Congratulations to the 2015 San Diego 3-Day Award Winners

It was our honor to recognize the hard work and dedication of some of the outstanding participants of the Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day with special awards.

Top Fundraisers

The top crew fundraiser for the San Diego 3-Day was Heidi De Young from the Gear & Tent crew team, who raised $3,743. Over her sixteen events (covering eleven years) as a 3-Day participant, she has raised a total of $45,735. When she’s not walking the 3-Day with her team, the Coconutter Shutters, or crewing, Heidi enjoys dancing, especially ballroom dancing (though really any kind of dancing will do).SD top crew Heidi De Young

The top fundraising team for the San Diego 3-Day, Powered By Optimism, was also the largest team on the event. With 116 members, led by their captain Amy Benoit, the team raised a total of $279,375. Amy also received recognition as San Diego’s Top Training Walk Leader. Over the course of their history with the 3-Day, Powered by Optimism has raised a total of $1,192, 346! Incredible!SD top team PBO Amy Benoit

The top individual fundraiser for the San Diego 3-Day was Kathy Giller of team Breast Man Walking, who raised an astonishing $52,410! Kathy’s husband Lee is a breast cancer survivor and was a part of the Survivor Circle in the San Diego Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Over Kathy’s ten years and eighteen events with the 3-Day, she has raised a total of $290,380, but it doesn’t stop there: since Lee’s diagnosis with breast cancer ten years ago, Kathy and her family have together raised over $380,000 to help find a cure for breast cancer.SD top individual Kathy GillerKathy and Lee Giller

We applaud our top fundraisers, as well as the San Diego 3-Day community as a whole, who together raised a jaw-dropping $5.9 million in donations.

Milestone Award

The Milestone Award is given on each 3-Day event to one participant who has an extraordinary history of involvement with the 3-Day. This year, The Milestone Award for San Diego was presented to Lucy Millman.SD Milestone Lucy Millman

Over her eleven years and eleven events with the 3-Day as a part of team Sole Sisters, Lucy has raised a total of $174,179. For the second year in a row, Lucy is sharing her 3-Day weekend experience with her cousin and teammate, Emily. Emily spoke about her family, as well as Lucy’s history with breast cancer, “My cousin Lucy is the eldest of fifteen cousins; our mothers are two of five girls. We all grew up near each other, so we cousins are closer than many siblings. Our family first encountered breast cancer in 1976, when our Aunt Judy died at the age of forty-five. Then fifteen years ago, Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She courageously fought and beat that first round, then was diagnosed a second time in 2007. I’m pleased to report that in 2015, Lucy celebrates nine years cancer-free! Lucy is the first person I call in times of trouble, always reassuring, and ready to provide a caring, nonjudgmental viewpoint. I’m walking with Lucy this year for the second time. We walk to honor her battles, in support of all of our survivor friends, and in memory of those who have lost their lives, but whose spirits fight on.”

Before participating in the San Diego event, Lucy was integral to the Chicago 3-Day when she lived in Illinois. Her friend Joan shared, “She was a volunteer, a top fundraiser, and a mentor to other walkers. She is an advocate for this great cause and she works tirelessly to raise awareness about breast cancer and for Komen. She is a person who expects no recognition for all of her efforts and she shies away from the spotlight. She is a fantastic example of a survivor who continues to fight for others.”

We’re certainly glad Lucy emerged from her cave for the San Diego 3-Day. We’re inspired by her story and grateful for her phenomenal dedication to a world free of breast cancer.

Local Impact Award

The Local Impact Award was a new award for 2015, and was presented to a participant in each 3-Day city who has been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day in their community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees are participants who go above and beyond with things like leading training walks, attending local events, supporting the local 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference in their 3-Day community by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

We were pleased to honor walker Martin Heflin of team Powered By Optimism with the Local Impact Award at the San Diego 3-Day. Over the course of his seven years and thirteen 3-Day events, he’s raised a total of $30,390. SD Local Impact Martin HeflinAmy, Martin’s friend and co-captain, enthusiastically agreed that Martin was the perfect recipient for the award, “Impactful:  Yes! That’s a great descriptive term for Martin Heflin.  People may come to one of the walks he’s hosting simply to get started training.  It doesn’t take more than a 1/2 lap around Miramar Lake before they find themselves fully motivated to join a team and immerse themselves in the entire 3-Day experience (well, except camping, …we all know how Martin feels about camping).  Martin shares humorous stories and uses his endless charm to make people feel a sense of welcome and belonging.  Bottom line, he adds to the success of the organization because of his miraculous recruiting and retention skills.  Beyond that, year after year he raises well above the minimum required to participate and in addition to his numerous acts of volunteerism, he is also the well-loved co-caption of the San Diego based team, Powered by Optimism.  He’s played a HUGE part in their overall success and can proudly say that, with them, he’s raised over one million dollars in the fight to end breast cancer.  Now that’s impactful.”

