3-Day Superheroes Part 2

Continuing on with our 3-Day Superheroes series, we wanted to recognize those in the Pink Bubble who continue to show their outstanding commitment, support and care as part of each 3-Day they participate in. We asked our 3-Day coaches and staff to highlight someone, whether walker or crew, who goes above and beyond the call to action. That is what being a 3-Day superhero is all about. 

Superhero Anne: 

Anne is one of those quietly powerful Superheroes who will go above and beyond to help any participant, and always approaches people with love and grace (and the world’s best hugs). She is always willing to jump in with the speed of light and come to the rescue of anyone in need. She’s the kind of dependable, rock steady, strong survivor that makes being her coach so wonderful. 

What inspires you to go above and beyond for this cause? 

I have made many wonderful friends through the 3-Day and have joyfully celebrated the survivors. Sadly, though, when one lives immersed in a breast cancer world, sometimes friends are lost to the disease; I’ve lost count of the 3-Day friends gone too soon. It is never easy to lose a friend, therefore I keep walking and raising funds in an effort to bring breast cancer to its knees. Outside of the 3-Day, I have come to know many people affected by breast cancer. Both my mother-in-law and my dear friend Katie, who did more than any doctor to get me through my own breast cancer journey, died in 2015. While my mother-in-law led a full life, Katie was fairly young and left behind four children who needed a mom — this fact is unacceptable to me and fueled my passion even further. Last month my friend Claire, one of the very best people I’ve ever known, succumbed to breast cancer. My anger at the audacity of this disease to claim such extraordinary people will propel my aging body forward to do everything I possibly can to end this disease. As long as I have an ounce of energy left in me, I will raise my voice to fight and fundraise and walk to give everyone the full lifetime they deserve! 

Superhero Sheryl: 

As someone who walks, serves on our Medical crew team, co-captains a Lifetime Commitment Club team and is a very generous donor, we wanted to highlight the unique role Sheryl plays as part of our 3-Day family. 

What is your connection to breast cancer? 
I have to answer with a bit of a story because I connect in so many ways. I completed my Family Practice medical residency and moved to Dallas in 1992. I was a young doctor with boundless energy and entered into a random 5K run to get some exercise and to get a free t-shirt. That 5K was the Dallas Race for the Cure, and I was impressed with the incredible organizational skills of the race and marveled at the fact that it was an event put together by women for women. Medicine then was still predominately a man’s profession, and I was quite intrigued with this classy, efficient, smart, strong, confident women’s organization in healthcare. At that time, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer was only 75% and the five-year disease-free statistics were even worse. Breast cancer threatened the life of every woman I diagnosed with it, and I counseled each one to update her will before starting treatment. That 5K culminated in a survivor’s march of women walking arm-in-arm *celebrating* their successive years of life since being treated for breast cancer. Their triumph, resolve, and joy permeated me…body, mind, and spirit…and I stood there with tears streaming down my face. I heard Nancy Brinker assert that the mission of Susan G. Komen was to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease in our lifetime. I’m not sure I truly believed it could be accomplished, but I knew I wanted to ride that wave of vision and determination! 
 
So it was a free t-shirt and a great business model that got me interested in breast cancer initially. I had lost my own mother to colon cancer when she was 47 years old and I was 21. I quietly and discreetly gravitated toward older women who could mentor me personally and professionally. Two race chairs, Sue Ann and Ellen, helped introduce me to Komen. I learned how to conduct a business meeting, I learned how to be assertive, I learned how to manage business finances, and I learned a lot about breast cancer and about its impact on the women’s and men’s lives it affects. I learned that some parts of the organization need to be operated like a battleship ready for combat, yet other aspects need to be operated like a cruise ship setting sail for vacation. None of those things had been taught in medical school. It made me a better doctor, a better businesswoman and a better person. 
 
