A Cure is Worth a Thousand Miles

Matthew Pickus, founder of the 60-Mile Men, will cross his 1000th mile today on the Michigan 3-Day in support of finding a cure for breast cancer

On Saturday, Day 2 of the 2013 Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day, Matthew Pickus will cross his 1000th mile in an effort to find a cure for breast cancer. Most veterans of the Komen 3-Day have heard of Matthew as the founder of the 60-Mile Men, a dedicated group of men who have raised a serious amount of money from their notorious calendars. They are also fierce participants as crew members and volunteers forming a strong core for the fight to end breast cancer.  I asked Matthew to provide his perspective on a few points of the 3-Day, on the day he crosses the 1000th mile in his personal journey.A thousand miles is a long way, does anything strike you about the journey as a whole?  Realizations?

Matthew on Day 1 of the 2013 Michigan 3-Day, displaying the infamous 60-Mile Men calendar and his "Mr. January" page

Matthew on Day 1 of the 2013 Michigan 3-Day, displaying the infamous 60-Mile Men calendar and his “Mr. January” page

“It’s been an incredible journey.  I have stories that will make one laugh or cry from every event I have been to. Every event, there are two or three people that will stay with me the rest of my life. The people I have met and shared the journey with are incredible. The 90-year old walker that completes all 60 miles like it was nothing; the walkers that battle blisters and heat and fatigue for miles at a time; the 35-year survivor that tells her story for the first time ever; every participant has a story and I’ve been honored to hear quite a few. (And for better or worse, I am sure that there are walkers from around the country that can include me in their 3-Day stories!)  I don’t walk the event as quickly as possible; just the opposite. It’s the people in the middle and back of the pack that I enjoy spending time with, just strolling the event, doing what I can to help others and enjoying the journey.  Sometimes just walking next to someone and listening to their stories it all they need to continue their journey. Conversation and laughter and even tears make the miles pass easier.”

What does the 3-Day® offer you and the community you’ve met along the way? (Besides you offering so much to other people?)

“The ‘bubble’ that is a 3-Day is very much how I wish the rest of the year would be, and how I try to live the rest of the year. Everyone is looking out for everyone else and sharing stories and laughing and even being open and vulnerable with each other. It is a magical time. If there is one take away–the 3-Day is the epitome of “it is the journey, not the destination.” Don’t rush it. Enjoy the time and even the hardships. Look around, meet people and talk and share and laugh and cry. The destination will be there when you get there.”

Hands together for Matthew today as he heads into camp for his dedication and extraordinary efforts in finding a cure for breast cancer!

Michigan 3-Day Top Fundraisers

We could not have ordered better weather for the Michigan 3-Day, which exploded onto the streets this morning at sunrise.  The walkers were cheered on by a strong contingent of local supporters, and a cool breeze eased over the camp during dinner.  At the Camp Show, our top fundraisers were announced!

Top Fundraising Team: Hines Pink Pathers, $131,023; Lena Cervantes (Captain)

Bank of America

Bank of America awards the Hines Pink Pathers via Co-Captain Lena Cervantes for their tremendous efforts

Top Fundraising Crew Member: Amy Nadeau, $12,165; Camp Services

Amy accepts a Bank of America recognition for Top Fundraiser

Amy Nadeau accepts a Bank of America recognition for Top Fundraising Crew Member

Top Individual Fundraiser: Jon Eaton, $26,444

Bank of America awards Jon Eaton for his efforts as Top Individual Fundraiser at the Michigan 3-Day

Bank of America awards Jon Eaton for his efforts as Top Individual Fundraiser at the Michigan 3-Day

These numbers are astounding, and we are inspired by all of the Komen 3-Day participants in their fundraising efforts! See you on Day 2 of the Michigan 3-Day!

Michigan’s “Patience” Flag

Carol E. smiles backstage before the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day

Carol E. smiles backstage before the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day

When someone is told there is a lesion on a mammogram or that a biopsy is positive for cancer, patience is not often the first virtue that rises to the surface. “Yeah, I’m carrying the ‘Patience’ flag, but I don’t know why!” laughed Carol E. from Farmington Hills, Michigan. “My friend didn’t believe me!” Carol is walking for the 5th time this morning since she was diagnosed in 2008 with a Stage 1 breast cancer and went through a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. While she couldn’t work for awhile, she was forced to move out of her home, something that would test anyone’s patience.

Instead of saying “Why me?” Carol adopted the philosophy, “I had cancer, but cancer didn’t have me!” She seems an expert in the field of positive thinking. She found a better place to stay at a lower monthly rent and adores her landlord who styled her basement and kitchen to accommodate her serious cooking ability (she has advanced training in the culinary arts!). As a touching side note, her only son who was in the reserves asked her if he could volunteer for active duty in Iraq in order for her to keep her home. “My priorities had changed by then,” she said. “There was no way I was going to put my son in that position. People mean everything.”

Breast cancer survivors at the Michigan 3-Day link hands in solidarity to find a cure

Carol joins breast cancer survivors at the Michigan 3-Day and links hands in solidarity to find a cure

Carol is a flight attendant for US Airways and has been on the Athens flight for some time. I had to remind Carol that true patience is attending to hundreds of in-flight passengers for 13 or more hours, a job most of us could not handle. She just laughed, “It’s true. It does require some patience, and so many of my fellow flight attendants have had breast cancer! Mine was caught on a routine mammogram. Get your mammogram!”

Carol E. strides out of the Opening Ceremony with the  "Patience" Flag in hand

Carol E. strides out of the Opening Ceremony with the “Patience” Flag in hand

If you are on the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day this weekend, say hello to Carol, and I’m sure you will quickly see why she is proudly holding her flag in the Survivors’ Circle. Her spirit of patience, hope, and happiness is hard to miss!