What does a go-getter like Martin have against camping? Well, he served in the Army for four years, which explains his preference of staying in a hotel instead of a pink tent. Another fun fact about Martin: he was once a tour guide at the San Diego Zoo and can still remember the script verbatim (just ask him). He also loves Disneyland, and he and his family visit several times each year. From what we’ve seen and heard of Martin, Disney, in all of its magic and splendor, seems to be a fitting vacation destination for him. His friend and fellow teammate, Deborah, shared, “When I first met Martin five years ago he was co-captain of Powered by Optimism, but it wasn’t long before I was aware of how important he has become to the Komen cause overall,” said his friend and fellow teammate, Deborah, “It’s easy to underestimate Martin, because he deflects attention with self-deprecating humor and good conversation. But make no mistake, he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of breast cancer fundraising, volunteering and walking to raise awareness. He routinely raises far more than the minimum each year for the San Diego 3-Day, and volunteers in multiple cities as crew. If you have the opportunity to walk with Martin in a 3-Day, you’ll be entertained by his wit and wisdom and motivated by his child-like exuberance – that’s if you can keep up with him.”

A big thank you to Martin for his outstanding charisma and commitment to the 3-Day. And, of course, congratulations to the entire San Diego 3-Day family for a truly remarkable year!

December 1 is #GivingTuesday – Give Some Love to the 3-Day

This week marks the countdown to one of the busiest weekends of the year. On Thursday, families and friends will join to celebrate Thanksgiving. But just when the leftover turkey is packed up and the dishes are all (well, mostly) cleaned, here comes the shopping frenzy known as Black Friday, followed by the continued retail bustle on Saturday and Sunday. After that is Cyber Monday, the day when millions of consumers get out of the stores and on to their computers to find online deals and discounts. All told, American consumers spend billions of dollars getting a jump on holiday shopping.

But then, as the dust settles from the busy retail weekend, we have the breath of fresh air known as #GivingTuesday.

The website for #GivingTuesday (yes, the hashtag is part of the day’s name) shares this description of the holiday: “Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.”

The 3-Day = Giving

Here at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, we witness our participants’ dedication to giving. Every year, thousands of Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members give their energy, time, passion, emotion, and in some cases, even their toenails in a truly extraordinary effort to put an end to breast cancer.IMG_7506

And then there are the tens of thousands of 3-Day® donors who give their hard-earned dollars to fund Susan G. Komen®’s critical mission programs of research, community health, education, public policy and global initiatives.

Here are a few ways that the 3-Day community can make the most of #GivingTuesday:

  • Make the Commitment – If you haven’t already, register to walk the 3-Day in 2016. Registration for all 2016 3-Day events is open, and if you register by December 9, registration is just $35.IMG_8162
  • Make a Big Push for Donations – For those of you already registered for a 2016 3-Day event, use #GivingTuesday to make a big push for donations. Social media will be bustling with #GivingTuesday activity on December 1, so to help your efforts stand out, we’ve made some inspiring graphics for the 3-Day. You are welcome and encouraged to download and share these images next Tuesday. 3Day_2015_SocialMedia_Holidays_GivingTuesday_001_B 3Day_2015_SocialMedia_Holidays_GivingTuesday_002_B 3Day_2015_SocialMedia_Holidays_GivingTuesday_003_B 3Day_2015_SocialMedia_Holidays_GivingTuesday_004_B 3Day_2015_SocialMedia_Holidays_GivingTuesday_005_B
  • Make Yourself Seen – #GivingTuesday is promoted as a social media-driven day of charitable giving, so posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be your go-to methods of reaching people on December 1. This is not a day to be shy on social media; go ahead and post frequently without worrying about being “pushy.” This will be a day when people want to give; use our tools (and the quote photos above) to make yourself and your 3-Day fundraising stand out. Go to to add the 3-Day app to your Facebook page, and check out our suggested messages for social media at
  • Make it Easy – Remember, the easiest way for donors to give to your 3-Day fundraising efforts is online, and the easiest way for them to find YOU is through your personal URL (the web address that will point donors directly to your personal fundraising page). Need help setting up your personal URL? Click here for a handy how-to, or call the 3-Day coaches at 800-996-3DAY for help.

We’re eager to see how you make #GivingTuesday a remarkable day for the 3-Day! Be sure to share your stories with us on social media, and don’t forget to tag us with #The3Day in your posts.


2015 San Diego 3-Day Wrap-up

As one of the longest-running Susan G. Komen 3-Day® events there is, the San Diego 3-Day has become nearly legendary for being an incredible experience. With abundant sunshine, cool Pacific ocean breezes, and enough photo ops to fill an album, San Diego and its 3-Day event open their arms to participants from every corner of the U.S. (and beyond!). Walkers, crew members and countless supporters come together for three days of belief and hope in our promise to end breast cancer forever.

