Burt Lipshie’s Fundraising Milestone: $250,000 Raised

“The 3-Day has given me a purpose beyond my own day-to-day life. I cannot imagine what the last 16 years would have been without it.” —Burt Lipshie

We are honored to celebrate Burt Lipshie, 29-time 3-Day walker, on surpassing the incredible fundraising milestone of $250,000 raised for the 3-Day! We marvel at the ways in which he’s made the world a better place through his participation and fundraising. We asked Burt to answer a few questions that we’re excited showcase here today on the 3-Day blog.

How did you get involved with the 3-Day?

My sweet cousin, Judy Lipshie, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. The tumor was small, and her lymph nodes were clear, so after a lumpectomy and radiation, she and her doctors thought she was done with it. However, two years later after suffering what felt like a torn muscle in her abdominal area, Judy got the news that her breast cancer had metastasized to her liver. Over the next three years, she was a fighter who did all she could. She was a true champion. But she could not conquer the beast. She died, still in the prime of her life, in April 2004 at 62 years of age.

Several weeks later as I was in my office, Judy just seemed to be everywhere. I could really feel her presence. I emailed her daughters to tell them that I was having a “Judy Day,” and they wrote back that they weren’t surprised. They were having one, too. They thought their momma was proud of them that day because they had just signed up for the 2004 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day. I told them I was proud of them too, and that I would surely contribute to help them reach their goals.

I thought about it for a couple of days and knew I could not let them do this without me. I needed to put my body on the line as well to fight back against Judy’s killer, so we walked together. As we cried on each other’s shoulders at the end of the Closing Ceremony, I realized that I had found my life’s cause. The 2020 New England 3-Day would have been my 30th walk.

We all know raising money during a global pandemic isn’t easy, but how have you done it?

I am blessed with an extraordinary donor group. My donations are somewhat lower this year than prior years, but not dramatically. In this year’s fundraising emails I have focused on reminding them that breast cancer does not practice social distancing, and that it is not “on pause” because of the pandemic. Indeed, breast cancer patients and survivors, with their compromised immune systems and vulnerability to the economic disaster the pandemic has caused, are among the most at-risk segments of our community. I think that struck a responsive chord. Additionally, Komen’s decision to put all 3-Day donations through the end of June into the COVID-19 Action Fund also really helped. I could honestly tell my donors that their dollars were going directly to assist people who needed help the most.

What is your secret to raising so much money every year?

I wish I had a secret that I could share. You know that old saying, “Choose your parents wisely”? That can be applied to donors as well. I haven’t done anything special. I write emails to my friends and colleagues, make them cry, and then I just become the conduit for their incredible caring and generosity. I suppose that it helps that they know how hard the 3-Day is from all of my prior emails and journals, and I have found that keeping the group apprised of how training is going and of any news that Komen has shared on the scientific front helps to remind those who might otherwise put off making an annual donation.

What keeps you coming back to the 3-Day again and again?

Of course, it is mostly the cause. I need to do all I can to help see to it that Judy did not die in vain. I need to do all I can to help bring about the day when no other man or woman, no other family, loses a person they love to breast cancer.

But there is also the 3-Day community. Little did I know back in 2004 that I would quickly become embraced by this extraordinary group of people. Since 2008, I have done two walks every year – Dallas/Fort Worth with my cousins, and first Chicago, then Michigan, with my dear friend, Mary Larson. When, a few years ago, Mary thought she was through walking, I decided that I would cut back to walking only Dallas/Fort Worth, and that that year’s Michigan walk would be my last. However, by the time that Michigan 3-Day was done, I had already signed up for the next year.

How could I give up spending that long weekend with all the friends I had made over the years? The 3-Day community is very, very, special.

What are some of your top 3-Day memories from past years?

You can well imagine that over 29 3-Day walks I have accumulated many memories. A couple stick out.

The most meaningful for me happens every year in Dallas. In the Spring of 2004, I was asked to participate in a conference on the future of legal education held at SMU Law School in Dallas. Judy was then living with her mom in Abilene but had spent most of her adult life in Dallas, and she had planned to come to Dallas while I was there and sneak in to hear me speak. However, by the time the conference was held, she was already in hospice. After the conference, I took a long lonely walk along Turtle Creek, where she and I had so often walked together. This time, my steps took me all the way up to Curtis Park. There, sitting on a bench, I spoke with Judy by phone. It was the last time I heard her voice. She died two days later.

Every year, the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day goes through Curtis Park, and passes “Judy’s Bench.” Every year, I get to walk by that sad place with hundreds of others fighting the same fight that for me began on that bench. It is always a highly emotional moment for me. In 2019, one of the 3-Day legends, Jim Hillmann, was walking with me when we got there, and he already knew my story from prior years. When I reached the bench, and essentially dissolved, Jim was right there to get me through it. His kindness at that moment embodied the 3-Day spirit.

