As the National Spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, Dr. Sheri Phillips has a priceless perspective on the 3-Day. She is there for every single event, meets hundreds of walkers and crew members personally, and touches the lives of thousands beyond that with her charisma, energy and passionate dedication to ending breast cancer. We asked for some of her reflections on this year’s 3-Day:
“The 2013 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Series went by so incredibly fast! It was a year of joyous reunions with returning walkers and crew members and getting to know so many of our new walkers. This season brought a continuous smile to my face as I heard stories of compassion, perseverance and triumph.
“I remember what it felt like as a first-time walker when I participated in the 2010 Susan G. Komen Chicago 3-Day. The love and compassion I felt as a survivor was indescribable as I was surrounded by thousands of people who shared the same goal as me – creating a world without breast cancer. It was life changing. And now after completing my third year as national spokesperson, this event is still changing my life.
“This year John Shinar followed in the footsteps of Jim Hillmann (2011) and Glen Dekeyser (2012) by walking in all (14) 3-Day events in 2013, in honor and memory of his beautiful wife, Martha, who died from breast cancer in June 2012. They shared a beautiful 30 year marriage, 20 years of which she battled the disease.
“I met Tommi-Jean Mason in 2011 when she was wheelchair bound and had to be pushed the entire 60 miles. In 2012, she walked all 60 miles with the assistance of a wheeled walker. This year the miracles continued as this young woman who was told she would never walk again walked all 60 miles without any assistance! When she arrived to camp on Friday night as our last walker, I was so overwhelmed with joy that I burst into tears, but within moments my tears turned to laughter as she looked me square in the eye with similar tears running down her red cheeks and exclaimed ’I have blisters Dr. Sheri! I walked all 20 miles and I have blisters!’ She was the first walker to ever tell me they were happy to have blisters!
“To say my schedule is full is an understatement, but the 3-Day family and all the experiences it infuses into my life can’t be replaced or substituted. I wouldn’t dare miss a 3-Day event but I also had a wonderful man who I knew from my childhood find me again and I wouldn’t dare miss out on that ’tall drink of water’ either. So, we eloped on October 1st, flew back home on October 2nd and I was back on a plane for the Philadelphia 3-Day on October 3rd.
“What a year this has been! This year has been filled with so many new wonderful memories that sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s all truly real. I’ve changed my outlook and I’ve started looking ahead to a new way of doing things, a new vision for life.
“As we prepare for the 2014 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Series and as you decide which city you will join us in next year, I want you to keep in mind the following:
- Be willing to take action.
- Give abundantly. Not just your money, but your time, your presence, your smile, your touch. As a doctor, I did this all the time, but I learned that when you become overcommitted this becomes very robotic and you fail to reap the healing benefits it can offer. Slow down to the point where you can appreciate the interaction of giving and receiving and then you’ll appreciate the healing effects that it offers. Learn to appreciate that the smile you give may be the last smile that person sees.
- Live in the present and hope in your future. Today is an important day for you. Today is the day you can change your mindset, have a new attitude and start making better choices. Today is the day that is going to make tomorrow better than yesterday.
“I’m looking forward to another successful and life-changing season next year and I hope to see you there as well.”
Thank you, Dr. Sheri, for walking beside us on all 14 3-Days in 2013. We are honored to have you with us.