Day 1 began in the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning with the gathering walkers and crew members shivering against the chilly morning (well, chilly by Southern California standards…). But soon, they were greeted from the stage by Dr. Sheri, along with Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen® and San Diego local events coach Kim, who hosted the always-inspiring Opening Ceremony. IMG_8116 IMG_8060 IMG_8133

Walkers headed west toward the coast and a Star Wars themed pit stop 1 (“May the cure be with you.”) before reaching a cheering station which covered blocks of Del Mar Village.IMG_8302IMG_8332 This was just one of dozens of cheer spots along the route, places where supporters put the 3-Day on their calendars a year in advance to make sure they pull out all the stops.

At around the 5-mile point, walkers reached pit stop 2 before beginning the climb up the well-known (and somewhat feared) Torrey Pines hill.IMG_8420 It’s a tough one, but soon gravity lent a hand and walkers descended through La Jolla, into pit stop 3 at the Salk Institute. A vibrant cheering station at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography gave walkers the push the needed to make it to Kellogg Park for a beach-side lunch stop and some photo ops with local surfers.IMG_8504

After lunch, walkers kept to the coast, passing La Jolla cove, and coming across even more cheering stations and a festive pit stop 4. Many walkers were treated to smooches from the “Kissing Dog” and more scenic views (plus a few more hills…) through La Jolla, before the last waterfront stretch into Crown Point Shores, home of the 3-Day camp.

Dr. Sheri and Chrissy were back on stage to host the Friday night camp show. IMG_8657We heard a moving speech from Miguel Perez from Susan G. Komen headquarters, and another touching message from Amy, a mom of three and a young breast cancer survivor. Recognition was given to San Diego’s top training walk leader, top fundraisers, and Milestone Award winner.

With bright sunshine and clear skies, walkers set out along the water from camp on Day 2.IMG_8942 They were met almost immediately by San Diego Youth Corps Alumni at one of many cheering stations along the route. Pit stop 1 and a morning cheer station got walkers pumped up, which was good because soon they were gaining elevation again, this time into the hilly Sunset Cliffs neighborhood.IMG_9141 The climb was worth it, as panoramic views of the Pacific (as well as the New Balance cheerleaders) greeted the walkers at pit stop 2, and the views continued for miles back down into Ocean Beach and pit stop 3.IMG_9307IMG_9036 IMG_9227IMG_9294

Another public cheering station came next, then lunch at Bonita Cove Park. Many walkers’ families and friends joined them, and walkers leaving the park were given fresh gerbera daisies from a local grower.IMG_9325 The route continued along the boardwalk, with many walkers stopping for the endless photo ops, including a group of furry and friendly therapy dogs. Walkers arriving at pit stop 4 at Fanuel Park got the usual snacks and hydration, but got an extra special treat of fresh-baked cookies from some loyal walkers stalkers. The final stretch of Day 2 brought walkers back along Bayside Walk, which was lined with dozens of supporters, and back into camp.IMG_9468 IMG_9436

The Saturday night camp show featured fun games, a moving speech from co-survivor Melissa, and the San Diego Youth Corps. There was also a tear-jerking talk from well-known 3-Dayer John Shinar, who surprised the whole dining tent by proposing to his special lady on stage.IMG_9555

Walkers set out on Sunday morning for yet another beautiful day in San Diego, starting with the lovely DeAnza Cove as the backdrop for pit stop 1.IMG_0133 It was a string of supporters and cheering stations around every corner, including the MadCaps mother/daughter group before pit stop 2 and the NCL and DHL cheerers near the bottom of the Juan St. hill in Old Town.IMG_0230 IMG_0272 That climb was a doozy, but after reaching the top, walkers enjoyed a pass through a nicely shaded residential neighborhood before arriving at lunch at Mission Hills Park.IMG_0419

The second half of Day 3’s route was new and different, taking walkers through more lovely neighborhoods and back down to the sea and Harbor Drive. Pit stop 3 was a new location at Waterfront Park, complete with fountains and historic ships in the background.IMG_0453 Another couple of miles along the water and walkers crossed into the new Participant Finish Area at Embarcadero Park South.IMG_0586

With the sun setting to the west, walkers and crew members processed into the Closing Ceremony arena outside Petco Park, where hundreds of supporters lined the way. Dr. Sheri, Chrissy and Kim, our hosts from the Opening Ceremony and camp shows, were once again there to thank San Diego’s 2,200 walkers, 350 crew members, countless supporters, and event sponsors, and to celebrate the incredible accomplishment that the San Diego 3-Day achieved: raising $5.9 million.IMG_0659 IMG_0861 IMG_0811

And so, the 2015 3-Day season has come to an emotional close, but as we raised the final flag one last time over San Diego, we stood united with our 3-Day family in Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, and every spot in between, bound by our shared promise: that we will never give up until we have defeated breast cancer forever. Thank you, 3-Day walkers and crew!