We continue celebrating National Volunteer Week by spotlighting one of our many extraordinary Susan G. Komen 3-Day® crew members. Kit L. has been part of the Komen 3-Day crew for over a decade. To say she is committed to the 3-Day® is an understatement. In 2013 Kit participated in her 40th (!) 3-Day in San Diego. She has worked on almost every crew team there is, has served as crew captain dozens of times and intends to continue crewing 2-3 events every year.
Kit, who lives outside Chicago, first heard about the 3-Day on a radio commercial in 1999. “I heard the ad, and knew I had to do SOMETHING. My friend Roni had just been diagnosed and I felt so helpless. So, 60 long miles it was that year, and I have been smitten ever since.” After that first year, Kit thought she’d give the crew a try. “I began with the thought I would alternate [walking and crewing] each year, but crewing soon had me thinking otherwise. I started traveling to different cities, always as a crew member, and it truly became a passion.”
Kit’s personal connection to breast cancer began with numerous friends whom she terms as breast cancer “thrivers,” not just survivors. The connection has deepened in recent years. “I lost Linda, my best high school friend, last year and I hate this disease even more now, but I know there’s a cure waiting after someone’s last step. When I was diagnosed with DCIS a few years ago, I knew that advances funded by Susan G. Komen® made a difference in my treatment and for that I will be forever grateful. We walk and crew for a reason, and I am living proof of that.”
Kit has a pragmatic, but inspiring philosophy about being part of the crew. “Crewing is like cleaning the house: you do it for others, certainly not for the glory. I love meeting the walkers and hearing their stories, and I love my mates on all of the crew teams I have been on. I have enjoyed being a team captain, as I surround myself with others who are so passionate and giving that they make ME want to be a better person.
“All you need to do is crew once, and you know what satisfaction it brings. I always get so much more in return than I ever put out. Crewing is a job where you put your needs last, and yet it feels so good. My philosophy is that the more you give, the more you get, and the 3-Day proves this over and over again.”
A self-described optimist, Kit shared what keeps her going when the job gets tough. “I am motivated by my late friend Linda’s picture that keeps me going when it’s 30 degrees, in a monsoonal downpour, and I have hours to go before I sleep. Things like bad weather can be met with a chorus line at the top of a hill, all screeching ‘Singing in the Rain’ or other goofy actions. We have such a professional group that I never feel like I am alone, and dilemmas are often solved before they escalate. I try to keep an open mind, a loving heart and closed mouth.”
3-Day crew members are encouraged, but not required, to fundraise for the event but Kit has never considered fundraising to be optional. “I have always maintained that by crewing you DO need to fundraise. I set a goal for each of my team members and share with them my fundraising letter and social media techniques.” Kit fundraises enthusiastically even though she doesn’t have to, and has been the top crew fundraiser many times. “Yes, I have raised a lot of money over the years, and I am tenacious in asking everyone for their support. I send everyone updates and challenges, and have prizes for my crew members. If you let folks know how much it means to you, it will mean something to them. Last year, after my Linda passed, I sent a photo of us from high school and asked my friends to please help me make a world of no more suffering in her honor. If you bring a personal story to your request, I have found it means more.”
I asked Kit what advice she would give to someone who is thinking about crewing for the 3-Day. “Try it. You’ll like it. Or in my case, try it, you’ll LOVE it, and it will become the most fantastic times of your life. Stay open, and treat it as a chance to meet your new best friends. It’s a family that you will want to spend time with!”
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Kit and the hundreds of volunteers like her. We literally could not do it without you!
**2014 Crew registration is closed for all events except Twin Cities and Seattle, which have limited openings left. We are still recruiting qualified health services professionals to join our Medical and Sport Medicine teams. To register for one of these Health Services Crew teams, or learn more about the 3-Day Crew, please contact one of our coaches at 800-996-3DAY. If you would like to serve as a Day Volunteer, visit The3Day.org/volunteer for more information or to sign up.