Meet Your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches

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Coaches Gayla, Val and Liz

If you’ve been following along with your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day coaches on social media, you already know they’re one fun and loving bunch! But how much do you really know about Coaches Gayla Cruikshank, Liz Parks and Val Jones? Let’s put it to the test! Before our Texas 3-Dayers arrive at Opening Ceremony on Friday, here are some things you need to know about your coaches…

They are 3-Day veterans…

Coach Liz has been involved with the 3-Day the longest, joining our family in 2004 in honor of her aunt, who is a two-time survivor. Since then, she has crewed 11 times, walked 7 times and is already registered to walk in 2018 with her daughter for her first walk. Coach Gayla joined the next year with friends in 2005, and has been a passionate DFW 3-Dayer ever since. In 2006, Coach Val rounded out the group because she “wanted to do something that was big and bold. Something that truly made a difference. After I walked that first year I was hooked and never looked back.”

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They are super close all year long…

These ladies are always in touch! They talk often to each other separately but always have a video call at least once a week to talk about things going on in their market, plus a lot of fun stuff, too. They share a love of their furry friends (Liz and Val have cats and Gayla has two dogs) and always make each other laugh. Plus, they are each other’s biggest supporters.

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Coach Liz and 3-Day pals

Coach Gayla says Coach Liz is “the biggest supporter of anyone I know.  She’s always available to walkers, Val and me, ready to answer any question that comes her way. She’s very knowledgeable and patient. She’s dedicated to health and fitness and is an inspiration to me and so many others.”

And about Coach Val, she adds, “Val has a strong connection to her crew and cares deeply for them. She’s had many years with the 3-Day and can answer almost any question you throw at her.”

How could you not love that love?

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Coach Val (right)

They’re foodies…

When asked about their favorite foods, every woman has a strong and passionate answer!

Coach Val swears by chips & salsa, while Coach Gayla loves ice cream and chicken fried steak.

And Coach Liz? She couldn’t choose just one!

“It would be so much easier to ask what I don’t care for, because I can name those on one hand: cilantro (tastes like soap), okra and tripe. I like just about everything else!”

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Coach Gayla (left)

They are super women…

“If I had a superpower, I’d want to be a clone of myself, because I want to be everywhere at once with everyone I know and love. I don’t like to miss a THING!” says Coach Gayla with a grin.

But if she could, you’d find Coach Liz flying through the skies.

“I want to be able to fly! I want to travel and experience the entire world and that is the only way I would be able to do it.”

Coach Val, however, is happy just as she is, no super powers needed.

Power of flight or not, we think all these ladies are pretty dang super already!

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They can’t wait for this weekend…

“Since most of my interaction is on the phone, I look forward to meeting everyone I have talked to and supported throughout the year,” says Coach Liz. “It is so wonderful to meet them face to face and give them a hug in person!”

Coach Val echoes that, saying, “This year it has felt like there have been a million little special details to take care of and to pass on to my amazing team. I am absolutely most looking forward to spending the weekend with them and watching all these little details become one truly beautiful event!”

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If you needed any more excitement from this team, Coach Gayla has it.

“I can hardly stand my excitement to see how many people will be on the route cheering on our walkers. Komen partners, local businesses, mom and daughter charity groups, just to name a few. This is going to be a fantastic year!”

Do you want to know anything else about your Dallas/Fort Worth coaches? Put your questions in the comments, or ask them on Facebook!

2017 Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth Route Preview

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Our Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day is just a week away and boy is the Lone Star State ready for our 3-Dayers! As you all pack, make last minute preparations, and take your final training walks, we have a preview of the route to get you even more excited for your upcoming 60-mile journey.

The 3-Day begins at the Colin Creek Mall in Plano, TX and walks much of the same route as in past years.

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Be sure to look out for a very special group of cheerleaders after pit stop 1 on Friday.

Coach Gayla promises that we will be walking by Aldridge Elementary School students first thing in the morning. “The students are SO excited to see us!” That, combined with the cheering station at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, will keep you going strong on to lunch.