I do have a family history of breast cancer. When I was young, my Aunt Evelyn let my twin sister and I throw her breast prosthesis like a bean bag toy. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in her thirties, had a radical mastectomy, but passed away in her eighties of other causes. My Aunt Gin was diagnosed in 1990 and was a proud 27-year survivor when she passed away at age 90, also of other causes. I have had countless patients and friends affected by breast cancer, each of whom has touched me in a special way. Now I am captain of a 3-Day team called STEPS (Screening, Treatment, and Education Programs). I have walked and/or been medical crew for 28 3-Day events. I am a staunch advocate for those affected by breast cancer and have donated to Susan G. Komen for 30 years. I don’t always agree with Komen Headquarters about some of their policies, but my support of the science and life-saving research has not wavered. Sometimes I get lazy, arrogant, or complacent about my commitment. Then I turn to my team and other Pink Bubble family and I am inspired. I see my teammates train through blisters, heat, and with burdened hearts from being in treatment or loved ones being in treatment. At the end of the 3-Day 60-mile walk they give you a free t-shirt. So I guess that’s my connection to breast cancer… the free t-shirts.

As the saying goes, “not all superheroes wear capes.” Some wear pink. Thank you to all of you who show insurmountable support and commitment to finding the cures to breast cancer!  

Welcoming New Members to the Lifetime Commitment Circle

The Lifetime Commitment Circle honors those who have gone above and beyond their fundraising goals, raising $100,000 individually or $1 million as a team. The following participants recently reached the amazing lifetime fundraising goal of $100,000. Read below to learn what it means to them. 

“I couldn’t have reached this milestone without all the amazing support from my donors. This is their milestone as much as it is mine! I walk so that one day my daughters won’t HAVE to…they will only walk because they WANT to.” —Nicole S. 

“I am so proud to say that since 2018 I have raised about $150,000 for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and prior to that, I raised about $100,000 for the Avon 39 Walks! It means the world to me and the more I raise the more I want to help everyone! As a 17-year breast cancer survivor all I want is for no one to have to hear the words ‘you have cancer.’ I want to participate in the 3-Day along with more survivors every year until the cures are found. It’s an extremely important part of my life!” —Debbie S. 

“Reaching this fundraising milestone has made me realize how blessed I am to have such an amazing circle of family and friends that continue to support my 3-Day journey. I couldn’t have gotten this far without them. I will continue to walk as long as I’m able, because we’re not done yet!” —Beth N. 

“I feel blessed that I have been able to be a part of the 3-Day family. I feel if we all work together, we can make a difference.” —Laura F.-K. 

“My mom died of breast cancer 50 years ago. At the time, there was no hope and no cure, and my Mom fought her battle in silence. When the 3-Day events began, I signed up to walk. My daughter was about two years old. I made a promise that I would walk until there was a cure. For 23 years I have worn the same shirt on Day 3 that reads, “In memory of my Mom. In hope for my daughter’s future.” The 3-Day and the $100,000 I have raised reminds me every day that there absolutely is hope and we will find the cures. No one needs to fight in silence.” —Julie L. 

“Fundraising was incredibly intimidating for me when I first walked the 3-Day in 2006. I carefully picked who I sent letters to and was absolutely amazed at the response I received and the personal stories I heard. Through my continued participation each year, I saw the work Susan G. Komen was doing and became unapologetically greedy for this cause.    

I don’t take it personally if someone donates or not. I have gotten bolder each year, and now ask anyone and everyone to join me in my journey to finding the cures. I live in my 3-Day shirts when I am fundraising, and I did not own even one pink item before 2004. I ask for donations multiple times. I wear my team pin daily and pass out my business card at the slightest interest by random strangers. I am so very proud of the dollars my loyal and first-time donors and I have raised, because I know that together we are making a difference. Reaching $100,000 in donations is incredible. I never dreamed I could reach it ― until it appeared I could. Now, I’m working to get to $150,000 this season!   

I started walking in memory of a treasured friend who lost her 12-year battle with breast cancer in 2004. I was unaware of Susan G. Komen before Gail died. Since then, I have been surrounded by this diagnosis through family and friends, so I continue to raise money for those in my life, and those in my donors’ lives.    

