The Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Honors Our Opening Ceremony Speakers

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We began our 2017 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day with an inspiring Opening Ceremony to kick off our final 3-Day of the year. Our Opening Ceremonies this year are led by participants, with special recognition given to our breast cancer survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer.

Crew members, walkers, and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep and mile at a time. Take some time to get to know our Opening Ceremony speakers.

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Kathy Giller – My Husband

For the past 12 years, the 3-Day has been our army of love and hope. We have walked literally thousands of miles with many of you, to bring us closer to a world without breast cancer. This is my 18th walk and usually, I’m standing out there with all of you.  My husband, Lee, was the one who would be on this stage. I would look up at him so proudly as he humbly served as the unofficial 3-Day face of male breast cancer. Lee would share his story with dozens of people along the route, reminding us that breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease. My name is Kathy and instead of walking hand-in-hand with Lee, I will be carrying him in my heart and in my memory. Lee’s life was so much More Than Pink.

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Greg Piers – My Family 

I walk my 5th 3-Day in honor of my family: my grandmother, aunt and cousin… all ambushed by breast cancer. I walk in honor of my family: my wife, daughters and granddaughter… who I hope never have to fight this battle. I walk in honor of you all, my 3-Day family, as we all have similar stories and share one common goal: to put an end to breast cancer. I’m Greg and I am More Than Pink.

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Deborah Jones – My Mother

I am from Gainesville, Florida, I walk with Cliff’s Crew and this is my 6th walk, the 2nd in San Diego. I am walking in memory of my mother, Josephine Jones, who died from breast cancer at the age of 40 when I was still a teenager in 11th grade. I also lost my dear sister to breast cancer twenty-nine years ago; she was only 37. Both gone too soon! I’m Deborah and I am More Than Pink.

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Chris Laws – My Sister
I walk this, my second 3-Day, for my sister, Jennifer. I’ve found this verse from Proverbs best describes her: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Jennifer’s fight ended October 4th, 2015, but her courageous heart and infectious laugh resonates with all those who met her. I’m Jennifer’s brother Chris, I walk in her memory, and I am More Than Pink.

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Sarah Hillstead – Myself

I crew because I never want anyone to go through what I have gone through since being diagnosed in 2002. I have seen some dear friends lose their battles with this disease and I never want anyone to get the diagnosis of breast cancer. I also crew to celebrate with my friends who have beaten this nasty disease. I crew because I never want to have to look my precious niece and nephew in the face and tell them another family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m Sarah and I am More Than Pink.

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Terry Sue Hegburg – My Friend

I walk for my best friend Rae Jobson, who spoke bravely on this stage just one year ago about her fight against this horrible disease. Sadly, we had to say good-bye to Rae on September 29th. Although she will not be physically walking beside us this year, we know she will be with us in spirit. We promised Rae to continue the fight until there is a world without Breast Cancer.  I’m Terry and I am More Than Pink.

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Sally Dunbar – Ceremony Host

It has been 12 years since I got my diagnosis. I am here today because of the results of the research from the women before me, who were also diagnosed―research funded in part by Susan G. Komen.

So I walk for myself. I walk in memory of my Aunt Margaret, and my daughter’s mother-in-law, Char Jamieson. I walk in memory of our teammate Wendy Nesbitt, who lost her battle three months after the 2015 San Diego walk. And I walk for my daughters, your daughters, and for all of our granddaughters.

I’m Sally, I am More Than Pink… and I’m honored to welcome you to the 2017 San Diego 3-Day!

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San Diego Coaches’ Favorite Memories

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We’re just one day away from our final 3-Day of 2017 and our San Diego coaches are bursting at the seams with excitement! They can’t wait to welcome all the participants to the West Coast for three days of fun, love and a big pink bubble of happiness. Before we begin our sixty-mile journey with them, they’re taking a look back at 3-Days of the past, and giving you their must-visit spots in San Diego!

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What are your favorite memories of the 3-Days past?

Coach Marianne: The time that I spend with my team training and on-event are some of my best memories. There is so much time to talk and really get to know each other as we spend hours walking. This opportunity is hard to find in our busy lives.

