Meet Team Gilbert Girls. They are an upbeat, beautiful, welcoming group of women who walk in the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day year after year. They all walk for some very special reasons, but their namesake is Margaret Gilbert, mother to Sara and sister to Tina. Margaret lost her battle to breast cancer in 2009 at the young age of 41.
Tina S., the team’s captain, has been a walker in the 3-Day for 7 years. Her teammates are no slouches either when it comes to years of participation! Cheryl S. is a 12-year veteran, and Annie B. has walked six times. What’s even more remarkable? Five of their eight team members are under the age of 20! Sara G. (17) has walked the last two years in her mother’s memory. Beth K. (17), Claire S. (17) and Jessica Z. (19) are all new to the 3-Day this year, and their eighth teammate, Caitlyn S. (18), will join them tomorrow as part of the Young Women Walking program.
Between the combination of long-time and young walkers, you might think fundraising would be challenging for the group. But Sara, Beth and Claire – the high school gals – were quick to point out that as soon as they tell people what they are doing, the support was quick to follow. It’s no surprise that these young walkers inspire others with their desire to walk 60 miles in memory of Sara’s mother.
Tina, Cheryl and Annie, the 3-Day veterans, all say that they weren’t prepared for how much fun the walk is, and that once you do it for the first time, you’ll do it again and again. As Cheryl puts it, “The cheering makes it a lot easier. There are so many people who tell you, ‘Way to go! Way to go for walking! Way to go for stretching! Way to go… for going to the bathroom!’ It’s a feel-good experience.”
To unite them as a team, they print t-shirts each year with a different word cloud. This year’s shirts are yellow (which stand out beautifully in the sea of pink!) and bear the names of all the loved ones for whom they walk, along with some inspiring 3-Day themed words. Those meaningful names and words are in the shape of the number “60,” a very fitting number indeed.
Tina quickly explained that Jessica wasn’t wearing her team tee today – because they just adopted her to Gilbert Girls this morning. But, rest assured, she’ll be wearing her yellow shirt tomorrow.
We’re so inspired by the warm, loving family of 3-Dayers all around us; helping to reinforce what seasoned 3-Day participants always say, “On the 3-Day, there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet.”