Open Letter to the 3-Day Community

Hello 3-Day family and supporters!

My name is Chrissy Mathews and I am the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Program Manager for Susan G. Komen®. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you at a Komen 3-Day or via email already this season. I very much look forward to meeting the rest of you soon!

Hi! I'm Chrissy.

Hi! I’m Chrissy.

I had the honor of starting this new role last summer. I spent my first week of work at the Twin Cities 3-Day and since then I have been coming home with everything pink, from my nails to my shoelaces. Not only that, but I became overwhelmed and in love with the 3-Day® walks and community.

As I’ve gone through our first two walks of the 2015 3-Day Series, there are a couple questions that have come up, more than once, about the 3-Day. If you have met me, you know I am all about open communication, so I am writing this letter to address these questions, and you have my commitment to continue to provide updates via the blog throughout the upcoming year.

One of the main questions I heard in both Michigan and the Twin Cities was, “Will the 3-Day continue in all seven cities for 2016?” Yes! The 3-Day will be taking place in 2016 in all seven cities and registration is already open! We encourage everyone to continue to form and build your teams for the 2016 series, so please tell your friends and family to register today!

The other question I have heard from many of you is, “How can we get more walkers?” I’d like you to know that we are putting our efforts and expertise behind new research to refine our 3-Day growth strategy. This research is already underway – stay tuned for updates!

If nothing else, I would like you to know that Susan G. Komen is fully committed to the 3-Day program and recognizes the impact that our 3-Day family brings to our vision of our promise of a world without breast cancer. Our goal is to work hard to ensure you all are better supported, better informed and set up for success.

In the 3-Day mission statement we say “we walk because we must.” I have to admit that at one point that seemed like a cliché line to me. But the more I’ve gotten to know you and understand what this 3-Day family is in this fight against breast cancer, the more I preach, yell, and celebrate that phrase! You are the grassroots warriors for Komen, our mission and in the fight against breast cancer. It wasn’t that long ago when we were not at a 99% five-year survival rate for breast cancer….

We walk because together we are driving the mission.

We walk because more than 40,000 men and women continue to die each year from breast cancer.

We walk because we are not just hopeful, we are optimistic — we WILL find the cures!

We walk… Simply because… We can’t not walk.

Thank you for being you. I have an open door and am happy to address any questions or needs you may have. Please come talk to me on your 3-Day event, or leave your comments on my post below.


Susan G. Komen 3-Day Program Manager


30 thoughts on “Open Letter to the 3-Day Community

  1. Hi Chrissy – I am glad you are getting questions about increasing the number of walkers. I am a 10 year walker – and this year will be #11 (all in Atlanta). I have watched the number of walkers dwindle and heard complaints of raising the money is just too hard for some, and of course of the Planned Parenthood issue. I have two questions – will SGK consider: 1) please lowering the fund raising amount and 2) please consider pulling out of Planned Parenthood please for 2016? I love the 3-Day and what it’s purpose is and to see the decrease and hope lost in 3-Day from other walkers is heartbreaking. I feel it’s time for some healing and bring some walkers back…

  2. Chrissy, that was a great message. Much needed and very appreciated. See you on Dallas!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. One suggestion our team made at the TC 3-Day was to try to find a way to fundraise as a team. We have such a great team and find it very challenging to host fundraisers and then have to hold/balance funds to ensure each member meets the minimum without having others go way over. We already have over a dozen walkers committed for 2016, and it would be such a great addition to our year-round fundraising to be able to have this option for our team! Keep up the great work.

  4. Thank you for putting this out there Chrissy and confirming my commitment to the 3-Day is making a difference! You were fabulous in the Twin Cities. You were authentic with your passion and emotions and it made me feel excited about the events even after 15 of these.

