March 3-Day Meet-up Round-up

All across the land, our Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches are busy getting walkers and crew members prepared and pumped up. Take a peek at some of the meetings and training walks that brought our Komen 3-Day family face-to-face since last month!

Michigan – The continually nasty winter temps couldn’t keep our Michigan 3-Day participants from gathering at the end of February for a reunion/reception at the Novi Civic Center. Just look at those smiles!

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Seattle – 3-Day coach Aubrey shared, “My library overbooked the room I was supposed to have for my meeting. At the last second, Paula and Jon [Aubrey’s fellow Seattle coaches] helped me get in touch with the RSVPs. I had 4 RSVPs but ended up with 8 attendees at a restaurant around the corner. All but one were first-time walkers!”

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There was also a Seattle 3-Day Reunion at a local bowling alley, which brought in nearly 30 attendees. New friendships, good food and bowling? Sounds awesome.

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And this little cutie accompanied her mom to a Get Started Meeting. Aubrey said there were lots of great questions, laughs and inspiration, and called it her “greatest Get Started Meeting yet!”

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Atlanta – Our Atlanta training walk leaders are excited to hit the pavement with the new and veteran walkers. They met up last week to chat about this year’s training goals.

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Dallas/Fort Worth – Oh my gravy! The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day coaches and participants have been busy this month!

A small but mighty group of all new walkers gathered in Dallas.

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The Go Federal Credit Union team, Cure for the Coconuts, met for happy hour with 3-Day coach Gayla. They are all new walkers and are so excited to get started. They’re already working on recruiting more of their co-workers to walk or volunteer in Dallas/Fort Worth in November.

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Another small yet strong Get Started Meeting began with only 3 attendees, but brought in a fourth who just happened to be passing by the room. Gayla shares, “She saw the video and was crying after.” Isn’t unexpected inspiration amazing?

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Team Z-Bra Girls is led by 9 year veteran walker Nina R., and in all their years of walking, they had never been to a Get Started Meeting. So Gayla met up with them at a Mexican restaurant to encourage more recruitment. They had a blast and captured this adorable picture.

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Seventeen-year-old Katie H. is on her way! She’s on the Presbytittyans, walking with her friend Emilee W.  Katie is pictured at a Get Started Meeting in Frisco with her mom, a nurse who is thinking about joining the Medical crew in Dallas.

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And finally, No Walker Left Behind captain, Mary T. hosted a Lunch & Learn at her home in Cedar Hill, where a great group joined to get even more inspired about walking.

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San Diego – The San Diego 3-Day community has taken advantage of its year-round sunny skies and started training. Coach Kim and an incredible 23 walkers completed a 3.85-mile Walk & Talk. Way to go, San Diego!

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Have you and your teammates been meeting up to plan, train or fundraise for the 3-Day? Send us your stories and pictures, or post them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (don’t forget to tag #The3Day). And if you’re looking for an official 3-Day meet-up in your area, click here to find our calendar of local events.

The Michigan 3-Day Success

A successful Michigan 3-Day celebrates at the Closing Ceremony at Ford Motor Corporate Headquarters

A successful Michigan 3-Day crowd of walkers celebrates with Dr. Sheri at the Closing Ceremony at Ford Motor Corporate Headquarters

Some of the  highlights of the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day must include great weather, exciting community support and a great group of veteran and first-time walkers. The weather wasn’t too bad, either, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s during the day. The Opening Ceremony was a combination of some excellent Zumba, a beautiful sunrise behind Dr. Sheri’s welcome, and a wonderful group of flag bearers and breast cancer survivors.

No one can deny the strong community support for the cause. Private cheering stations dotted the route each day, with a special welcome in the town of Plymouth on Saturday. Not only is the square packed with people cheering on the walkers, but the community continues to dye the town fountain a very appropriate color of pink! From firefighters on Saturday to hundreds of local cheerleading squads on Sunday, the community came out with their full support of the fight to end breast cancer.

