Debbie decided nine years ago that she wanted to do something “BIG” in her parent’s memory, who both died of cancer. “I have five sisters, so doing the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® seemed like the biggest thing I could do,” said Debbie. She signed up alone and was planning on walking the 60-mile course just one time. Little did she know of her future connections with the Komen 3-Day.
“That first year, I met a new friend, Kathy Lee, who was a breast cancer survivor,” explained Debbie. “Kathy Lee and I became dear friends and we have walked together for the past eight years. My sister, Janie, then joined our team and has walked with me for the past seven years. Then my daughter Staci walked with me. My grandson has been cheering me on for the past eight years. He just turned 16, so he is eligible to walk this year!” He has been making and selling bracelets to family and friends so that he could raise money to walk. “He made it and we are so proud of him!” Debbie is more than excited to have a group of four sisters on the team this year in Atlanta and 11 members total.
While most stories of 3-Day fundraising would end there, Debbie’s story continues. “It’s a bit difficult to describe all the details, but while cheering at the Atlanta 3-Day in 2011 for friends, I met another supporter with the same 3-Day style T-shirt on. Esther joined us throughout the day, and cheered on the walkers during the event. At one point, Esther noticed that my sign read ‘Janie’ for my sister, and she mentioned that she also had a sister of the same name.” There seemed to be too many coincidences, and Janie needed a kidney for her own medical condition. “Right then and there, I decided that I would donate one for this woman’s sister,” said Debbie. “Esther was shocked, but we completed the process in Connecticut in 2012.”
The arms of the 3-Day family often stretch wide, and Debbie is a great example of the selfless attitude of those who become wrapped up in the service of others. Say hello to Debbie and her team this weekend!