  5. Hi Chrissy,
    Thank for welcoming the questions and comments. This will be my eighth walk. Fundraising gets more challenging every year. I feel truly blessed to participate and I believe that raising funds for this cause is making a difference. A lower minimum requirement would definitely encourage more walkers. It would also be helpful if team members could pool their donations so if the team minimum is met, everyone can walk without meeting the individual minimum requirement. The camaraderie among walkers is so inspiring. We are all dedicated to being a part of creating a world without breast cancer and we draw strength, love and hope from one another.
    Thanks for listening.

  6. I think it would help for the walkers to hear something about the tangible results of fund raising, sometime during the 3 days. In addition, perhaps a talk from scientists/doctors who receive Susan G Komen funds, what are they doing with the money, what progress is being made against breast cancer.

  7. Christi – over a dozen?! THANK YOU! We are working hard on the research and look forward to sharing more with you all. I had a blast at the TC 3-Day this year… thank you all for being you!

  8. Hi, Maurren. Thank you for sharing! I agree, the camaraderie is hard to explain… the 3-Day family is unlike any other! I drank the Kool-Aid Day 1 at Twin Cities last year. Thank you for walking! Come find me on event!

  9. Hi Chrissy, Thank you this was nice to read. I just walked my 5th walk in Seattle and will walk my 6th in San Diego in November. I walked 3 of the 5 in San Francisco and if I had any questions they would be, Will there be another San Francisco walk ever? And as I have read in other post, how can we get attendance up? If you will be in San Diego this year I would love to meet you, I try to meet people I either learn/hear about or that I see every year when walking so they are not just familiar to me. I have never walked in San Diego before and really do not know anyone so it will be a completely new experience for me. I am excited and nervous as I usually wait a year between walks not a month, but totally worth it. Thanks again and look forward to meeting you.

  10. Trish….. The Sistahood of the Travelin’ Ta-Tas is a group of women frm all over the country, and we would love to have you join us!! Pleas think about that….

    Chrissy, I’m from New England, and since the Boston walk has been discontinued, there is NO publicity out here about the event. We see ads for the Avon walk and Making strides,but NOTHING about the 3Day. That makes fundraising difficult. When i started back in 2006, there was a dvd produced and distributed that we could use at fundraising events and was even shown as an infomercial here. Maybe this is something you could think about.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone in SD!!

    Betsy from NH
    10x 3Day walker

  11. Hi Chrissy,
    I am from Santa Barbara, California, where these 3 day events originated in 1998 when Avon was involved. Since then I have participated in all of the 3 days since, making this year number 18.

    I must say the economy has challenged every walkers fundraising campaigns these past few years, along with the Planned Parenthood association. To right this ship, so to speak, would mean lowering the fundraising amount to $1500 perhaps, and leaving Planned Parenthood. Then going after a new marketing campaign. Maybe “We Want You Back Walking”, contacting all past walkers, and make the registration fee $25.

    See you all in San Diego in November
    Mary Anne Williams
    Breast Defense League team
    18 X walker

  12. Hi Trish! Thank you for your note. Unfortunately I cannot specifically answer your questions until we get through some research and internal brainstorming this fall. The good news is we have a lot of excitement around what’s ahead and I look forward to keeping you all updated via the blog! Let’s meet up in San Diego! Find me on event – it’s a beautiful walk! 🙂

  13. Hi Betsy! Great insights, thank you. I will make sure we visit this as well during our whiteboard sessions this fall!

    I love how 3-Dayers connect 🙂 Looking forward to meeting you in San Diego, Betsy! Thank you for being you!