Another powerful memory is also from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. It was day three, and our route had us turning down Houston Street heading toward Dealey Plaza. There, at a small informal cheering station, sat an elderly woman holding a sign that thanked us for walking “from a 50-year survivor.” Without even thinking about it, I stopped, knelt at her feet, and took and kissed her hand. We both cried. I could go on for days about powerful 3-Day memories, but those may be the clearest in my mind.

How do you live the 3-Day spirit and spread the word all year long?

The 3-Day spirit and the mission is much more than just the three days of the event. It is year-round. As I always write to my donors during October, “you and I don’t need no stinkin’ awareness month.” My pink Komen bracelet is on my wrist every minute of every day. When I go out for a walk, whether for training or (especially these past couple of months) to get out of the house and get some air, I always wear a 3-Day shirt, 3-Day hat, and hot pink sneakers, along with my fanny pack festooned with 3-Day pins. I want always to be a walking billboard.

Every once in a while, it pays off when a woman passing me or going the other way looks at my get-up, and I can see in her face that she is thinking, “Yes, I need to make an appointment for a mammogram.”

Now that you’ve raised $250,000, what’s the next goal you’ve got your eyes on?

The thought that I have actually raised $250,000 is still astonishing to me. I remember so vividly when I sent out my first fundraising email in the Spring of 2004, I was wondering how much of the minimum fundraising requirement I could raise through donors and how much I would have to self-donate to do that one walk.

Amazingly, I wound up the number three fundraiser for San Diego 3-Day in 2004. Those wonderful people have never stopped donating. A few weeks ago, within moments of receiving the donation that put me over $250,000, I received another donation.

I thought how fitting it was to immediately start on the next $250,000. Well, it took me 16 years to raise this much. At my age, I cannot imagine being able to do this for another 16 years…there is, after all, only one George Nummer. However, my goal remains what it has been from the first dollar I raised: to do everything I can to slay the monster that murdered my Judy. So, for as long as I can, I will keep fundraising and walking.

Tell us what the 3-Day means to you.

The 3-Day has enabled me to fight back against my beloved cousin’s killer.

It has allowed me to be the conduit for the generosity of the many people in my world who have responded to my fundraising emails over the years.

It has brought me lifelong friends from among those I have met on event, and from my own local New York group of walkers.

The 3-Day has given me a purpose beyond my own day-to-day life. I cannot imagine what the last 16 years would have been without it.

Burt, we cannot thank you enough for your passion, dedication, and heart. THANK YOU for your commitment to making a difference in the fight against breast cancer. We are inspired by you and grateful for the contribution you’ve made to lead our Komen 3-Day family with your remarkable fundraising accomplishment!

Burt’s achievement will qualify him for the next level in the Lifetime Commitment Circle. He joins Loretta Englishbee, Kathy Giller and Bert Stein as Impact members at the $250,000 level.

Bringing the 3-Day Tenets Alive Through Acts of Kindness

On the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, we create an atmosphere of love, acceptance and kindness. Some of us fondly call this the Pink Bubble. In the Pink Bubble, we live by a few simple tenets:

1. Be kind. 2. Have fun. 3. Make new friends. 4. No whining. 5. Give hugs and high fives freely. 6. Don’t be afraid to cry. and 7. We are all in this together.

We also try to carry those tenets into our regular lives when we leave a 3-Day event and travel back home.

Current times are making it difficult to make new friends and give hugs and high fives freely. But our first tenet is one that doesn’t cost anything, you can do it from the safety of your home and it comes naturally for many of our walkers and others throughout the country.

A few of our 3-Day walkers and crew members have shared how they are spreading acts of kindness to help their communities, bring smiles to people’s faces and spreading that Pink Bubble love.

Sandy K. (20-time Walker): “I am writing daily notes to medical and first/frontline responders, as well as senior housing patients. GirlsLoveMail’s Gina M. gets letters to breast cancer treatment patients. Many of us are doing a lot; perhaps some don’t know what to do. We have an army we can mobilize in so many ways. I am lost without my volunteer work opportunities right now…so this is how I course correct. Having a purpose is serving me well.”

Lynne M. (7-time Medical Crew): “In many ways 25 years of critical care nursing did not prepare me for what is happening now, but in the most important ways it did. My knowledge of isolation procedures, my experience treating patients, my compassion…these are the things that give me not only hope, but also give me comfort in this time of so much ‘fear of the unknown.’

As a hospital educator, one of my jobs is to make sure that EVERY person who may be exposed has the right PPE and knows how to use it. Right now, it is a BIG job. On the front lines, I see nurses helping each other more than ever before. I see ancillary departments stepping up to make sure that if the surge hits, we will be prepared. I see staff risking everything to be at the bedside of the dying patient who is not allowed to have any visitors.

