Love In the Air at the 2014 Michigan 3-Day

It’s hard to believe that the 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season is winding down, with five out of seven Komen 3-Day events already in the books. We’ve shared so many beautiful experiences out there on the road with our wonderful participants, and have created memories that will last a lifetime.

One story that caught our attention and warmed our hearts happened in Michigan at the first 3-Day® event of the year. A day or so before the event started, we got a tip that one of the Michigan walkers, Amanda S., was going to get the surprise of her life at the famous Plymouth cheering station.

Amanda, who resides in Ohio, was walking in the 3-Day for the third time with her team, BreastFriends4Life. Her mom passed away from breast cancer in 2006, and Amanda got involved with the 3-Day as a way to honor her memory. “I decided to go for it. I thought, 60 miles? That’s easy. I can do that, no problem, compared to what I watched my mother endure during her battle.”

While out with friends one night in 2011, about a year after her first 3-Day, Amanda met David. “I saw David on the dance floor—he had some moves! We made eye contact across the dance floor and I thought to myself, okay this is your moment, make it count!” They hit it off and began dating right away. As Amanda puts it, “The rest is history! We’ve been inseparable ever since.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk michigan proposal amanda david

Jump ahead to Day 2 of the 2014 Michigan 3-Day, and Amanda was approaching a cheering station around midday. She knew David would be there to support her, as he had been so many times before, but didn’t expect much more than a hug and some encouraging words. “When I got to the cheering station in Plymouth, my aunt told me Dave had left to use the bathroom. Perfect, I thought, now I can rest my feet for a few more minutes before my team makes me walk again!” But Amanda started to notice something was going on. “I couldn’t figure out why random people were taking pictures of me, why weren’t my teammates getting in the pictures, why is there a crew person taking my picture. Suddenly my aunt says ‘Oh, there’s Dave,’ and points behind me.” Amanda turned to see the love of her life, down on one knee, holding a sign. “My first thought honestly was why is he down on his knees? Second thought was, what does that sign say? And my third thought, which I spoke out loud was, What are you doing? I was so confused for the first 60 seconds and then it hit me – HE’S PROPOSING – AT THE 3-DAY – ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE STARING AT ME!” Amanda said yes, of course.

Even though she had talked with David many times about their plans to get married someday, Amanda was genuinely surprised by her 3-Day proposal. “I had told him before that I wanted my proposal to be special and romantic. And my number one rule was DON’T do it in front of a large crowd! He obviously did not listen to that part, but it’s okay!”

Asking Amanda to marry him at the 3-Day carried a deeper importance to the couple too. “David really wanted to bring my mom into our proposal. He knows how much she means to me and how much I miss her every day, so to him this was the perfect way to have her with me during this very special moment. He even said to me after the proposal, ‘You know your mom is with you right now and she’s smiling.’ He’s just so sweet.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk michigan proposal amanda david

Amanda shared that she was surprised, excited and very moved by David’s proposal. “He put a lot of thought into what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it and how to bring my mother into it. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

We give our warmest congratulations to Amanda and David, and wish them the lifetime of happiness they deserve.

Congratulations to the Seattle 3-Day’s Milestone Award Winner, Tina M.!

Join us in congratulating the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award winner, Tina McDonough, who was recognized in camp on Saturday of the Seattle event. Tina first walked the 3-Day in 2007 in Seattle, and has walked a total of 11 times (8 in Seattle and 3 in San Diego). She’ll make it an even dozen when she walks in San Diego this November. Tina is the captain of Valley Girls & Guys, Seattle’s largest team (which also has a San Diego team). Between their Seattle and San Diego teams, Valley Girls & Guys has raised over $1.8 million for Susan G. Komen® since 2007.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

While Tina’s legendary status with the 3-Day has been firmly established, her start with the event was humble and strikingly similar to many: she was recruited by friends to walk in memory of a friend’s sister. That first year, Tina also dedicated her walk to her friend Michelle, who was battling a cancer recurrence at the time. Tina recalls, “We walked that year and I swore I would be back volunteering my time not walking (as we did not train and I hurt super bad). But then that December, Michelle passed away at 38. Watching her husband and daughter fall apart at her funeral I thought to myself, I can’t not do anything. So I formed a team. That foursome team has turned into a 180 walkers between Seattle and San Diego and quickly became my life passion. I am doing exactly what I was meant to do and we will never give up until we find a cure!”

Tina shared that the Valley Girls & Guys team had 15 survivors within its ranks last year alone, and those brave teammates are a big part of what brings Tina back to the 3-Day year after year. “I feel like if I give up or quit doing the 3-Day I would be giving up on them, and I will never give up on any survivor/friend! This is my second family and I love every single one of them with all my heart!”

