On Friday morning of our first 2017 3-Day, the sky cleared for a bright blue sunrise at Walled Lake Western High School. Our 350 Michigan 3-Day walkers had perfect walking weather to start their 60-mile journey that began with a poignant Opening Ceremony led by local participants.
The first pit stop, at Bayside Grille, was right along the water at mile 2.7, giving all our walkers great views and photo opportunities with our Boo Bees pit crew and volunteers. From there, they visited Pit 2 at Meadowbrook Elementary School after a brisk 6.4 miles of walking. Then, after 11.2 miles, the walkers got a rest and lunch break (including salads this year!) at Meadowbrook Congregational Church. They stretched, refueled and relaxed on our new pink Mohawk mats, which were a favorite for our first picnic lunch.
After lunch, the next pit stop was Dr. Seuss-themed at Christ Presbyterian Church at mile 14.6. And oh the places the walkers would go after that! With brains in their heads and feet in their shoes, they headed off through the cheering station at Novi High School, and on to pit stop 4 at mile 17.
The first day finished at Novi Middle School for dinner, camp and relaxing. Friday had seen our walkers trek 19.3 miles in record time, so everyone took advantage of the Bank of America massage chairs, trail mix bar, relaxation areas and other treats.
At camp, survivor speaker Pala Liske gave a deeply personal and heartwarming speech, thanking all the walkers who had come before her. Bank of America then honored Top Team Fundraiser, The Hines Pink Pathers, as well as Top Individual Fundraiser Mary Ann Isaac, who raised more than $29,000 this year. Gary Bertolini was our Top Crew Fundraiser, and we also celebrated the 68 walkers who are celebrating 10 or more years on the 3-Day. Together, these 68 walkers have raised $3.4 million in their lifetime!
Later, Jim Hillmann received the Milestone Award for his 10 years and 50 events on the 3-Day. He has raised $153,004 in his time on the 3-Day and received resounding applause from his fellow walkers. In addition, Dan Sinclair won the Local Impact Award thanks to his 14 years, 40 events, and $23,623 lifetime raised. Everyone went to sleep that night inspired!
Day 2 started off with sunshine as the walkers sailed in to their longest day of walking for the weekend. At mile 3.5, they stopped at Thornton Creek Elementary School, they hit up pit stop 1 to stock up on grahamwiches and orange slices. Pit stop 2 saw our walkers visiting the western-themed Wild Wild Breast at mile 7.8 for the day at beautiful Cass Benton Park.
During lunch at the Plymouth Cultural Center, we met our Youth Corps to learn why, and for whom, each of them walked. Leaving lunch, the walkers had already stepped through 11 miles for the day!
Our first cheering station on Saturday was at the iconic Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth. At mile 11.8, the walkers came upon a photo favorite: the pink fountain! The community turned out in full force with music, cheering and plenty of opportunities for selfies.
Then there was a second cheering station at Cook School, and the Treasure Breast pit stop 4 at mile 19.4 at Spillane & Reynolds Orthodontics. This pit stop came complete with a two-person pirate ship, Captain Jack Sparrow photo op and lots of other booty-ful treats to propel our walkers through the last few miles of the day.
After 22.3 miles, our walkers came home to camp back at Novi Middle School, where the local cheerleading squad and football teams were on hand to welcome our final walker in. After that, walkers dug into everyone’s favorite 3-Day meal: macaroni and cheese! During and after dinner, walkers could listen to performances by local musical acts, as well as play games with their friends and family. For extra fun for the friends and family, there were also local food trucks and even a Bank of America mini golf course on hand. Plenty of fun was had before everyone turned into their cozy pink tents for the night.
Sunday morning began with more sunshine, and our walkers kicked off their last day at Kennedy Elementary School. The 3-Dayers walked through Livonia, Westland, and Dearborn Heights throughout the morning, logging 7.9 miles before they arrived at pit stop 2. There they were greeted by cheerleaders, complete with pink pom poms!
Before lunch at mile 10.8, the walkers passed through a huge community cheering section! A whole neighborhood came out to cheer our walkers on, take photos, and help give an extra pep in their step as they arrived at York Park for lunchtime.
With only a few miles to go, the walkers breezed through pit stop 3 at Lizzie’s Pasture to arrive at Ford World Headquarters. After completing 15.5 miles on Day 3, our Michigan 3-Day walkers had arrived at the finish line!
Their journey is never truly done, though, as was evidenced in our closing ceremony. We are all still working, and walking towards Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026. Our 350 walkers and 250 crew members made great strides this weekend, raising more than $1.1 million towards the cause, much of which will go directly back to the local Michigan community efforts.
As we hugged and celebrated and danced in the sun, one message rang loud and clear; that though our feet may ache, our spirit and dedication will live forever; through aches, and pain, and blisters. We are shouting loudly and proudly that in this fight, where we seek to live in a world free of breast cancer, WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, Michigan. We are so very proud of each and every one of you.
If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2018, sign up now at The3Day.org/Register.