As a 3-Day volunteer for many years I know what the bubble feels like. I feel that bubble at work these days and I am thankful.”

Sandee H. (1-time Walker): “I’m sewing fabric masks for senior retirement community…keeping residents and staff safe💕.”

Kathy P. (12-time Walker and 3-time Crew): “I’m making masks and scrub hats for my EMS and nursing coworkers. Any money people want to pay is being asked to be donated to my 3-Day fundraising this year.”

Jamie W. (2-time Walker and 3-time Crew): is a nurse in Texas who has decided to help on the front lines in New York.

Kathleen B. (9-time Walker and 8-time Crew): “I’m repurposing the chalk in my crew box and writing notes on the sidewalk to inspire others!”

Jacqueline B. (First-time Walker in 2020): “I’m making masks to donate and bracelets to put a smile on someone’s face. It keeps me busy and feels good. ❤”

Michele. (14-time Walker and 2-time Crew): An administrative assistant for the city of Cartersville, GA, Michele has been coming to work each day at the fire station to help support first responders.

Julie J. (23-time Walker and 2-time Crew): “Every morning I start the day singing a song with my morning coffee on Facebook live.”

Pala L. (35-time Walker): “Perhaps I can’t sew masks, but my husband, Tom, and I did find a way to help! We’ve joined with volunteers at Angels Wear Gowns to assemble (at home) these simple no-sew plastic gowns for workers needing extra protection caring for COVID patients. If you have scissors, a marker and some clips/clothespins, everything else is provided. Or perhaps you — or someone you know — may be able to donate supplies.”

What are you doing to spread kindness during these unprecedented times? Share in the comments below or on social media by tagging @The3Day on Facebook or Twitter and @Komen3Day on Instagram and using the hashtag #3DayTogether.

3-Day Training Walk Scavenger Hunt

Are you almost to the bottom of your playlist? Have you finished those podcasts and audiobooks you’ve been meaning to listen to? Looking for something else to do on your training walks? The 3-Day team has you covered.  

Grab your best 3-Day gear and make your next training walk an adventure with the official 3-Day Scavenger Hunt! We may be away from our family and friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and connect with the beauty around us while training for the 3-Day. Just like we take the time to appreciate the scenery and unique landmarks in each 3-Day city, we encourage you to do the same in your neighborhood. 

A big thanks to Cliff’s Crew, a 3-Day walking team that has regularly walked in the San Diego 3-Day for the past 17 years, for sharing their training walk scavenger hunt with the 3-Day team and giving us the idea to create our own.  

During your next walk (or next few walks) outdoors, see how many items you can check off the list on your own or share the list with your fellow walkers and turn it into a challenge. Let us know how many you can check off the list by tagging us @The3Day on Facebook and Twitter or @Komen3Day on Instagram. We may be apart, but we can still train #3DayTogether.  

  1. Pink flower 
  1. Christmas lights on someone’s house 
  1. Cloud in the shape of an object/person/animal 
  1. Hopscotch in sidewalk chalk (kudos to you if you also hop it!) 
  1. Water feature (fountain, waterfall, puddle) 
  1. The number 3 (could be on a street sign, address, poster in a store window…) 
  1. Signs for front-line workers 
  1. Red door 
  1. Duck in a pond 
  1. Flowerbox on a house or business 
  1. 3-Day Yard Sign 
  1. License plate with a pink ribbon or bumper sticker with pink ribbon  
  1. Colorful bird  
  1. Flag 
  1. Door with a wreath on it 
  1. Classic car 
  1. Something yellow (in honor of Youth Corps) 
  1. Your favorite mailbox seen on your walk 
  1. Dog (other than your own) 
  1. Bird’s nest 

What would you add to this list? Leave it in the comments below or share your own scavenger hunt on social media @The3Day on Facebook and Twitter or @Komen3Day on Instagram 

Bring a Little Pink Bubble Magic into Your Day with 3-Day Virtual Backgrounds

We’re using video conferencing for everything these days — work meetings, happy hour hangouts, birthday parties, family gatherings, classes and more. So why not add a little Pink Bubble spirit to your video calls? The 3-Day team created some backgrounds you can use to pink up your calls with a 3-Day twist! Revisit the magic of the Pink Bubble, the way life should be every day — kinder, more joyful and FUN — as you use these 3-Day backgrounds.

We’ve created seven different 3-Day-themed backgrounds for your video calls. You can put yourself in the middle of the 3-Day Pink Bubble tenets, take that work call in the middle of a Closing Ceremony shoe raise, or put yourself on a beachfront 3-Day route at your next happy hour hangout.

These photos are sure to spark some wonderful memories or get you excited for what’s to come. The backgrounds are also a great conversation starter and opportunity to share what the 3-Day is all about with the other people on your video call.