  14. Chrissy – Welcome aboard. I am a member of the Wrack Pack (aka Team Ric). I’ve been part of the 3 day family since 2008. Walked my first walk in 2008 and then decided I would be the Ultimate Walker Stalker by driving around in a convertible Mustang. Over the years I’ve seen the 3 day, in my opinion, slightly decline. A few of the key things I think the powers that be really need to hear:
    1. Veterans who have walked for YEARS and raised thousands dollars, and who are HUGE proponents to the cause are considering not doing it anymore. People I swore would never walk away from the 3day are considering not doing it any more…which means not raising $$.
    2. Every year we get asked for feedback. We’ve given the same feedback every year and it seems that no changes, or responses to our feedback are happening. Frankly, I’m done with the feedback.
    3. More GSMs. They say the numbers tell them they don’t work. Well 750 walkers this year, DOWN 25% from last year, clearly what they’re doing now isn’t working either. The GSMs really displayed what the 3 day was about. It provided potential walkers with the knowledge they’d need to be successful. Us veterans were always on hand to share our experiences and get people (and ourselves) motivated.
    4. Community involvement this year was HORRIBLE. There were so few people at the cheering stations, and so few businesses along the route that showed their support.
    5. I feel like the 3Day is getting what they’re putting into it. It feels like they aren’t doing a darn thing, and the result is no one is signing up. No one is excited about it. The new commercials this year were horrible. They didn’t show the GREATNESS of the 3 day. They didn’t show that it is bold and big and how the people involved are what makes the 3 day worth doing. The one and only commercial I saw I didn’t even realize was for the 3 day until it was over.
    6. Why spend $$ on rebranding everything when they could have spent $$ on getting people in the door and registered.
    7. The 3day experience used to feel like one big, loving family all out there for the same cause. That the 3day corporate office felt the same. Now the 3 day feels like a corporate business full of people making decisions who aren’t on the route or training, or living the 3day.
    8. They need to consider acknowledging some of the smaller teams who raise a butt load of $$. The Wrack Pack was 3 people and they raised, I think, over $15,000. That’s a lot of $$ for a small team. Yet, no recognition or nothing. We can’t compete against the 130+ teams and their fund raising. But to raise that kind of cash should really be recognized. Why not have different levels for teams? Allow those of us who work really hard to raise a bunch of money enjoy some of the spot light? A button saying you’ve made X # of dollars really doesn’t cut it.

    And lastly, whoever you had as the photographer this year in Seattle…he was AWESOME. Super friendly along the route, and his pictures expressed what I feel the 3 day USED to feel like.

    I know this is all rather negative, but being around the event for as many years as I have and seeing just how great it once was makes me sad to see how not great it feels today.


  15. Jenn!!! I for one thank you for your candor! I MISS the Family as well……Some have said that media involvement is not where it’s at…. I think it’s EXACTLY where it’s at!!! Media blitzes of all kinds, in ALL Markets not just Walk Cities…. Do you remember the DVDs that used to be produced and distributed? I LOVED those for PR and fundraising!!! Just my two cents….

  16. Hi Neala,
    You can find all of our photo albums on our Facebook page ( From there you can download and share! Conversely, you can get to them by clicking the “Photos” button here at the top of the blog, and make sure you click the link that says “View the Full album…” etc. Let me know if you have any more questions!


  17. Hey Jenn – I don’t disagree with a lot of what you have to say. Many of us, myself included, here at Komen Headquarters are brand new to the 3-Day program and have identified many of the same disconnects you referenced above… either from walking ourselves or just talking with other walkers/crew.

    we are working very hard at tackling a long running list to make the experience better for the veterans and to get more “newbies” walking (hints the above letter) prior to going into the 2016 series.

    I very much appreciate your candor and detailed insights. I shot you an email… let’s connect via phone. We can’t afford to NOT make changes. Might as well do it together, right?

    Thanks again, Jenn. Looking forward to connecting!

  18. Chrissy,
    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to post our comments and suggestions. Whether we agree or disagree with posted comments, it is a great way to feel connected to the organization as a whole. The one idea I have had for years is the way teams are recognized for their fundraising. Small teams will never be able to meet the levels of teams with 20-30 members and extensive corporate sponsorship. I would like to see a team category set up; i.e. small, medium, large. This would give folks an obtainable goal to be recognized for their efforts. This will be my eighth 3-Day and fifth in San Diego. I was wondering if there is any discussion about making the SD event a bit earlier. It can be difficult for folks who live outside CA to travel that close to Thanksgiving. And, this is a very minor suggestion; in no way is this a complaint. I’ve often wondered if the buffet line tent could somehow be connected to the dining tent. It would create a way for walkers to get their food to the tables before it cooled off….just a minor suggestion. Thank you again for this opportunity. Looking forward to meeting folks in San Diego via the Camp Services Crew…See you in camp.

