Meet Brad and Debbie, The Fire Truck Walker Stalkers

You’ve seen them on the route, you’ve probably taken a picture on or with the classic fire truck, and maybe even worn the pink firefighter hats, but have you ever wondered who the nice couple is behind the fire truck? They have become well-known supporters, driving out from Palm Springs to San Diego every year to cheer walkers on. Meet Brad and Debbie!

When did you first get involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®?

My wife battled breast cancer in 1999. We first got involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in 2008. My wife Debbie saw an ad in a magazine and said she wanted to do the walk. I decided to do it with her, along with two of my brothers. We raised the money and did EVERY training walk according to the schedule that was put out, which got a little tricky with our 120-degree day summers. But the training allowed us to walk the entire 60 miles, which was really fun! My wife decided to walk again in 2011. We wanted to be 60 years old walking 60. What a way to celebrate your 60th birthday! I was always inspired by all the walker stalkers who encouraged us during our own experience. So, 2011 was the first year I brought my fire truck and my “3-Day Walkers Are Hot” sign to follow the walkers. I have done it every year since, with the exception of one year when I had a surgery and could not attend.

Why do you choose to come out and cheer on walkers?

Because it’s so FUN! The walkers are so positive and need the encouragement to keep going. Plus, when we walked, we saw how important the supporters were to us and we wanted to do something in return. Bringing out our fire truck, firefighter hats, and sign is the something we chose to do.

What keeps you motivated to keep coming out year after year to support the 3-Day?

The amazing walkers, crew and staff! It’s very well organized and such a fun event. We never hear a complaint from anyone. And we like the Melon Men!

What are some fun facts about you and your wife, Debbie?

Our claim to fame is that we were on the Newlywed Game in 1971, and we won! We have three children and six grandchildren who we love spending time with. I am a retired firefighter and my wife is a retired school teacher. I spend a lot of time working on my garden and home, while my wife likes to read and make quilts.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We appreciate all that Susan G. Komen does to provide such a wonderful event for men and women who are in one way or another connected to breast cancer. See you next year!

We love our walker stalkers, as well as learning why they come out year after year to support us all on our 3-Day journey. Do you have a favorite walker stalker? Shout them out in the comments!

Congratulations to the 2021 3-Day Nation Top Fundraisers!

Our incredible community came together for the first-ever ever Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Nation, connecting with one another online and at live Pop-Ups across the country. During the online festivities of 3-Day Nation, we celebrated our Top Fundraisers. Please join us in congratulating all of our 2021 3-Day Nation Top Fundraisers!

Our Top Crew Fundraiser is Julia W., who raised nearly $3,200 for 3-Day Nation and has raised $9,575 in her lifetime. 3-Day Nation was Julia’s sixth time walking. Julia’s favorite pastime is photo coaching and journaling her photos. 

Our Top Youth Corps Fundraiser is Grace R., who raised nearly $1,750 for 3-Day Nation. Grace has raised $3,183 in her lifetime across the three 3-Day events she has participated in. In her free time, Grace is currently learning how to knit from her grandmother!

Our Rookie of the Year is Debbie R., who raised nearly $10,800 as a new walker. 3-Day Nation was her first event as a part of the Pink Bubble. Debbie said, “We asked folks to join us on the last leg of our journey and held a cocktail and cookout celebration in our community. Seventy-five people came out!” 

Our Top Individual Fundraiser is Peggy F., who raised nearly $35,000. She has raised $49,570 in her lifetime. 3-Day Nation was the second 3-Day event that Peggy has walked. Peggy can’t wait to get back onto the 3-Day so she can eat those addictive peanut butter and jelly graham cracker bars! 

Our Small But Mighty Team (the team with 3-10 members that raised the most money) is Wild Women Walking for a Cure. They raised nearly $35,000 between their eight team members for 3-Day Nation and have participated in 3-Day events since 1998 across multiple cities. Wild Women Walking for a Cure have raised an amazing $1,110,456 as a team over their lifetime. They have had more than 150 women, men, and children ranging in age from 18 to 78 years old along with a service dog as part of the Wild Women Walking team over 20+ years. Their team captain Leslie C. said, “Every WWW has headgear we wear for every walk. Each of us make our own, have our own personal twist to them, and get together the Thursday night before Day 1 with all of our crafts and glue guns to add or give them facelifts.” 

Our Top Fundraising Team for 2021 3-Day Nation is STEPS, who raised nearly $77,000. They have been a team for 13 years, walked in 27 3-Day events, and have raised a staggering total of $1,191,571. Their team captains Sheryl C. and Dana B. said, “We dedicate every training walk to someone who has been affected by breast cancer so that every step has a purpose and a name.” Team STEPS stands for Screening, Treatment, and Education Programs. 

Thank you to these amazing fundraisers and all of the 2021 3-Day Nation walkers and crew members! 

Congratulations to the 2021 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner!

Please join us in congratulating our 2021 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Jeannie A.! Jeannie celebrated her 50TH 3-Day during 3-Day Nation and now her 51st after San Diego. She has raised more than $141,000 since she first started participating in 2004! Jeannie’s commitment to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, Susan G. Komen® and the fight against breast cancer epitomizes what the Pink Bubble is all about. 

In preparation for giving Jeannie the Milestone Award, we reached out to her friend and teammate Kathy, who said, “We LOVE our Jeannie, and that’s an understatement. Jeannie cares so much about finding the cures because she is so emotionally moved when she hears of a young person battling this disease. I believe she feels she “lucked out” with a modest battle herself, and therefore her way to show gratitude and appreciation for her life is to pay it forward for others fighting this disease.”

We asked Jeannie a few questions so we, along with the rest of the Pink Bubble, could get to know her a little better. 

What was your inspiration to do your first Komen 3-Day?  

In 2001 I served as a crew member on the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day. When I had my annual mammogram, it showed something irregular that my doctor wanted to investigate. It was cancer. The Monday after the walk I had surgery. I was lucky; it was small and we caught it early. I wanted to walk the following year to feel healthy and normal. The walk was in May, and on Friday the weather was beautiful. However, we got rain, sleet and snow on Saturday, so the route was shut down. I felt cheated, so I signed up for the following year. The Avon 3-Day then became the Avon 2-Day, and I felt cheated again. But then Susan G. Komen brought the 3-Day® back, and I jumped on board and never looked back.   

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?  

My goals kept changing. At first it was going to be one and done. Then, it was going to be five walks to coincide with my being five years cancer-free. Then 10 years, then 20 walks, then doing all fourteen cities (not in one year), then $150,000 and then the seven cities. The 3-Day just becomes a part of your life, and breast cancer is still out there. 

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?  

My fundraising has changed over the years. At first, I mainly had individual donations. Over the years I have knitted scarfs, made t-shirts and memory quilts, stood in front of a liquor store with a bucket and had yard sales. I suggest looking for donation matches and asking everyone you know. The worst they can do is say no! 

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?  

My advice to new walkers is to have fun, meet new people and listen to their stories. And remember this is a fundraiser, not an endurance test. You want to walk into closing on Sunday and be able to go to work on Monday. And you do not get a gold star for doing all the miles. Just because you get into a sweep van, it does not mean you cannot walk anymore that day. Sometimes you just need a little help.  

  

What’s a fun fact about you?  

I make great biscotti! 

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?  

I have learned that people can do more than they think. If you work at it, it is amazing how much you can accomplish. That is how we will find the cures.  

Join us in congratulating Jeannie! THANK YOU for your contributions to the Komen 3-Day over the last 17 years!