Goose Bump Moments

I asked our 3-Day coaches, as well as some of the 3-Day participants I’ve interviewed for this blog, to share a special memory – a goose bump moment – which they cherish. Their responses illustrate the “magic” that is the 3-Day.

Jane R. “One of my favorite 3-Day goose bump moments is being a part of the human chute that walkers form at the end of the 3-Day to welcome those reaching the finish line later in the day.” Veteran walkers – I’m sure you know the magic she’s talking about. First-timers – just wait! You’re in for a beautiful surprise.

Chicago 3-Day participants celebrate their final steps while others cheer them on.

Chicago 3-Day participants celebrate their final steps while others cheer them on.

Erin H. “We were on mile 55 of my very first 3-Day, in Seattle. It had been a rougher journey than expected. Our reason for walking, Claudia, needed to be pushed in a wheelchair as her chemo was taking its toll on her feet. As we rounded a corner, I spotted my family waving at me and they were all wearing t-shirts that read: Proud Husband, Proud Mom, Proud Son, and Proud Daughter. I hadn’t expected to see them until I was done walking and their shirts put me over the edge. Another walker came up and said, ‘Is this your family? Can I hug you?’ That was in 2005 and it still gives me goose bumps today!”

Day 2

Hugs at the Twin Cities 3-Day.

Gayla C. “My first 3-Day in 2005 will always be remembered for the record heat! The 98 degree heat and high humidity made us miserable and the amazing 3-Day medical staff had their work cut out for them at every pit stop. I was walking alone and feeling as if I couldn’t take another step as I approached a pit stop. I will never forget a man who helped me take off my shoes and socks and proceeded to clean and dry my shoes as I changed my socks. That gesture of kindness was the boost I needed to continue. His encouragement when I needed it the most was just one example of the humanity you experience on the 3-Day.”

Kate G. “One year as a 3-Day crew member, my job was to transport walkers with special medical needs to camp if they had to quit for the day. Two women became regular passengers, and I learned that they were walking for their sister who was currently fighting breast cancer. On the last day, I waited at the finish line in hopes of seeing them complete their 3-Day journey that had been such a challenge. Sure enough they appeared, and my crew mate and I cheered enthusiastically. The woman next to us asked why I was cheering for them, and I told her that they were ‘my girls.’ To my surprise, she said, ‘They are also MY girls!’ It was their sister, the cancer patient! We hugged and cried together for ‘our girls’ through the Closing Ceremony!”

Day 2

Michigan 3-Day Medical Crew provided first aid – and smiles.

Paula H. “One year, while crossing a busy intersection with a group of 3-Day walkers, the driver waiting for us to cross made eye contact with me. Her head was covered by a bandana, and she was mouthing the words, ‘Thank You,’ and crying. I knew in that instant that she was a cancer warrior fighting her battle, and I gave her two big thumbs up as we crossed and said, ‘We’re doing this for you!’ All of the walkers with me simultaneously gave her a thumbs up and more cheers. Once across the street, we saw the cancer center where she was headed. It was the most memorable and spontaneous 3-Day moment I have ever experienced.”


These special 3-Day memories are why so many of us come back to the event year after year. Please share your goose bump moments in the comments section below.

9 thoughts on “Goose Bump Moments

  1. This year is my first 3-Day event. There were five of us on the team; my sister, my sister’s sister-in-law, my niece, my daughter, and me. The first day at the end it was tough and my sister laughingly asked, “Why again are we doing this?” I replied laughingly with, “Let me show you the scars” through my tears of just finishing the first day and as she hugged me close. My niece and daughter had already finished the day. The second day was the toughest, but we made it. My niece and daughter finished before us again. The third day was the most memorable as my daughter struggled the whole way due to the road rash on her feet. We had about five more miles to finish and I said, “We can take the sweep van because you look like you are in so much pain.” She had bandaids on every toes and curve of her feet. She replied with, “If you can survive cancer, I can walk the rest of the way!” Then we came into view of the Ford building and thought about what we had just done, I cried with joy the rest of the way! The whole experience is one awesome memory and I’ve already signed up for the Atlanta one in 2014.

  2. Sheryl, yours is truly a goose bump worthy story! I recall a sign on one of my walks that read, “Blisters don’t require chemo!” It kept me walking when by feet thought differently! Thank you for sharing, and for being one of our courageous survivors.

  3. In 2012, I walked my first 3-Day in Washington, DC. I wore a bright pink fuzzy scarf that had knit in honor of a cousin, 1 of 5 family members who have lost their battle with breast cancer. As the day warmed up I tied the scarf to my pack. It wasn’t until lunch that I discovered I had lost it. Day 2 was very difficult, mentally, emotionally and especially physically. My knee finally gave out 5-6 miles after lunch and my teammate convinced me to take a sweep van to the next pit stop to ice it for a while. Limping in to the medical tent at Pit 4, we spotted my scarf around the neck of a flamingo statue. i just buried my face in it and cried with joy while my friend explained the significance of the scarf to the bewildered medical crew. The scarf had been found at Pit 1 on day 1, and they just kept putting it on display in the hopes it would get back to the owner. While the decision to take the sweep van was difficult, we discovered that we had walked all but he first 1/2 mile of that section of the route 2 weeks prior during a volunteer “street team” training walk…and if we hadn’t taken the sweep van I would not have found the scarf!

  4. In 2011 I walked my first 3-Day in Atlanta, Georgia. My sister asked me to join her as her usual walking buddy was unable to participate that year. Karen had joined a great bunch of women whom I met early Friday morning. By lunch Saturday I was feeling pretty defeated not having trained nearly enough. Just when I had decided to catch the sweep van back to the camp, Janet, the woman we were walking for, stood up to get us all started again. She talked about how tough that second day is but said it was nothing compared to the treatments and joint pain she was experiencing. She was so upbeat and positive and happy. Janet inspired me to keep walking by sharing her strength with me that day. And she did it without even knowing it! Finishing that 3-day walk has made me a stronger woman in ways I can’t explain. I will be forever thankful to Janet for the amazing and inspiring woman she is in her very special and humble way.

  5. There are so many goose bump moments on every 3-Day. My first was in 2004, my first walk, when my husband appeared at the first cheering station on Sunday with a shirt that read “Proud Husband of This Woman” with a picture of me he had taken on Friday at Opening Ceremonies. He got up at 3 a.m. to get to the Boston area for that first cheering station. The last three years, the goose bump moments in Boston are when I’ve seen Peter and Nancy along the route. They are fighting so hard to win this battle. If they can show up to cheer me on, the least I can do is keep walking to find a cure for them.

  6. Such a great story, Kim. I am so happy you and your special scarf were reunited. That was one decked out flamingo! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Finding our inner strength is truly one of the blessings of the 3-Day, Ingrid. Like you, I find inspiration, and the motivation to keep walking, by looking at the heroes among us who have had a much tougher battle.

  8. Kate, I could not agree more. Seeing a loved one along the route always adds some pep to my step! I love passing through cheering stations and absorbing the energy of so many wonderful supporters. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Pingback: Building Connections: The 3-Day Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2013, Part 1 | The 3-Day Blog

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