  19. Jenn (and Betsy) Thank you for mentioning the lack of media information. I live in a city that only hosts the Race For The Cure but other than that we hear nothing from the SGK affiliate here. When I mention my participation folks always assume it is with the Race vs. the 3-Day. The affiliate support is minimal at best. More support in non-3-Day cities is extremely important. Although I love sharing my experiences, I do get frustrated by the lack of awareness for the event. I also think that more SGK Corporate staff involvement at the 3-Day is needed. Dr. Sheri is wonderful as is the staff support but I would love to meet & see the “higher” level staff at events.

  20. Hi Lynda – thank you for your insights as well. We are working hard to build our strategic plan for 2016. This is on our radar as well. We are looking forward to increasing awareness! -CM

  21. Hello again! 🙂
    TOTALLY agree with the recognition piece. There are so many people in the Komen 3-Day family who give so much. It’s all relevant. We are working to celebrate our 3-Day family as a whole. Thank you for being such a dedicated member of the Komen family!! I very much look forward to meeting you on event in San Diego this fall. Make sure you find me on event! -CM

  22. As a 9x Walker, my biggest concern is the involvement with Planned Parenthood. If Komen does NOT have funds going towards abortion, they need to Say So! Publicly! If some of the money IS going for abortions, they need to discontinue funding. This may upset Pro-Choice people, but what’s been done hasn’t made anyone happy. I have lost several donors because of the Planned Parenthood debacle. I want to walk next year, but I may not be able to in good conscience. Please help! I am a 20 year survivor. I am committed to the cause, but I am a Christian first. Thanks for your reply.

  23. Pingback: How to Recruit 65 Brand New Walkers to Your Team in One Year – A True Story | The 3-Day Blog

  24. Chrissy,
    First let me say thank-you for opening a way to connect with those making the ‘big’ decisions. I have wanted to share my thoughts several times but did not know the best way.
    I am a 2x’s walker and plan to walk again here in Seattle, the hardest place to walk by the way, just kidding we just have so many hills!
    I learned about the 3day via the media 4 years ago. I remember seeing the commercials and hearing the radio ads over and over until it finally sunk on that “i can do that”! I thing to not cover this event in the media is a really bad idea. So many people have no idea what I am talking about when I tell them what I am raising funds for. Connect the ads to the political ads, everyone is watching for those!!!!! LOL I doubt they would let you.
    Then my other huge issue is the fund raising. I have asked so many of my friends to walk with me and they are all saying yes that would be fun until I tell them how much money they have to raise. Most of us are not comfortable asking for money. I am one of them. I have tried several of your suggestions on the site and none of them have worked for me. I don’t have friends that own businesses and the people I do know don’t really have a lot of money. I think a goal of $1500-1700 would be more reasonable and you would get more walkers and so I believe that you would actually see a bigger amount of money donated and not loose anything by lowering the amount.
    The third issue would be the Planned Parenthood issue. I have a friend who will have nothing to do with SGK because of them pulling their support several years ago and then reinstating it. She won’t even donate let alone walk. I have others who don’t care and then others who want to know if their money is going to fund some woman”s abortion! SGK should be forthright and open about where the money that Planned Parenthood receives is spent. Put it out there in black and white so the speculation can be put to rest.
    I also believe there should be a breakdown for teams. There is a team here in Seattle that has won the most money donated for the 2 years that I walked. They have many members across the US and so the rest of us have no chance of beating that.
    LueAnn Denny
    Walking for the UDDERS team leader.

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