What do you get when you have a party of merry-going women from around the country away from kids, husbands and with few inhibitions? “Well, we call it ‘Girlapalooza,’ but you also get someone at the party suggesting you do the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®!” said Kathleen Butler, the team captain of the largest team of 60-mile walker/fundraisers this year on the Washington, D.C. 3-Day. “We weren’t quite sure who suggested it in 2007, but off we went, from a gathering of college friends and friends of friends, we became a team with a cause.”
Teams of walkers form for the 60-mile, 3-Day walk to help each other train, raise at least $2,300 each and support each other over the grueling course. Fashion is, of course, of the highest priority for Komen 3-Day teams and the creativity and liberal use of pink together dominate the teams’ attire. Fundraising can also be tough, but Team Girlapalooza with its 56 members this year, managed to pull in $86,566, putting them as the number four out of five of the top team fundraisers. “Our success in fundraising simply comes from having members who step out of their comfort zones and ask!” said Kathleen. “And yes, we welcome walkers onto our team from all over the country. We all meet for a dinner the night before the walk and really get to know the newcomers.”
Among the newcomers are Dawn from Kentucky who found Team Girlapalooza on The3Day.org message board. “They were very accepting,” said Dawn after Pit Stop 2 today. “I’m walking for a friend of mine, a teacher from back home who died from breast cancer last year.” Cynthia from Huntsville, Alabama is a first-time walker and is celebrating her 31st anniversary of being cancer free!
Among the veteran members, Julie Lobdell is receiving a special award this weekend for her 10 years of effort on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day with $126,980 raised to date. What an accomplishment! This award, known as the Milestone Award, is given to one participant in each city each year, and Julie is more than deserving of this recognition.
“I joined up with Team Girlapalooza because I needed to be on a team here in Washington, D.C.” said Cynthia on the chilly morning before the event started Friday. She seemed a bit nervous about the start of such a long walk but mentioned, “I’ve got my Tasheia, my daughter, with me from West Virginia, so we’re going to do this.”
Although Kathleen is the captain of Team Girlapalooza, she alternates years where she walks the 60-miles and serves as a volunteer crew member. Kathleen will be the captain of the Lunch Crew this year, so watch out for their highly original, themed lunch stops each day.
A large percentage of participants in the 3-Day have direct and indirect connections to breast cancer and Kathleen is no different. “I have the family connections, but I also teach First Grade Sunday School, and two out of three years teaching I’ve had six year old girls who have lost their moms to breast cancer,” said Kathleen, turning over her credentials on her lanyard to show a family portrait of the girls from church. It’s hard not to tear up when she talks about them. “I just can’t believe that such wonderful little girls have to go to bed without hugging their mommy,” Kathleen affirms. “That’s why we do it.”
Say hello to Team Girlapalooza this weekend!