It’s easy to add a 3-Day background to your next video call. Simply right-click on the image and save it to your computer. Then, follow the video conferencing platform’s instructions to add that 3-Day love to your next video chat. These backgrounds are free and available for anyone to use.  

Follow the hashtag #3DayTogether on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see what else we’re doing to keep the Pink Bubble feeling thriving all year long.

What’s Motivating Our 3-Day Team Right Now?

Many of us are living in a different reality right now. Tackling new and building responsibilities, staying away from loved ones and grappling with all of the uncertainty can be a strain on your mental and physical health. During unprecedented times like these, it’s important to focus on the good: good people, good experiences, good things, good feelings.

Our 3-Day team is finding the good in their daily routines and sharing what’s working to brighten their days. We hope some of these ideas will help you, your family and your friends live a little closer to that Pink Bubble feeling.

Gayla Cruikshank, Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coach

Galya Letter Motivation

“I’m mailing High Five note cards to my DFW 3-Day participants every day. It makes me smile and hope it does the same for them. I also have an external monitor with a live webcam at www.CCI.org/puppycam to watch future service dogs hanging out with their litter.”

Amy Schwager, 3-Day Crew and Volunteer Coordinator

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things. This is all a privilege. To shelter in place with the people I love. The long hikes on empty trails. Working from home. Distance learning for my boys. A fridge of food and a kitchen to cook in. It is all a privilege.

I would give anything for the catalyst to have been something else. But I continue to be thankful for the unexpected blessings during these unexpected times. It feels amazing to downshift and enjoy the little things.”

Tisho Jessop, 3-Day New England Coach

Tisho - FaceTime with Baba

“The most inspiring thing I’ve seen lately is this video. It’s so uplifting and so inspiring to think of these future doctors excited to continue on their chosen path in the midst of a global pandemic.

Also, my grandmother, who is 95, always inspires me, but right now she’s confined to her room at her assisted living facility and not allowed to leave even for meals. And yet, thanks to her facility purchasing iPads and using them to connect families, I can see her smile. If she can smile like that and not be allowed to leave her room, I can move forward with whatever today brings my way.”

Staci Roos, 3-Day Coach

Staci - Sunset

“I’m trying hard to find a “silver lining” each day; something to be grateful and thankful for. For one, I’m very grateful that we are in springtime instead of winter. While the news, isolation and fear are all palpable, to be able to go outside and see nature renewing itself, feel the wind and the chill, smell the new blooms and hear the birds, I can close my eyes and envision a day when we have reached the other side of this challenge with new appreciation for so many of life’s pleasures.

To keep myself and my family from sinking into the doldrums, we’re continuing to eat dinner together and share stories from our day, light candles, do puzzles, spruce up the garden, and get outside for walks as often as possible.”

Heather Snyder, 3-Day Coach

“My inspiration right now are my friends who are healthcare workers! Heroes in my opinion! Going to work every day knowing that they are jeopardizing their own health and that of their families. Knowing that those who test positive and recover, need to go back in the requisite amount of time with the fear of contracting it again. That has been the case with a few of my friends…. I cannot thank them enough.

My motivation right now and my “peaceful place” has been daily meditation. Prior to the current uncertainty, I never appreciated the “calm” this practice truly brings. I look forward to my 20 minutes I set aside each day and am grateful when I am done.”

Kiki Setterlund, 3-Day Crew and Volunteer Coordinator

Kiki - Finn and Evy

“What’s inspiring me these days are the two new work colleagues my husband and I have acquired for the foreseeable future. My son (Finn) and daughter (Evy) are currently on week two of distance learning for school. We had to reconfigure the house and our original offices in order to create a quiet workspace for each family member. I’ve been really impressed with the team effort that has shown through as we try to help each other out and make us our most productive selves.”

Robin Shapiro, Volunteer Operations Manager

Robin - Little Library

“I am super inspired by the kindness my neighbors are showing one another. We have a neighborhood chat where people are offering to go to the grocery store and pick up items for those who are vulnerable and shouldn’t go out. We are also sharing supplies of hand sanitizer and paper products with those who are running low. Neighbors are writing encouraging notes to one another in chalk on the sidewalks and many are spreading love like what is pictured.”

Molly Fast, Local Operations Director

3DAY_2020Coaches

“During my Wednesday team call with the coaches, I asked ‘What is one pleasantly surprising way COVID-19 has positively impacted your life?’ The answers all inspired me and reminded me that we are all doing the best that we can and seeking out silver linings. The answers ranged from saving money to getting a new dog to walking more to trading screen time for brain puzzles to enjoying home-cooked meals by children who aren’t normally home to becoming *more* connected to co-workers with daily video chats.”

What’s inspiring you to be your best self right now? Share in the comments below!