It was our honor to recognize the hard work and dedication of some of the outstanding participants of the Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day with special awards.
The top crew fundraiser for the San Diego 3-Day was Heidi De Young from the Gear & Tent crew team, who raised $3,743. Over her sixteen events (covering eleven years) as a 3-Day participant, she has raised a total of $45,735. When she’s not walking the 3-Day with her team, the Coconutter Shutters, or crewing, Heidi enjoys dancing, especially ballroom dancing (though really any kind of dancing will do).
The top fundraising team for the San Diego 3-Day, Powered By Optimism, was also the largest team on the event. With 116 members, led by their captain Amy Benoit, the team raised a total of $279,375. Amy also received recognition as San Diego’s Top Training Walk Leader. Over the course of their history with the 3-Day, Powered by Optimism has raised a total of $1,192, 346! Incredible!
The top individual fundraiser for the San Diego 3-Day was Kathy Giller of team Breast Man Walking, who raised an astonishing $52,410! Kathy’s husband Lee is a breast cancer survivor and was a part of the Survivor Circle in the San Diego Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Over Kathy’s ten years and eighteen events with the 3-Day, she has raised a total of $290,380, but it doesn’t stop there: since Lee’s diagnosis with breast cancer ten years ago, Kathy and her family have together raised over $380,000 to help find a cure for breast cancer.
We applaud our top fundraisers, as well as the San Diego 3-Day community as a whole, who together raised a jaw-dropping $5.9 million in donations.
The Milestone Award is given on each 3-Day event to one participant who has an extraordinary history of involvement with the 3-Day. This year, The Milestone Award for San Diego was presented to Lucy Millman.
Over her eleven years and eleven events with the 3-Day as a part of team Sole Sisters, Lucy has raised a total of $174,179. For the second year in a row, Lucy is sharing her 3-Day weekend experience with her cousin and teammate, Emily. Emily spoke about her family, as well as Lucy’s history with breast cancer, “My cousin Lucy is the eldest of fifteen cousins; our mothers are two of five girls. We all grew up near each other, so we cousins are closer than many siblings. Our family first encountered breast cancer in 1976, when our Aunt Judy died at the age of forty-five. Then fifteen years ago, Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She courageously fought and beat that first round, then was diagnosed a second time in 2007. I’m pleased to report that in 2015, Lucy celebrates nine years cancer-free! Lucy is the first person I call in times of trouble, always reassuring, and ready to provide a caring, nonjudgmental viewpoint. I’m walking with Lucy this year for the second time. We walk to honor her battles, in support of all of our survivor friends, and in memory of those who have lost their lives, but whose spirits fight on.”
Before participating in the San Diego event, Lucy was integral to the Chicago 3-Day when she lived in Illinois. Her friend Joan shared, “She was a volunteer, a top fundraiser, and a mentor to other walkers. She is an advocate for this great cause and she works tirelessly to raise awareness about breast cancer and for Komen. She is a person who expects no recognition for all of her efforts and she shies away from the spotlight. She is a fantastic example of a survivor who continues to fight for others.”
We’re certainly glad Lucy emerged from her cave for the San Diego 3-Day. We’re inspired by her story and grateful for her phenomenal dedication to a world free of breast cancer.
Local Impact Award
The Local Impact Award was a new award for 2015, and was presented to a participant in each 3-Day city who has been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day in their community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees are participants who go above and beyond with things like leading training walks, attending local events, supporting the local 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference in their 3-Day community by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.
We were pleased to honor walker Martin Heflin of team Powered By Optimism with the Local Impact Award at the San Diego 3-Day. Over the course of his seven years and thirteen 3-Day events, he’s raised a total of $30,390. Amy, Martin’s friend and co-captain, enthusiastically agreed that Martin was the perfect recipient for the award, “Impactful: Yes! That’s a great descriptive term for Martin Heflin. People may come to one of the walks he’s hosting simply to get started training. It doesn’t take more than a 1/2 lap around Miramar Lake before they find themselves fully motivated to join a team and immerse themselves in the entire 3-Day experience (well, except camping, …we all know how Martin feels about camping). Martin shares humorous stories and uses his endless charm to make people feel a sense of welcome and belonging. Bottom line, he adds to the success of the organization because of his miraculous recruiting and retention skills. Beyond that, year after year he raises well above the minimum required to participate and in addition to his numerous acts of volunteerism, he is also the well-loved co-caption of the San Diego based team, Powered by Optimism. He’s played a HUGE part in their overall success and can proudly say that, with them, he’s raised over one million dollars in the fight to end breast cancer. Now that’s impactful.”
What does a go-getter like Martin have against camping? Well, he served in the Army for four years, which explains his preference of staying in a hotel instead of a pink tent. Another fun fact about Martin: he was once a tour guide at the San Diego Zoo and can still remember the script verbatim (just ask him). He also loves Disneyland, and he and his family visit several times each year. From what we’ve seen and heard of Martin, Disney, in all of its magic and splendor, seems to be a fitting vacation destination for him. His friend and fellow teammate, Deborah, shared, “When I first met Martin five years ago he was co-captain of Powered by Optimism, but it wasn’t long before I was aware of how important he has become to the Komen cause overall,” said his friend and fellow teammate, Deborah, “It’s easy to underestimate Martin, because he deflects attention with self-deprecating humor and good conversation. But make no mistake, he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of breast cancer fundraising, volunteering and walking to raise awareness. He routinely raises far more than the minimum each year for the San Diego 3-Day, and volunteers in multiple cities as crew. If you have the opportunity to walk with Martin in a 3-Day, you’ll be entertained by his wit and wisdom and motivated by his child-like exuberance – that’s if you can keep up with him.”
A big thank you to Martin for his outstanding charisma and commitment to the 3-Day. And, of course, congratulations to the entire San Diego 3-Day family for a truly remarkable year!