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Coach Amy: Caboosing the Kansas City 3-Day. My bike was way too big, and I had no idea how to operate my Nextel. Not a great combination. However, those technical difficulties quickly faded when I came upon 2 little girls, probably around 4 years old, on the side of the path holding a sign saying, “Mommy we miss you, please come back”.

As the tears welled up, I was dumbfounded at the reality of this plea. We do not realize how precious life is until it is too late. We tend to take each day for granted, not understanding what tomorrow may bring. This is why we walk. And this is why I feel so grateful to do what I do. Every. Single. Day.

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What are you looking forward to most for this year’s walk?

Coach Amy: Loving up the San Diego 3-Day crew community. For the past two years I have been supporting the Twin Cities 3-Day and I am so excited to be back in San Diego, and have the opportunity to see all the smiling faces of my sweet crew members who I have missed working alongside.

Coach Staci: Meeting all the people I’ve been emailing with and speaking with on the phone!

Coach Marianne: I’m thrilled to be experiencing the walk from a different perspective this year as a coach. I’m excited to interact with all the people I’ve been talking to and planning with the past few months. My appreciation for the walk and the many people involved has grown immensely as I’ve seen firsthand just how hard everyone involved works and how committed our entire 3-Day community is.

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What are your favorite spots on the route?

Coach Staci: The top of Torrey Pines hill and the Day 1 lunch spot – with surfers crossing the path while walkers are walking by.

Coach Marianne: I love the approach to La Jolla Cove and listening to all our visiting walkers comment on how spectacularly beautiful it is. This gives me a renewed appreciation for where I live. My very first-time snorkeling in the ocean was at La Jolla Cove when I was a teenager so it brings back sweet memories. I also love to walk through the residential neighborhoods and look at the beautiful homes. You notice so much more walking than you do driving, it’s a real treat.

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Coach Amy: The view from the top of Torrey Pines! Watching the waves crash along sunset cliffs. And of course, morning sunrise at camp. I know that is not the route, but it is spectacular to see the sun rise above the bay!

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What are your favorite spots in San Diego to eat and play?

Coach Amy: Lofty Coffee for my favorite almond milk latte. The. Best.

The Fish Shop for a yummy fish taco. Favorite beach is Table Tops in Solana Beach or Cardiff beach. I relish any time I can escape to the Belly Up for live music!

Coach Marianne: I love the ocean so I find that I gravitate there when I go out to play. A perfect San Diego day may be as simple as a day spent at the beach swimming in the ocean and sunning. We also have so many new brew pubs in the area that I’ve been methodically working my way through them. My favorite go-to place to meet up with a group is Bagby’s in Oceanside because they have so much creative indoor and outdoor space for a group as well as fantastic food and drinks.

What are you most excited about for the 2017 San Diego 3-Day? Tell us in the comments!

From Sidewalks to Science: An On-Route Look at Komen’s Research with Dr. Katherine Hoadley

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Opening Ceremonies

Dr. Hoadley, can you tell us a bit about what led you to do breast cancer research?

When I started my breast cancer research 16 years ago, I did not have a personal connection to the disease. However, over the years, I have come to work closely with patient advocates and the breast cancer survivor community through my volunteer efforts with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. My interaction with breast cancer survivors has had a positive impact on my research in several ways.  Hearing their stories has been a strong motivational factor for my daily research activities and has helped me improve my ability to share my genomics research with the public.

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On The Route

Since we’ve got some time, could you tell us a bit about your current research?

My work is focused on breast cancer classification and better understanding the molecular events that define different subsets of the disease or what we call molecular subtypes.  One subtype called basal-like is an aggressive form of cancer that is enriched with triple negative breast cancers, cancers that are negative for estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor and lack amplification of HER2. Comparing breast cancers with other cancer types from the Cancer Genome Atlas, I found the basal-like subtype was distinct from other breast cancers. This, along with different risk profiles, mutations, and cancer progression suggests they represent a unique subset of breast cancers.  My current research is further classifying this aggressive breast cancer type and analyzing clinical trial data to determine if we can predict response to therapy.

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At Camp

Now that we’ve made it “home” for the night and are enjoying the support of our crew, can you tell us about how your work would be affected without Komen funding?

