“I was just hearing about breast cancer all the time as a stylist,” said Sandy, a hair stylist in Mobile, Alabama. She called up her best friend Elizabeth to propose walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® to raise money for breast cancer research.
“I said ‘no’ at first!” recalled Elizabeth, while they both rested at lunch in the suburbs north of Atlanta on Day 2. They laughed despite some aches and pains, but seemed to be enjoying the walk, having finished more than 30 miles total. “I am doing the walk for my grandmother who passed away: today would have been 94 years old!”
The two women are among a large contingent of first-time Komen 3-Day walkers here in Atlanta, Georgia. They walk a total of 60 miles over three days and have each raised over $2300 for breast cancer research and awareness. In the 3-Day community, they are often playfully dubbed “Virgin Walkers.” After a full 21 miles on Day 1, and 19.3 miles on Day 2, they are ‘newbies’ no more. Elizabeth and Sandy are lucky to have someone else to walk with, but many show up to walk the challenging course without knowing anyone. ‘Riding solo,’ these brave souls often meet other teams and individuals to walk with.
Gloriela, originally from Panama and living now in Atlanta, met up with another first-time walker, Kathryn, on the route on Day 1. “Opening Ceremony was so inspirational,” mentioned Gloriela at breakfast at the start of Day 2 in Atlanta. “I love the organization of the whole process, and I love the motorcycles and bikers who help keep us safe. They dance, turn on music, and cheer for us.” Kathryn remembered her sweet friend who passed away from breast cancer about the same time her son was born. They felt better having met each other and found someone to walk with!
Some first-time walkers are initiated into teams that have been walking for awhile. “Oh, he’s hurting. He’s hurting real bad,” laughed Krista, Jasmin, and Brailey about their new recruit Alex. Their team, Project Perk, was founded four years ago by Jasmin who started walking to honor her grandmother. Krista then got Alex to join the team who had made the comment, “It’s just walking!” On Day 3 in Piedmont Park, he laughed, agreeing that he was hurting. The team was in good spirits, though, and looked to finish the 60-mile route strong.
Jennifer and Lorie, two first-time walkers on the Atlanta 3-Day, stopped long enough to sum up the event: “Twelve girls, eight blisters, three days, two trips to the medical tent, and one great event.” Their supportive team was decked out in pink wigs on the last day of the event and were cruising along.
First-time walkers are well loved on the 3-Day, and even if they are alone when they start, they are soon swept up by a team and made one of their one. The spirit of the 3-Day is that everyone wins and that everyone does the best they can! See you at Closing Ceremony at Turner Field!