In the afternoon, Cottonwood and Anderson Bonner Parks will provide nice shade, and lots of beautiful photo ops. Then the day will end at our camp at Brookhaven College, which has been our camp spot for the last few years.

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Coach Gayla says, “We love this location! It’s such a great outdoor space, so we are talking to Mother Nature about giving us good weather to sleep under the stars.”

After a nice rest, our walkers will take on Day 2, which has some new sights this year. After pit stop 1, we will be going back over the Big Blue Bridge in Addison. We took this route a few years ago, and have it back on our route this year because it provides a great photo opportunity!

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After lunch, we will be walking through Dallas and Addison, throughout Addison Circle and Vitruvian Parks. There will be a special public cheering station in Vitruvian Park, right before we enter camp, and Coach Gayla says this is her favorite part of the day.

The day doesn’t end once you enter camp though! Remember to stay for our fun camp dance party from 5:30 – 8:30 pm! Friends and family are welcome!

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The Jordan Kahn Music Company is bringing the Manhattan Party Band to our camp! Manhattan features the best musicians and performers from all over Texas, and they will be jamming to dance hits from a variety genres and decades…from Motown to the hits of today! It will be a not-to-miss night!

Then we will kick off Day Three, which has some new sights and spots along the route. It is also a little bit of a shorter Sunday walk this year, which our walkers will appreciate!

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In downtown Dallas, we will visit Main Street, with some local businesses who are very excited to be cheering on the walkers as they pass.

“We will also pass a bunch of parks on Main Street, so there will be a new look and lots of fun cheering stations along that part of Day Three!” Coach Gayla enthuses.

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The Closing Ceremony is also in a new spot on The Lawn at Reunion Tower, which will be lit up pink just for us! Participants and supporters can go up to the top of the tower either before or after the ceremony for a great city view.

“It’s the iconic, downtown Dallas area,” says Coach Gayla. “The participant finish area is a big, beautiful park area that’s also very comfortable for our walkers!”

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All in all, it will be a great big, pink bubble of fun in Dallas/Fort Worth! Get ready for another amazing 60 miles!

Fundraising Friday for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day: Spooktacular Ideas

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Halloween is around the corner! Do you have your tricks and treats ready? In honor of this spooky holiday, we have some fun and easy fundraising ideas that you can put into action this weekend! Whether you are walking in one of our final 2017 3-Days, or you want to get a jump on your 2018 fundraising goals, these are fun and festive ideas you can put into action.

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Movie Night

There are so many fun spooky movies that the whole family can still enjoy for this holiday! Whether you project one on a screen outside or cuddle up inside for a bit of a scare, getting your team and/or potential donors together for a movie night is a fun and easy way to gather your 3-Day support system around you this season. Hand out mini s’more packs for a takeaway, and put a little reminder about your fundraising goal and link on the pack! You’ll wake up the next morning to a lot of love.

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Pumpkin Party

Carve. Paint. Glitter. Decorate. There is no wrong way to approach your pumpkin décor! Challenge your friends to create the most 3-Day-inspired pumpkin for their homes and create a whole outdoor, 3-Day pumpkin festival at your house as well! Then place a sign, and handouts near your pumpkins to encourage people to donate to your cause.

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Trick or Treat for the Cause

When your kids or friends are trick or treating this year, make use of the night out! While the youngsters pick their candy, hand your neighbors an informational sheet about the 3-Day and let them know you are walking! Remind them that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Encourage them to leave a little Halloween treat on your donation page in honor of sweet Halloween fun.

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Keep it Sweet

If you wait until the day after Halloween, you can get tons of candy for a bargain price! Make little sweet treat packets, and drop them off on November 1st on the doorsteps of potential donors. It’s a minimal investment on your part, and the sweet reminder to donate will make them smile.

Extra, Extra – Check out this post to see a 3-Dayer’s brilliant trick-or-treat 3-Day costume idea!

What are your favorite fundraising ideas for the season? Tell us in the comments – and have a sweet and safe Halloween