This grant has allowed me to set up some of my own independent research on breast cancer. I also work closely with other Komen-funded researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill using the Komen-funded Carolina Breast Cancer Study to investigate racial differences in the PAM50 molecular subtyping.

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What would you say to somebody who’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer?

I am not a clinician and do not feel qualified to give advice to breast cancer patients. However, I think it is important that patients know they can have an important impact on research.  They can help shape the focus of research and guide us to fit the needs of the breast cancer community.

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Cheering Station

Look at all of these enthusiastic supporters out along the route! Tell us about how you are involved with Komen outside of the lab.

I have been volunteering at the Raleigh, North Carolina Komen Race for the Cure for the last 14 years.  I started with day of event volunteering and later increased my involvement by becoming the co-chair of the Survivor’s Committee and have been highly involved in the race planning committee for the last seven years.  I help oversee the Survivors’ Tent, Survivors’ Tribute and Celebration, and the Survivor Awards. I have come to know so many of the female and male breast cancer survivors in my area and have enjoyed seeing them return each year and offer support to survivors who attend their first race. I also attend the Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Research Luncheon and Young Researchers Round Table Breakfasts that bring together researchers in the community.

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Mile 59

The finish line is in sight! In working with patient advocates, how have they impacted your research from a patient perspective?

I have been fortunate to interact with patient advocates through both my own grant work and in participation at grant study sections. They helped me gain a better understanding of the full picture of cancer treatment and effects on the person, their family, and the community.  I have seen the impact advocates have had in making patient-reported outcomes move toward reality and how that has translated into better overall care for the patient.

As a researcher working with genomic and clinical data, data sharing and availability has always been an important issue.  While advancements were made during the microarray era for making data available, we have now moved into sequencing, which brings up additional privacy and safety concerns.  However, most patient advocates and survivors I have talked to want the information about their cancers shared.  By involving patient advocates, we can ensure that we share data in a manner that is protective of patient privacy yet continues to support future research.

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Closing Ceremonies

Thanks for walking us through your research, Dr. Hoadley! Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our walkers, crew and supporters?

Part of my research is analyzing molecular data from a recent clinical trial.  While the analysis is early, we hope we will be able to evaluate and determine predictors of who will respond to chemotherapy so we can help improve future clinical trials and treatment choices.

Dr. Katherine Hoadley is an Assistant Professor in Cancer Genetics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and has been a Career Catalyst Research grantee since 2016. Since 1982, Susan G. Komen has funded $956 million in breast cancer research, second only to the U.S. government and more than any other nonprofit in the world. Learn more here.

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Pit Stop

Three things to know about Dr. Hoadley:

  1. My dad is a scientist and was in graduate school when I was born. He encouraged my love of science by taking me to the lab throughout my childhood.
  2. I grew up in West Virginia; the mountains always will draw me more than an ocean.
  3. I ran track in high school and college and I still hold my high school’s high jump record.

Grab and Go 

Here are three ways you can use this information to help reach your 3-Day fundraising or recruiting goals:

  1.  Breast cancer is not a singular disease. There are many types that affect people in a wide range of ways. Komen-funded research into all forms of breast cancer can lead to new treatments and informative work towards a cure.
  2. You make a difference! Patients can have an important impact on research, by helping shape its focus, and guiding researchers like Dr. Hoadley find ways to fit the needs of all members of the breast cancer community.
  3. Money raised stays in the local communities. Dr. Hoadley, for example, has been volunteering at Komen events in Raleigh, North Carolina for 14 years. Now, she is also collaborating with other researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill thanks to a Komen grant.

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Sample Tweets:

Take an On-Route Look at @SusanGKomen’s Research in our latest “Sidewalks to Science” chat with Komen-grantee Dr. Katherine Hoadley. She is researching new forms of #breastcancer in search of a cure! (link) #The3Day

Sample Facebook Post:

Take an On-Route Look at @SusanGKomen’s Research in our latest “Sidewalks to Science” chat with Dr. Katherine Hoadley! She, and other researchers and scientific advocates, are making great strides in cancer research, especially in the research of new forms of breast cancer to help find a cure! (link) #The3Day