My closest friend since childhood has told me her story changed because of what I was doing and the advances in treatment she benefitted from six years ago. Also, a beloved family member of mine is thriving following her mastectomy and treatment plan. How can you stop fundraising after that? The 3-Day community has become my cherished family over these past 15 years and 17 walks. As one, we are walking towards the world as we wish it could be every day ― filled with love, compassion, laughter and hope. For all these reasons, and more, I cannot walk away.” —Nancy S. 

“Reaching $100,000 means that I have achieved part of my goal to help put an end to breast cancer. I continue to fundraise, though, because SO much more is needed. My next personal goal is to reach $200,000 before I turn 80. And I expect to continue to fundraise and walk well past then! Finding the Komen 3-Day has truly been a life-changing event for me and will continue to be until I am no longer here.” —Glen D. 

“Reaching the $100,000 milestone has reinforced for me how important community is in fighting breast cancer. I could not have reached this milestone without the love and support of my family, friends and community. I continue to fundraise and participate in the 3-Day because I continue to lose friends and family to this terrible disease. I have lost my mother and countless friends, and I don’t want to lose any more. I walk for them, and I walk for the future of my daughter, daughters-in-law and my granddaughters!” —Sue T. 

“I am flattered but extremely grateful to be recognized for my fundraising. Like everyone inside the Pink Bubble, I walk and raise money to help create a world without breast cancer. The 3-Day has been an integral part of my life since I traveled from my home in the Cayman Islands to Dallas/Fort Worth for my first walk in 2011. Little did I know back then where this journey would take me over the next 11 years: 18 completed 3-Days (plus 11 additional long-distance walks for breast cancer), over 1,000 miles walked, over $100,000 raised, several pink tutus and furry Muppet hats I wear on the route, and countless new friends, many of whom have encouraged me to start a 3-Day on Grand Cayman (our island is so small that it would consist of loops!). 

The 3-Day world is one of kindness, compassion, empathy and inspiration where courageous survivors walk alongside grateful wanderers like yours truly and experience every possible emotion along the way. I have cherished sharing the sidewalks with those whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer. My own list of loved ones for whom I walk in tribute or memory has grown each year and includes my Aunt Helen, who was diagnosed in May 2020 and is now cancer-free after a year of treatment with her family over 1,500 miles away. My walk in San Diego last November was in honor of Aunt Helen. 

I can’t wait to walk in all four events in 2022, including Chicago, where my daughter Madison will join me for her 3-Day debut. Thank you again for all you do to support us, and I look forward to seeing everyone later this year.” —Rob I. 

“It’s always hard to boast about yourself but reaching $100,000 was a very proud moment for me. Having never done any kind of fundraising like the 3-Day requires, I didn’t know how I was even going to raise $2,300 my first year. However, once I started, with dear friends and family still suffering from this awful disease, I haven’t even considered stopping. Next thing I knew, I was hitting milestones that kept driving me to do more. Susan G. Komen has been a part of so many breakthroughs in breast cancer research, I feel great about being able to support their efforts. This disease is instantly life changing, and often not for the good, so finding the cures is our way of trying to protect future generations!” —Stephanie S. 

“I’ve been participating in this event for a long time. I am addicted and have been walking 3-Day events since 1998 and Komen 3-Days since they started in the early 2000s.  

I have a loyal and generous set of teammates in the donors who have supported my addiction/commitment for these many years. I am very grateful for them and honored to be teammates with them in the fight against breast cancer. 

I am thrilled to have been able to contribute to the essential work that Susan G. Komen does in bringing an end to breast cancer and supporting those who contract the disease. The advances that have been made in detection and treatment since I started walking in 1998 are astounding, and the money that has been able to go to facilitating access to those advances is hugely important.  

Our job is not yet done. Until there is an end to this disease, there is more work to be done. My best friend and tentmate/teammate was diagnosed in 2020. She benefitted from the advances made in the 20 years since her sister died of the disease. We are on a good path, but we are not done yet.  