With nearly $2 million raised by Valley Girls & Guys in less than a decade, we had to ask Tina about the secret to her team’s 3-Day fundraising success. “Our team secret is we are family! We would do anything for each other and we do our fundraising together as a team. We have a huge March fun night out (coming up on our 8th year this coming March) where we typically raise over $150,000, and any teammates who participate, attend, etc. receive monies towards their fundraising. Just that one event gets many of our team members halfway to their fundraising goal.” Tina knows that that boost of help and the ongoing support from the team family is usually enough to get everyone motivated to succeed.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

Apart from participating in the 3-Day, Tina and her team show remarkable support for the breast cancer community in other ways too. Since February of 2013, Valley Girls & Guys have made and sent 284 personalized blankets, which they call blankets of “comfort and hope,” to cancer patients and survivors all over the U.S., and as far as Germany and Australia (each blanket is created with a photo of the team, and inspirational quote and the recipient’s name). Tina also shared an exciting new endeavor that the team is about to begin: “The other thing our team is starting is The Who House – Harnessing the Power of Community to Support Cancer Patients and Their Families. I have an office in [the Seattle area] that we are going to open up after hours Monday-Friday for those going through cancer, co-survivors, youth and those who have lost loved ones, as a place they can come talk, get support and have resources to reach out to. We have huge plans for this and are excited to get it started and off the ground.” Tina is a realtor by profession, and not surprisingly, she received the 2013 REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes realtors who have made an extraordinary impact on their community, or on the national or world stage, through volunteer work.

What is Tina’s best advice for someone thinking about doing the 3-Day? “Just do it and join a team if you can! ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ (TEAM) and in this case it means not only fundraising money, but you get so much more than what you will ever put in which is amazing. You end up with an experience of a lifetime, lifelong friends, and you are part of something bigger than you and making a huge impact/difference in the world!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

We extend our warm congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Tina and her Valley Girls & Guys teammates for their exceptional dedication to a world without breast cancer.

Meet the Atlanta 3-Day Coaches!

Every Susan G. Komen 3-Day® event has a core team of three coaches, each of whom plays a different role in helping our walkers and crew members prepare for the Komen 3-Day. For months, these dedicated staffers have been having personal conversations with walkers to help them with their training and fundraising, have hosted dozens of local events to bring participants together and build a community of encouragement, and have organized and inspired the amazing team of crew captains and crew members.

Let’s meet the coaches for the Atlanta 3-Day®!

Tara Preyers – Atlanta Local Events Coach

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Tara and her (literally) sparkling personality!

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Living my passion through inspiration, fanny packs and boas!”

We’re a couple weeks from the Atlanta event. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “It’s a bit of a mumbo-jumbo. I’m working on all things to paint the route pink and with hugs, high fives and treats. Spending lots of time finalizing all of the little pieces that I’ve been working on all year long. Making “to-do” list after “to-do” list and crossing things off with excitement. I also travel to all of the 3-Day events, so I’ve been busy. Oh, and decorating for my favorite season…FALL!”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) I jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet; 2) I have a serious bag obsession (purses, duffels, reusable, you name it, I need lots of them!); 3) I could eat peanut butter for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

 

Susan Wynne – Atlanta Participant Coach

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Photo booth fun with Susan and family

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “I help our incredible participants do great things!”

We’re a couple weeks from the Atlanta event. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “Super busy! As the event gets closer, we’re working on last minute donations, helping participants get checked in, and lots of event-related questions. I get to talk to people about what they have done to get to this point, and hear the stories about what brought them to the 3-Day. I have loved getting to know our participants through all of our phone and email interactions over the last few months, and I can’t wait to see everyone in person in a couple of weeks!”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “I’m pretty much an open book (or not that interesting) because I don’t think there is much that people don’t know about me, but here’s a shot: 1) I think I’m secretly a 13 year old girl. I love all the pop music, TV shows, and silly stuff that comes along with that age; 2) I played the flute in high school and can still whip out a pretty good tune; 3) I can’t live without coffee or my new addiction of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds with sea-salt and turbinado sugar. Both are integral to my success in getting through the day.”

 

Libby Riordan – Atlanta Crew & Volunteer Coordinator

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Ready to show her meal no mercy!

Describe your job in 10 words or fewer. – “Supporting and empowering the awesome Atlanta Crew!”

We’re a couple weeks from the Atlanta event. What’s a typical day like for you these days? – “Most of my days leading up to event are spent communicating with captains and crew members and delivering all of the final details. I always tell people that the 3-Day is like planning a wedding. You spend months getting ready, planning, and preparing, but lots of things change before the big day. It gets a little crazy towards the end making sure that the captains have everything they need and that every crew is ready to rock on event!”

What are 3 things that we didn’t know about you? – “1) I love to sing. I can listen to a song once and know all the words! It drives my friends crazy; 2) I was on a home makeover TV show where we turned my friend’s backyard into a beach. Lots of sand!; 3) I knew I wanted work for the 3-Day after the Opening Ceremony the first time I walked, in 2005.”

 

 

Going to be at the Atlanta 3-Day? Come meet coaches Tara and Susan at two special meet-and-greets, on Friday and Saturday in camp, between 6-7 p.m. in the 3-Day Lounge.