Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2014 – Part 1

Every one of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches has countless inspiring and moving interactions with our amazing Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members. I asked them to relive some of their most touching memories from the 2014 3-Day® season.

Gayla Cruikshank (Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach) – I am honored to know so many outstanding Susan G. Komen 3-Day walkers and crew who work literally all year long to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer while still taking care of their own careers and families. It’s a true privilege to be a part of an organization that helps so many people.

One of my greatest memories of 2014 is being backstage before Opening Ceremony with the survivors and the participants who carried memorial photos and honor flags. The energy and hugs were amazing! The stories and tears were emotional and inspiring, like Lisa L., walking in her memory of her daughter Sasha, who died at age 26.gayla backstage 2

I was inspired by 80-year-old Ralph M, who has walked for three years and has raised over $11,000. He recently asked me how he could help a friend who has been re-diagnosed with breast cancer and needed help. I sent him to the local Komen North Texas Affiliate and within a few hours they were able to connect her with a grantee who will assist her with her insurance and treatments. Even beyond his work with the 3-Day, Ralph is helping others daily.dfw ralph

I also had such a great time having my own family members on the event this year (my 16-year-old Codi participated with Young Women Walking, and my 23-year-old daughter Darcy and my mom, Doy, crewed the Ta-Ta Towing sweep van).

Paula Hultman (Seattle Participant Coach) – San Diego walker Lori B. registered for the 3-Day just weeks before the event. She is a survivor and first-time walker who was determined to do whatever it took to reach her fundraising goal and walk in her first 3-Day. Unfortunately, Lori’s dad passed away suddenly about 3 weeks before the 3-Day was to take place, and Lori’s attention immediately was redirected to her family. I spoke with her and told her to focus on her family, and suggested she postpone her 3-Day journey to 2015. Lori wouldn’t have it. She was more determined than ever to reach her fundraising goal and participate – for herself, and now in her father’s memory. And that’s exactly what she did! She called after her event and said the 3-Day was more amazing than she could have ever imagined.  Lori is my 2014 San Diego 3-Day hero – and she is already registered and fundraising for 2015!Lori Brown 2

Ann Love (Michigan Local Events Coach) – I think my most memorable moment was being backstage as the folks who were carrying memorial photos in Opening Ceremony saw the enlarged pictures of their loved ones for the first time. There were tears and smiles and hugs. All the memories, happy and sad, that those pictures brought out in the participants and then the support offered by their fellow participants as well as all the staff that was back there – it’s why I love the event. It’s not always easy, but there’s always someone to lift you up when you need it.

Eileen Barnick (Twin Cities Participant Coach) – There are so many great memories and I can’t remember them all now!  I do know that it changed over the course of the year. Every time I hit a highlight, there was another one right behind it! Some of them included: finally meeting in person the friends I had met over the phone during the course of the season; registering a very nervous “I am not sure I can fundraise” participant eight weeks before our event and then seeing her become the number two fundraiser; meeting participants on our event who told me I was the reason they were there; getting camp mail in San Diego from one of the full-series walkers, thanking me for what I do each day. There were also some moments that gave me goosebumps and broke my heart, such as hearing Ashley and Nicole tell their story on stage in the Twin Cities, and seeing one of our long time Twin Cities participants being pushed into Closing Ceremony in a wheelchair, knowing that her remaining days were short. She passed away in October.

And of course the biggest highlight was being on event in so many cities this year and seeing first-hand the amazing people who are making a difference in others’ lives every day.

Jon Lueders (Seattle Crew & Volunteer Coordinator) – We had a walker in Seattle named Dena who was celebrating the fact that she made it through Day 1 by literally jumping for joy at the finish line. But she landed wrong and hurt her knee to the point of being unable to walk the rest of the event. I was approached and asked if we could allow her husband to push Dena in a wheelchair the rest of the weekend. I of course was happy to oblige, to the joy and relief of both husband and wife.

As this was a happy yet fleeting moment, I was pleasantly surprised when I got to see Dena later in the event series. Even with her injury, she was determined to walk an entire 3-Day event this year, and got back to work rehabbing and training for the San Diego 3-Day. Unfortunately, her injury worsened, and was unable to walk once again. But this did not stop her from making the trip to San Diego to support her team. When I had the chance to speak with her, she said something to the effect of “Of course I was going to be here to support my team. They supported me when I was hurt in Seattle, I want to pay it back.” This, for me, just solidified the dedication we find on event. Not just the dedication to walk and raise funds, but the dedication each walker feels to their 3-Day family.

