In memory of Jean…a husband’s reflections

One of the joys of my 3-Day journey is sharing the experience with my husband, George. This year marks our 14th walk together, and the weekend always brings us joy for the life we share. We know how fortunate we are that neither of us has had to fight cancer, and we hold hands a little tighter each time we see a walker who has lost their soul mate.

Bob S. began his 3-Day story with his wife Jean, as members of the 3-Day Crew in 2002. He walked again in 2010 and 2011, and made his 5th 3-Day journey in Chicago this summer. When Jean died of breast cancer in 2009, Bob channeled his immeasurable sorrow into conviction to continue the fight. Like many other walkers, he walks with the memory of his wife in his heart. Here’s what Bob had to share with me about Jean.

Bob Scanlan 1_Jean

Bob remembers his wife, Jean, and shares their 3-Day story.

“As I write this, it is the 4th anniversary of Jean’s funeral. It’s hard to describe the loss unless one has experienced it.”

“Many people ask, ‘Why me? Jean’s response was always, ‘Why NOT me? 200,000 women a year are diagnosed. Who said I get a pass?”

Jean did everything right. Doctors. Surgeries. Chemo. Radiation. All western medicine has to offer. In 2009 Jean came home from her last hospital stay, and died 8 days later. I was holding her hand when she took her last breath. She was too weak to speak the last 2 days – but when she could speak she had two sentences – ‘It is time,’ and ‘Take me quickly.’ Jean’s faith pulled us through. She had been a Catholic Nun, and I a Catholic Priest – prayer and faith helped us greatly. Jean would have loved to be at Haley’s First Communion – our only grandchild.”

“3-Day participants are not random people who happen along. The 3-Day family is made up of people with a very personal experience with cancer. They are survivors, families, and spouses like me. It is the openness and support – the sense of family – that gives me great memories. The Remembrance Tent in particular is always a special place to remember Jean.”

We asked Bob what he looked forward to this year when he walked in Chicago. “Reaching the finish on Day 3 and entering the holding area at Soldier Field is very special. Another year finished, more memories, and more funds raised.” Well done, Bob. You – and Jean – are an inspiration!

 

 

Do you walk in memory of a loved one? Are there other husbands and wives who share their 3-Day journey? Please share your special 3-Day moments in the comments below.

Sharing our 3-Day journey since 2002.

Sharing our 3-Day journey since 2002.

Day 3

Lee and Kathy Giller at the 2013 Cleveland 3-Day.

Making Memories with the 3-Day Coaches: Boston, Cleveland, Chicago

Participants on the 2013 3-Day in Boston, Cleveland and Chicago made this year’s 3-Day journey with mixed emotions, knowing the event would not be returning to their city in 2014. Our 3-Day coaches and event staff felt the same mix of joy and melancholy as they walked or supported our last events in these three remarkable cities. They share their love, gratitude and messages for the 3-Day participant community below.Cleveland finish

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The Inspiring Chicago 3-Day

The Chicago 3-Day kicks off in Northbrook, Illinois as walkers stride proudly onto the streets

The Chicago 3-Day kicks off in Northbrook, Illinois as walkers stride proudly onto the streets

We all watch the weather closely as the 3-Day inches closer, knowing that we will be at the mercy or the delight of the elements. “We’ve never had weather this wonderful!” commented one walker. “Chicago has either been hot or raining or both!” The sun rose on a temperate, crystal-clear Friday morning in Northbrook, Illinois, as the walkers, crew, and friends and family joined in the Opening Ceremony and burst out onto the streets, ready to walk the 21.3-mile course through the Chicago Botanical Gardens, Glencoe, Winnetka, Northfield, Glenview, and Des Plaines.  Our gracious hosts at Our Lady of Guadalupe/Maryville Academy allowed the pink tents to pop up for two nights in their spacious fields. What a camp show!  Dancers and singers both nights were top quality.

A team of Susan G. Komen Chicago 3-Day walkers gear up for Day 2

A team of Susan G. Komen Chicago 3-Day walkers at Pit Stop 1, with an additional photobomb

Saturday’s 19.3-mile journey through Mt. Prospect, Arlington Heights and Prospect Heights was peppered with some of the most lively and supportive neighborhoods, fire departments, and police departments anywhere. Pink police shirts, Mt. Prospect’s great team of firefighters, Arlington Heights’ pink fire engine, The Pair Tree, local cheerleaders, the pink balloon arch. The list goes on and on, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! We were proudly joined by the Young Women Walking group for the day, and they fit right in, pounding the pavement and making new friends. Like so many in the past, this memorable Saturday on the 3-Day® will be treasured.  Thank you all for your support!

The Young Women Walking joined up with our current walkers for a memorable Day 2 on the Chicago 3-Day

The Young Women Walking joined up with our current walkers for a memorable Day 2 on the Chicago 3-Day

Saturday’s 16.4-mile route led through the Lake Shore Drive area, but it was anything but quiet. Sunday in Lincoln Park was bustling with weekenders, and walkers were cheered on by individuals, a few Pit Stops and even a hot dog festival. The real treat, however, was the scenic entry with views of downtown, the lake, and finally Soldier Field. The pace had slowed by this time, for obvious reasons, and the gaits of many were stiffening after almost 55 miles over three days. It is this point where observers really start to see the rise of determination.

Downtown Chicago looms in the distance as a Komen 3-Day® team walks along the Lake

Downtown Chicago looms in the distance as a 3-Day team walks along the Lake

This is where drive starts to exceed ability and training. The last few miles of the 3-Day are often the silent struggle of participants, often reminding them of their own struggle over breast cancer or the struggle of those loved ones who have been physically pushed in their fights. Inside the stadium, alone, they often talk to me in passing, sometimes not really wanting to be heard, “If Judy could do it” “If my mother could fight it” “I’ve done it before.” Sometimes I take their pictures, and sometimes I do not.  But they can hear the cheers in stadium, and they know that the end is nearby, along with their families, the inspirational Closing Ceremony, and their dedication to finding a cure.

Chicago 3-Day walkers are cheered into Soldier Field at the end of their 60-mile journey

Chicago 3-Day walkers are cheered into Soldier Field at the end of their 60-mile journey

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CHICAGO 3-DAY

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer.