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.

Not Friends, But Sisters

Seattle Day 3

“The Faithful Fighters” stop at Pit Stop 1 of the Komen 3-Day on a rainy Sunday

As I move through the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Series, I am continually amazed by the stories of each person who decides to walk 60 miles in three days. Each one has evoked my personal admiration and awe. The Seattle 3-Day was no exception. It was difficult to miss Katie K from North Bend, Washington, not because her recent need to use a wheelchair sometimes, but because there were so many of her smiling friends who pushed her and supported each other, all on their first 3-Day®. When asked how they managed the hills, one teammate said, “We figured out that if we stood behind each other in a line, it was easy!”

Team "The Faithful Fighters" push each other along the Seattle 3-Day

Team “The Faithful Fighters” push each other along the Seattle 3-Day (Photo courtesy The Faithful Fighters)

MY FRIENDS

“They aren’t my friends…They are my sisters,” said Katie. “They have been there for me through all of this and even before. They took me in and made me feel loved when I knew nobody. They have looked after my daughter when I have been rushed into hospital, they have driven me to appointments, they have sat with me when I didn’t want to be alone, they have brought me dinners when I am too tired to cook or feel like I am dying after chemo, they have covered for me at work, they have held my hand when all I need is to feel safe. Anything and everything I need, they are there for me!  That’s not something you find every day in a person. That is God’s Love!”

Seattle Day 2

Katie K from North Bend, Washington is surrounded by her teammates at the start of Day 2 on the Seattle 3-Day

ABOUT ME AND MY STUPID CANCER

“I am 34 years young and was born in a town outside of West London called Hounslow in England. I had an amazing upbringing with two extremely loving, caring parents who would drop everything for me.” Katie describes meeting her future husband, Jason, at Heavenly on a ski trip for work. “I managed to win him over, and we married exactly one year after we met in Monterey, California.” After their most wonderful little blessing, Kayle was born, they moved to North Bend, Washington, and never looked back.

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Katie K poses for a picture with a friend at the Closing Ceremony of the Seattle 3-Day

“I had found a lump in my right breast when Kayle was one-year old. I had recently stopped breast feeding, and I lost my health insurance when we moved to Washington, so I went to see a doctor for cash who told me it was just a blocked milk duct or cyst and that I should just ‘keep an eye on it.’”

“We had just celebrated Kayle’s 2nd birthday and everything was fine, until I found a 2nd lump right next to the first lump. I went back to the same doctor, and she ordered an urgent mammogram, which turned into a urgent ultrasound, which turned into a biopsy needed to confirm the cancer. We didn’t have insurance, and I wanted to be with my family, so we packed up our house, got my husband a visa and headed back to England. I had six months chemotherapy, a double mastectomy with reconstruction, and radiation and was given the ‘all clear.” After being ‘cleared,’ the family returned to Washington, and everything seemed fine until a routine screening in 2012 when she found out the cancer had metastasized.

Katie was devastated. “This meant that there was no longer a ‘cure’ for my cancer and that it was going to be a case of management from then on.   As you can imagine, ‘scared’ wasn’t a good enough word to describe how I felt.”

Seattle Day 3

The always-positive team “The Faithful Fighters” pushes through the rain

After so much news over the next year and with the 3-Day looming, Katie was to have yet another challenge.  “Two weeks before the 3-Day, my family and I decided to have a quiet day on the sofa catching up with TV shows,” said Katie. “My legs went numb from the knees down and I couldn’t walk. An MRI showed that I had a large lesion in my spinal cord that was causing my legs to stop working. Because of the amount of swelling in my spinal cord, my doctor decided to admit me to the hospital…3 days before the 3-Day!  I was devastated, again!  The thought of not being able to do the walk was too much for me! After talking to my doctors and the 3-Day organizers, we made some changes to our plan, and all agreed that I could walk.” Walk. Roll. Push. Push each other. Team The Faithful Fighters did all of the above. As they rolled out of Gasworks Park on a rainy Sunday morning on Day 3 and with at least ten miles to go, I noticed two things. First, they considered themselves a team over all else. Everyone moved together with no thought of splitting up or leaving someone behind. Second, they were always happy.

ONTO THE 3-DAY

“How did I find out about the 3-Day? A TV advert,” responded Katie. “I have wanted to do the walk for a few years, since we lived in California, but the thought of raising that much money was always so overwhelming. Once I was told my cancer was no longer curable, it changed things. I wanted to walk so that my precious Kayle Lily wouldn’t have to deal with this stupid disease, so that no other child will lose their mother for no reason, so that no other mother goes to bed scared and worried about leaving her child, so that no other husband loses his wife!  And so I called my friend, Carrie, who I knew would want to walk too and she agreed. We would walk!”

