All it takes is a little spark of inspiration to start a whole movement. If you need proof of that statement, Gwynne is the perfect example. This year will be only her second one walking in the 3-Day, and she has already single handedly recruited 25 people to her team, Gwynne’s Friends. She’s also already surpassed her fundraising minimum. And she still has more than six months until she walks the San Diego 3-Day. Imagine where she’ll be by November!
Gwynne first became introduced to Susan G. Komen’s efforts in 2012 when her friends participated in the Race for the Cure in her honor. That same year, she had a bilateral mastectomy, finished up chemo and underwent radiation all due to a Triple Negative breast cancer diagnosis.
Four years later, in 2016, Gwynne decided to get more personally involved and signed up for the Philadelphia 3-Day. Gwynne’s Friends came back to life as a team! Shortly after signing up, however, Gwynne learned that her cancer was back, and was metastatic, Stage IV breast cancer.
“I started treatment and my training all in the same month. We had a total of six people on our team and after completing the 24-week training program, we walked.”
With her friends by her side, Gwynne took on the 3-Day.
“I couldn’t believe the number of people that were there cheering us on. I had a catheter hanging out the side of my chest and my feet were peeling from the chemo but I managed to walk about 55 of the 60 miles. It was amazing. There was such excitement and spirit between the walkers, crew and community that you hardly realized you were walking all day.”
She says that training was a huge credit to her success last year, especially her long weekend training walks.
“It is so much easier when you have someone to walk with. One weekend my nephews were visiting and we had them rotate and walk a mile with us and then switch. They loved it! Many of my friends would join me to walk while I was training.”
Just getting the word out made a huge difference., Gwynne said that once people knew she was walking the 3-Day, she was amazed at the amount of support, training companions and donations she received. It also made a huge difference in her personal motivation.
“When you’re undergoing chemotherapy and the doctors are telling you that you’re terminal, having a goal to walk in a 3-Day has such a positive impact on you emotionally and physically.”
That motivation led her to sign up for the 3-Day again in 2017.
“I decided to sign up for the San Diego 3-Day. Sun, sand and the ocean. What more could you want when walking? I put the word out to my team members, and a couple of them decided to join, along with my husband.”
She utilized the “Bring Your Bestie” Promotion to gather friends from out of town as well! Though she had previously walked in Philadelphia, she used social media to encourage friends to make the trip West with her.
“I created a video that started with a little chat about me and some photos from our 3-Day walk in Philadelphia the year before. In the video, I invited anyone who wanted to join us in San Diego. and if they couldn’t join us I asked for them to donate. Then I posted it on Facebook. I was so humbled by the outcome. I raised all my donations in one week and we now have 25 team members!”
Soon friends, cousins, sisters and sister in laws joined. And then their friends joined along with them.
“That’s what friends do,” Gwynne said simply. “They support each other. The 3-Day is family, friends, community, volunteers and LOVE!”
Walk on, Gwynne.
Note: Gwynne passed on January 19, 2018. Her family and friends continue to honor her memory by walking with her team Gwynne’s Friends. In 2019 they will joining us in New England.