They’re the first people you see in the morning on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. They’re the ones cheering you on when you get sore. They take your plate with a smile, so you don’t have to walk to the trash. They are the crew members who volunteered their time to help support your 60-mile journey.
I got a chance to volunteer and walk during the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day. When I was on the event, I took the time to ask lots of questions to the crew members around me and I was moved by what I found out. They are past walkers, husbands, friends, family, kids, and even survivors. They all said the same thing to me. “We’ve all been touched in some way by breast cancer.”
Meet the group that is cheering you on when all you want to do is stop. They are handing out stickers and holding signs, jumping up and down with pom-poms yelling “You’re doing so great, you’re almost there!” I asked a lovely woman from Florida why she wanted to be a part of the 3-Day crew, and she explained to me that she is a survivor. She walked during her treatment and since then felt that it was her duty to give back by helping others. She has plans of walking again but until that day, she will serve on the crew. The same sweet woman hugged me before my walk and gave me great words of encouragement came and found me at the end of the day too to see how it went. I felt like I had my own personal cheerleader in the crowd. It was an amazing feeling.
Meet the route safety team. They decorate their bikes and play fun music along the route and block off intersections to make sure you’re safe. I asked a member of the safety team why she volunteered to help out. She too was a survivor who has walked in the past. She remembered during her walk how much she enjoyed seeing the route safety team and their fun decorated bikes that she said she wanted to do that one day as well.
Let the Youth Corps brighten your day. This is a group of kids who applied for the role of cheering you on and lifting your spirits. The kids told me all about interviewing multiple times to be a part of the group. The day that I walked I found the Youth Corps at each of the pit stops and lunch. They were picking up trash, filling up water bottles, and getting snacks for walkers. My favorite thing that the Youth Corps did were the fun cheers and songs. These kids had such great energy and spirit, as a walker, I really appreciated them.
It’s the little things like someone offering to take your picture in front of the mile marker sign or handing your dinner plate over with a big smile. They know the struggle on different levels, but they are all there together for one reason, a cure. There were so many crew members who were survivors and past walkers that I was taken aback by the passion they had for helping those walking. Walking is tough, it’s hard on the body. But not as hard as cancer and treatment. I get it now. It’s more than a walk. You become a part of a community that all have one thing in common. They want to do something big to end breast cancer forever.