who’s sad and empty—there are countless ways you can share your power. And unlike those dreadful fuel-leak energy-drains, this one actually works in reverse. When you share your power, the world becomes a little brighter, a little more beautiful, and YOU become even more power-filled than you were before.

So my questions to you today are: Where is your point of power? What energizes you? Where do you lose power? How do you re-fill your tank? And how can you share your power?

Today, consider your amazing capacity for a powerful life. And start living it.

– Dr. Sheri

Renew your sense of power by participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Register through Friday, February 28 for a special registration price of only $50. Don’t wait! The price goes up to $70 on March 1.

A Mother/Daughter Weekend – 3-Day Style

Joellyn W. experienced her first 3-Day as a walker in 2009, after she’d already worked for the 3-Day coaching staff for 5 years. It was a meaningful experience for her, in many ways.

Me and Dr. W

Joellyn and her mom share their 3-Day journey

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year earlier, had surgery, completed my treatment and was ready to do something to celebrate my surviving and thriving, so I decided to walk in the 3-Day. My mom also registered for the 3-Day Medical Crew, and we experienced our first 3-Day journey together. It was the best of the best.” Continue reading