Michigan 3-Day friends stop in the shade of Pit Stop 2 on Sunday morning

Michigan 3-Day friends stop in the shade of Pit Stop 2 on Sunday morning

The Milestone Award was given to Barry Blauer at the Camp Show on Friday evening. Barry continues to be a driving force in the campaign to end breast cancer and has shown it with a commitment of over ten years and individual fundraising efforts that top $141,000!  We can’t thank Barry enough for his commitment to the 3-Day family and for his large part in helping Komen fund its mission to end breast cancer.

Barry Blauer receives the Milestone Award at the 2013 Michigan 3-Day

Barry Blauer receives the Milestone Award at the 2013 Michigan 3-Day

As a photographer and writer along with the 3-Day® this year, I was once again moved by the sheer number of extraordinary stories among the participants from personal tragedy-turned-miracle to those who had just lost a mother to cancer. Each person had a profoundly touching story. A boyfriend pushed a participant 60 miles, after she had obtained her funding, but then tragically had broken her foot, which was in a cast.  Without the need for notoriety, he silently moved over the course as attention was often diverted to his girlfriend’s cast. I noticed him stand silently beside, attentive but clearly not interested in the limelight. I saw them multiple times each day, with his limp worsening slowly in one knee. He wore sunglasses and a hat. He rarely spoke. I still do not know his name.

Somehow I felt he was the story of every walker who might never be “known” or tell their story to a large audience. Perhaps I didn’t ask his name because I wanted him to remain the universal walker, one who endured all without recognition. I think that’s who he is.

As the Closing Ceremony commenced, the participants gave tribute to breast cancer survivors without the need for a cue. On one knee and with a shoe held high, the Survivors’ Circle gathered in the middle of the Ceremony and later raised the flag, symbolizing the commitment to find a cure for breast cancer. What an event and what a success. Those who raised money including both the walkers and the crew of the 2013 Michigan 3-Day gathered a staggering $2.6 million. Thank you to all those who made this event in Michigan another wonderful success! See you next year!

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 2013 MICHIGAN 3-DAY

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 to find a cure for breast cancer. Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 2 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.

Out of a Wheelchair, Onto the 3-Day

Dr. Sheri awaits TJ as she marches to the Michigan 3-Day flagpole on Day 2, after being told many years ago that she would never walk again

Dr. Sheri awaits TJ as she marches to the Michigan 3-Day flagpole on Day 2, after being told many years ago that she would never walk again

Most individuals (even well-trained athletes) have a difficult time on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® if they have not trained by walking. Walking 60 miles over three days seems to bring out aches and pains that 3-Day® participants never knew existed. For TJ, walking had not been an option for five and a half years! Eight years ago, her health deteriorated rapidly, leaving her in a wheelchair and having doctors tell her that she would likely never walk again.

Last night, she walked unaided into camp.

That was after walking twenty miles yesterday, without help, and that was after twenty miles on Friday. It’s safe to say that TJ refused to believe anyone else, and in 2011, she completed the Michigan 3-Day in a wheelchair. “Even people close to me were saying, ‘You don’t have to do this!'” TJ explained last night. “I had to do it. In 2012, I did the whole Michigan 3-Day with a walker.” Thanksgiving 2012 was the first day that she managed an entire day without a walker. Her next goal? The 2013 Michigan 3-Day with no help.

TJ raises the flag "We Will Never Give Up" as the Michigan 3-Day walkers and crew cheer

TJ raises the flag “We Will Never Give Up” as the Michigan 3-Day walkers and crew cheer

TJ has had three generations before her endure breast cancer, and the Michigan 3-Day has been a source of trial and strength where she combines her desire to help others through breast cancer research and awareness and her own challenges to walk again.

Amid the sea of clapping participants and tears, TJ hoisted the flag, “We Will Never Give Up,” accepted a standing ovation at dinner, and took her place among all those who have conquered. With confidence, she states, “All battles can be won.”

TJ rests at Pit 2 on the 2013 Michigan 3-Day

TJ rests at Pit 2 on the 2013 Michigan 3-Day