Seattle Day 3

Katie awaits the start of the Closing Ceremony with her team at Memorial Stadium on the 2013 Seattle 3-Day

“We called another friend to tell her about our excitement and from there, our idea spread!  Before we knew it, there were eight of us and almost $18,000 to raise!  We created a blog and spread the word.”

A MESSAGE

“If I could pass on a message to the world, there would be a few. First, God is good. Give Him a chance!  Second, don’t take your time on the planet for granted! God only promises us today and that could be taken away in a heartbeat! Love your family and friends. Show them grace and forgiveness because your last words could come when you least expect it.”

Seattle Day 3

Teammates from “The Faithful Fighters” hug during the Closing Ceremony of the Seattle 3-Day

“Third, life is complicated. It’s hard!  No one said life would be easy. God doesn’t promise an easy life. He tells us that life will be hard, but with His help, support and love, we can get through the difficult times and help others in the process of helping ourselves. Lastly, appreciate your time with loved ones.  House cleaning, laundry, work, TV, computers, Facebook. It shouldn’t come before spending time with our loved ones. Put down your cell phone, and go and draw with your daughter, go play dress up with her, do face painting together, go do something silly and laugh with friends.”

Katie participates at the emotional Closing Ceremony in Seattle

Seattle Day 1

Dr. Sheri and the Seattle 3-Day crowd go wild as team “The Faithful Fighters” enter camp with the 3-Day flag at the end of a long Day 1

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Katie embraces another 3-Day participate after raising the flag at camp on the Seattle 3-Day

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“The Faithful Fighters” pose for a picture after having raised the flag at the end of Day 1

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“The Faithful Fighters” are all smiles at lunch on the Seattle 3-Day

Seattle Day 2

“The Faithful Fighters” start Day 2 and another 20 miles of walking at the Seattle 3-Day

“What a Weekend” on the Seattle 3-Day!

“Let yourself be present, every step of the way!” boomed Dr. Sheri’s voice into the early morning around the Seattle Center. “We’re ready!” answered the crowd of 1,100 Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day walkers and over 300 crew members and volunteers. The emotional Opening Ceremony with breast cancer survivors and those who helped family and friends with the disease wrapped up with the sun rising over the Space Needle and a flood of pink-clad participants ready to begin a three-day, 60-mile walk that would end in raising $3 million to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Besides the Seattle Seahawks drumline and the crowd of cheerleaders, the Seattle Police Department had gone all out, decorating their bicycles with pink ribbons, pink tires, and pink flags. (They also provided safety over all three days, along with some extraordinary dance moves throughout the weekend.) The walk through the city via 5th Avenue was brisk and exciting, albeit a bit slow for some who found the window shopping somewhat distracting! The pit stops before and on Mercer Island had great views, as did the walk along the I-90 bridge. Spirits were high through the comfortable weather on Friday on the 22.9-mile route to camp at Marymoor Park.

After some local entertainment and dinner, tributes were paid to the top fundraisers and a special award, the Milestone Award, was given to Loretta Englishbee, for her dedication to the breast cancer cause and her influence on so many people, both in fundraising and in emotional and physical support of the 3-Day®. Thank you Loretta! She has raised over $303,000 over an eight year period and has helped so many more in reaching their personal goals on the 3-Day. Survivor Carol S kindly shared her experiences with breast cancer, a humbling and touching speech.

After surviving some overnight rain, the camp arose early for breakfast before continuing the journey at 7 a.m. back onto the streets of Redmond and into Pit Stop 1, with its gorgeous views of Lake Washington. The hills brought the challenges on Saturday’s 20.9-mile route, but the local crowds and businesses that came out to cheer on the participants very much helped the day.  Again, there was great weather to walk in for Seattle with partly cloudy skies and some excellent sunshine! Those at the Camp Show were treated to the stories of co-survivor Dawn R and the young survivor Mandy C. What inspirations! Presenting sponsor Bank of America entertained with its famous money cube game and sponsor New Balance bestowed some lucky walkers with shoes and swag.

For being in Seattle, the 2013 Seattle 3-Day was more than blessed with some excellent walking weather. Sunday, and the last 16.3 miles of the journey came with some rain.  After some sprinkles through the scenic GasWorks Park, showers began as the walkers moved through the Ballard Locks and down the final stretches back to the Seattle Center. But, nothing stops the 3-Day walkers! With ponchos, plastic, and foil wraps, the wearied group entered the Seattle Center hands held high in victory over the elements and physical trial. As family and friends gathered to congratulate the walkers, the weather improved for the Closing Ceremony, where stalwart crew members and participants entered Memorial Stadium and the celebration of such wonderful accomplishments. The Survivors Circle gathered to raise the flag “We Will Never Give Up” amid the cheers of the gathered crowd. Thank you Seattle! Looking forward to 2014!

What were your favorites memories from the weekend?

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