Give a Year-End Bump to Your 3-Day Fundraising

There’s no mistaking that December is one of the busiest months of the year for most people. And it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that many Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participants are focusing on things other than their fundraising efforts for the 2015 Komen 3-Day. That said, there are some easy and efficient ways to give a little nudge to your 3-Day® fundraising this month before we turn over the calendar to 2015.

iStock

iStock

Ask! – If we here at the 3-Day sound like a broken record with this piece of fundraising advice, it’s for a very good reason: it works! The single best way for you to receive donations is to ask for them. Simple as that. And December is as good a month as any to ask. You’re likely to be seeing more family and friends in person than in most months, and an in-person ask is the most powerful and effective.

Leverage the Holidays – Everyone is running around like crazy getting their holiday preparations done. If you’re not swamped with holiday to-dos yourself, volunteer to help out your friends and family in return for 3-Day donations. You can offer your services as a babysitter so parents can go shopping or attend holiday parties. You can wrap gifts. If you’ve got a culinary bent, you could prepare food for festivities. Feeling extra handy? Offer to hang holiday lights on houses.

Add an Ask to Your Holiday Cards – If you’re like me, you’ve got a list as long as your arm of loved ones who will be getting your family’s Christmas card this year. Did you know that the 3-Day has these handy inserts (for walkers and crew), which you can print out and include with your holiday cards? You’re sending love and good cheer to all those people anyway, so why not let them know that you’ve also committed to hope and change in the new year by walking in the 3-Day, and ask for their support?2015_SGK_Holiday-Card-Insert_Walker_fp 2015_SGK_Holiday-Card-Insert_Crew_fp

Offer a Friendly Tax Reminder – Most people are already aware, but it never hurts to remind your supporters that any charitable donations made in calendar year 2014 will be tax deductible in 2015. In fact, research has shown that more online charitable donations are made on December 31 than any other day of the year. If your donors give one more time before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, it will end up benefitting not only the fight against breast cancer, but potentially their 2015 tax return too! You can even turn it into a fun “Countdown to the Cure” gimmick on the 31st; each hour, post a challenge on Facebook or Twitter asking your friends to get their donations in before the ball drops.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic – It’s possible that your 3-Day fundraising may get a little bit (or a lot) neglected in December, and that’s totally fine and understandable. If you’re able to get just one donation this month, it’s one donation more than you had, and one step closer to your goal. We know that, no matter what, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running (well, walking, but walking with purpose!) in 2015.

What are your best year-end fundraising strategies?

 

The 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Series, By the Numbers

Seven locations. 420 miles. More than 8,500 walkers, 2,000+ crew members, and countless lives touched. Let’s look at our 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Series, by the numbers.

Michigan 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-Day walk blog 60 miles breast cancer michiganDonations: $2.4 Million
Walkers: 875
Crew: 350

Twin Cities 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-Day walk blog 60 miles breast cancer twin citiesDonations: $2.0 Million
Walkers: 750
Crew: 225

 

Philadelphia 3-DayIMG_2216Donations: $3.8 Million
Walkers: 1,350
Crew: 300

 

Seattle 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-Day walk blog 60 miles breast cancer seattleDonations: $2.7 Million
Walkers: 925
Crew: 275

 

Atlanta 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-Day walk blog 60 miles breast cancer atlantaDonations: $3.2 Million
Walkers: 1,100
Crew: 300

 

Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-Day walk blog 60 miles breast cancer dallas fort worthDonations: $3.1 Million
Walkers: 1,150
Crew: 300

 

San Diego 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-Day walk blog 60 miles breast cancer san diegoDonations: $6.8 Million
Walkers: 2,400
Crew: 350

 

The fundraising totals listed represent how much was raised by the time each event rolled around, and we’re thrilled that every single Komen 3-Day continued bringing in donation dollars even after the last walker left each Closing Ceremony. With those continued donations, matching gifts and series gifts, the 2014 3-Day® series is on target to exceed $25 million raised toward the fight to end breast cancer.

There’s not a number big enough to calculate our gratitude to you, our 3-Day family, for your part in the fight.