The people and environment in each 3-Day is so special, like nothing else that I have experienced. I have deepened friendships with my teammates through training, fundraising and walking.  

I am also contagious… I have brought many friends and acquaintances to the 3-Day. It is my happy place.” —Peggy P. 

Susan G. Komen® was founded on a promise from one sister to another to do everything in her power to bring an end to breast cancer. The commitment you all show when you go above and beyond your fundraising goals to reach these incredible milestones is recognized by induction into the Lifetime Commitment Circle. We congratulate and thank each of you for supporting Komen’s vision of a world without breast cancer. For more information on the Lifetime Commitment Circle, click here. Stay tuned for our next blog about the Lifetime Commitment Circle, honoring all of the 3-Day teams who have recently reached a lifetime fundraising total of $1,000,000. 

3-Day Superheroes

On this National Superhero Day, we wanted to recognize those in the Pink Bubble who continue to show their outstanding commitment, support and care as part of each 3-Day they participate in. We asked our 3-Day coaches and staff to highlight someone, whether walker or crew, who goes above and beyond the call to action. That is what being a 3-Day superhero is all about. 

Superhero Stephanie: 

Stephanie has a smile that is contagious. She continues to be one of our brightest lights in our 3-Day crew community, despite having one of the toughest and most challenging jobs: collecting ALL the trash out on the 3-Day Route. Stephanie embraces her role with grace, enthusiasm and determination. She is one of the last crew members to arrive back to camp each night and her job isn’t finished when she arrives home. She has to unload all the trash and recycling and transfer pounds and pounds of bags into the dumpsters. You will never see Stephanie without a smile on her face.  

What inspires you to go above and beyond for this cause? 

I don’t have any family that has been affected by breast cancer, but I know of many who either are fighting or who have caught their wings. In 2006, I was just looking for a way to up my volunteerism and the 3-Day had been in Kansas City the year before, so I signed up. Best registration EVER!!! Boston 2022 will be my 26th 3-Day, and this does not count the few Avon events nor the one-day Race for the Cure events held in KC over the years. I also tend to return to what I love and that’s route clean-up. There’s something about tossing trash bags, sometimes known as ‘juicers’ by the end of the day. I enjoy it! During the process of crewing, I’ve met many and have heard countless stories of the why’s and who’s and whatnot. I go above and beyond because there is another who cannot and the best reason I can really give is “why not?” 

Superhero Cliff: 

Many 3-Day veterans know this: Cliff and his team, “Cliff’s Crew,” model the heart and soul of the 3-Day in every way. Cliff leads with love and is as humble and as strong as anyone you’ll ever meet. Through all of life’s challenges, Cliff remains steady — a shoulder to lean on, a reassuring voice, a rock. Cliff, you are a Superhero in every sense. It is one of life’s great honors to know you and call you a friend. 

What inspires you to go above and beyond? 

Oh, so many things. On my first walk it was the walkers that came in on Day 3 with their shoes cut out by medical to relieve the pressure on their feet, or those that came in with ice bags taped to their legs as they limped across the finish line; never giving up. Hugging them in and crying with them in their pain as well as their joy. 

The longer I continued to walk, the more survivors I met, both men and women. Those who were walking for family and friends that had passed. 

Then I was inspired by my personal heroes of the 3 Day that have mentored me and taught me how to lead. People like Lee & Kathy Giller, Kathy D. of The Cup Crusaders, Larry R. and so many others. 

Lastly, the new walkers that contact me asking if they can do this and then later cheering them in on Day 3 when they realize what they’ve done and how they made a difference. 

What is your connection to breast cancer? 

It started with the loss of my dear friend Betty Lou, but over all these years it has become those walkers who were survivors and now we have lost them. In the Remembrance Tent, I have quite a few friends and teammates who I am honored to have walked with. My team members are my family and they always will be. 

As the saying goes, “not all superheroes wear capes.” Some wear pink. Thank you to all of you who show insurmountable support and commitment to finding the cures to breast cancer! Stay tuned for our future 3-Day Superhero blogs.