The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Arizona this past weekend was much more than sunshine and good memories. It was a time for many to heal from personal loss, and it was a time to triumph over the past. For many, it was the first time that a Komen 3-Day had been attempted…and conquered. The 60-mile course started off with a beautiful pink sky on Friday morning, November 8 with the sounds of excitement and the booming voice of Dr. Sheri: “Let yourself be present, every step of the way!” The Survivors’ Circle made up of breast cancer survivors led the way out onto the streets of Gilbert, Arizona where the local fire department was already waiting to cheer them on! The day’s 19.1 miles passed quickly as groups such as Bright Beginnings Elementary School came out to cheer (and in their case, sing!) for the walkers. The city of Chandler welcomed the sea of pink walkers with pop-up cheering stations and firefighters of their own.
The participants finished the day with the cheerleaders and band from Desert Foothills High School welcoming them into camp at Benedict Park in Tempe. After dinner and some relaxation in the Bank of America massage chairs, walkers and crew enjoyed a camp show which included the fabulous local entertainers, the Sun City Palms. Bonny D gave a touching survivor speech that evening, and a special award, the Milestone Award, was given to Karen Kay Rush for her ten years of dedication to the 3-Day with countless time spent and with over $70,000 raised personally. Thank you, Karen!
“Day 2 is always the most difficult!” said one walker as she lined up for the opening of the route on Saturday. “We’ve started to get some blisters, and we know we’ve still got tomorrow.” The streets of Tempe and Phoenix received a serious dose of pink on Saturday as the banners were snatched up in camp and carried the 20 miles through the streets. The heat couldn’t beat the great attitude of the walkers and crew, however, and they were all cheered on by a New Balanced-sponsored cheerleading team at Pit Stop 2, the famous Sun Devil Fire and Alarm cheering station, and the elementary students from Kryene de las Lomas. Besides the incredible full drum set across from Pit Stop 3, the communities on Day 2 were wonderfully kind, cheering on the participants and handing out water and treats as the weather heated up. Back at camp, the crowd was serenaded by the classy a cappella group “Priority Male” and Chrystine H and Justine P gave speeches that will not be forgotten soon.
The final day of the Arizona 3-Day is always one of excitement and reflection. The 16-mile route for the day was dotted with community support, and the walkers were even treated to the Emerald Society Bagpipes who walked a portion of the early course before serenading the participants after Pit Stop 1. Scottsdale was as supportive as ever with some young saxophonists welcoming them into the old town where a large cheering station lined the shops. Family and friends gathered in Scottsdale Stadium to watch the procession of hundreds and hundreds of walkers and crew members enter the stadium and rededicate themselves to the fight against breast cancer. Thank you, Arizona, for an inspiring weekend!