In 2016 Susan G. Komen announced a Bold Goal to reduce the number of current breast cancer deaths in the United States by 50% by the year 2026. That means that each dollar raised, and each step walked in the 3-Day is working towards that Bold Goal.
Dollars raised by 3-Day participants also go towards funding local research grants community health programs. This year, Komen announced $30.7 million in research funding for 98 research grants nationwide, which will predominantly focus on discovering new treatments, as well as improving our understanding of the most lethal forms of breast cancer. These grants and research are critical in helping us move closer to achieving Komen’s Bold Goal.
To fully understand your direct impact in our work, Komen released the direct impact that local research dollars has in all our local 3-Day markets. Last year, fundraising dollars contributed to the 160 total research grants in the state of Pennsylvania, and funded 186 career investigators in California.
To see the direct impact of the 3-Day in 2017, and all your hard work, look up your home state in the infographics below. These are also great informational resources to share with potential donors, or to send to donors from this year’s walks to show them just how much their support means.
The 3-Day headed south for our October event, taking Atlanta by storm this weekend. The dawn was slowly coming up over Stone Mountain as our 475 walkers and 225 crew started their journey with a poignant and emotional Opening Ceremony led by local participants. The rising sun was the perfect welcome to a wonderful 60 miles ahead.
After walking through Stone Mountain Park, our walkers were greeted by quite the cheering section at Mile 1. All of Stone Mountain Elementary came out to cheer on our 3-Dayers with signs, flags and even their school drum line!
From there, walkers headed through Clarkston, GA to Pit Stop 2 and 6.2 miles checked off their first day. They danced The Wobble with Youth Corps and stocked up on snacks like the infamous Grahamwiches. They also received support from other local cheering stations before arriving at lunch.
“Boob University” was the perfect break spot at Mile 12.6 at the Decatur Family YMCA, complete with pink resting mats from Mohawk Flooring, who also had several staff members walk with us this weekend. There were plenty of dancing and photos as well!
The second half of Day One saw the walkers being welcomed into Emory Village, by the Winship-Glenn Family Breast Center team, who showed the walkers their fundraising dollars at work.
They spent the rest of the day walking through Downtown Atlanta, including crossing the Jackson Street Bridge and walking through Centennial Olympic Park. They ended Day One at camp at the Georgia World Congress Center after 21.7 miles walked. Walkers were able to relax at the 3-Day Lounge, including getting some much-needed pampering from the Bank of America massage chairs. We had an emotional and celebratory camp show before everyone turned in for the night.
Day Two started a little cooler, making it perfect walking weather for our walkers to take on their second set of 20 miles. Straight from camp, the walkers passed the CNN Center and Ivy Hall before stopping at Pit One after a quick 2.2 miles on Saturday morning.
There was plenty of local support before lunch as well, including multiple local Girl Scout troops and Red Hot Yoga Studio, all of which kept our walkers smiling and inspired. At Pit Stop 3, the local Atlanta Komen Affiliate also came out to add to our cheering Crew to propel the walkers those final few miles to lunch.
Lunch was at Mile 11.6, and we had time to meet our amazing Atlanta Youth Corps via Facebook Live as well as re-hydrate before the second half of the day.
High Points on the rest of the day included walking by the Tanyard Creek Park Train Trestle and the World of Coca-Cola before arriving back at camp for the night. Walkers tucked into everyone’s dinnertime favorite: 3-Day mac n’ cheese! Then there was a fun dance party before lights out on Day Two.
Day Three dawned bright and warm, with our walkers making great time on their final 20 miles of the weekend. Pit Stop 1 was at 3 miles, right outside the Atlanta IKEA, but our walkers couldn’t stop to shop. They had a mission!
They breezed through lunch at Morris Brandon Elementary, and in no time at all they entered Pit 3, right along the Chattahoochee River at Mile 13.3. There was a fun community cheering station at Akers Mill Square before our walkers climbed the hill to see the new SunTrust Park up ahead.
We had some liquid sunshine as our walkers crossed the finish line and entered SunTrust Park, but that didn’t stop everyone from dancing across the finish line with smiles on their faces, and even tears of joy in some eyes. The clouds opened up and the sun shone down for our Closing Ceremony, and final celebration in Atlanta.
Our journey is never truly done, though, as was evidenced throughout 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.
As we hugged and celebrated and danced under the bright October sunshine, 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, Atlanta. 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.
Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Atlanta Milestone Award Winner; Christi Ann Witlberger! The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Atlanta 3-Day camp show, we presented Christi Ann with this special honor.
To get to know Christi Ann better, we asked the 3-Day community for stories about her, and the she got rave reviews!
Her parents and fellow walkers, Carl and Colleen Ferland, have been supporting Christi Ann on her 3-Day journey for more than a decade! Both of her grandmothers had breast cancer, and so when Christi Ann got involved to help, her parents jumped at the chance to be a part of her cause.
“We own some Denny’s restaurants and she came up with the idea to place a jar at the registers to collect from our customers to help with our fundraising. This has been a huge success for us!
The employees have really gotten behind us and started having bake sales, garage sales and contests to collect the most donations. Christi has been the team captain for all these years, she has been dedicated to organizing each year’s packets to go out to all the restaurants and track the donations each week. She sends encouragement messages to the restaurants to keep the enthusiasm high. She tries very hard to keep us all straight with reminders to register and do our on-line check in by due dates and is the first one ready to catch the bus on the mornings of the walk. We are very proud of Christi’s dedication and commitment to the 3-Day!”
Talk about being a great team player! Now let’s hear about the 3-Day and Christi Ann’s story in her own words. When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!
What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?
My grandmothers! Both of my grandmothers are breast cancer survivors and I felt like I could honor them by becoming a part of something that could help put an end to this disease. One night I saw a commercial on TV for the walk and I decided at that moment that this was it. I called my mom and told her WE were signing up for this. She went along with it and we just keep coming back for more and now we walk as a family: My dad, my mom and my sister walk alongside with me!!!
What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?
I enjoy coming back every year because I know that each and every year I walk and fundraise we are closer to a cure. I enjoy the time I get to spend with my parents and sister. The memories we make and the conversations we have are priceless and worth every blister!!!!
What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?
Teamwork! I have not done this alone. Through the use of my dad’s restaurant franchise, we have been able to raise money each year for the 3-Day. Our Denny’s employees and customers are amazing and have helped us succeed each and every year.
What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?
It’s an amazing and life changing experience. Take it ALL IN. You will laugh and you will cry. You will learn a lot about yourself. You will challenge yourself and your body. When you think you can’t possibly walk one more mile, YOU CAN!!!!! The 3-Day is a family and they will be with you every step of the way!!!!!
What’s a fun fact about you?
I hate running but I am training for my second half marathon this coming March.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?
Just keep going!!!! Carry toilet paper in your backpack 🙂 and the Grahamwiches are tha bomb!! You should have one at every Pit Stop, but beware…..they go fast!! 🙂