“Christa was an amazing human being. She was very giving and loving. She always had a smile and a hug for everyone. She never met a stranger.” —Sharon Ray
Christa Cannon was a part of the 3-Day family starting in 2013. She was an active participant, even through two breast cancer diagnoses, and had signed up to walk all seven cities in 2017. However, Christa sadly lost her battle with breast cancer in June of 2017, before she could walk alongside her pink family this past year. In her honor, all our 2017 seven-city walkers wore her name on their credentials as they crossed their final finish line in San Diego.
Also in her honor, a special 3-Dayer came on the seven-city journey Christa had planned on making. His name is Smokey T. Bear.
This small stuffed bear was carried by a different walker in each city, but always had Christa’s photo pinned to his chest.
His 2017 journey began in Michigan with walker Sharon R., who has been a 3-Dayer in various cities since 2011. She knew the power of Smokey and Christa’s story.
“It was an honor like no other. Being the first person, I had to set the bar for everyone else. It was like Christa was still walking with us. I made copies of her picture for everyone that carried Smokey to have. I think Christa was watching from above.”
From there, Smokey walked with a new participant in each city, including Melissa W. (at left above) and her other members of Team Shenanigans. It was Melissa who came up with the idea to carry Smokey this year in Christa’s honor, and she said that “support just poured in” as soon as she told a few people about her plan.
Sharon and lots of participants were more than happy to carry Smokey, and “tell Christa and Smokey’s story for all to hear.” Sharon says she is still so grateful to Melissa for “touching so many people with Christa’s story.”
In addition to the 3-Day, Christa (and Smokey) has watched over Melissa in an MS Society bike ride and an Ironman in the form of a smaller stuffed animal version. Melissa also plans to bring this mini-Smokey on her next Ironman attempt this coming April! Melissa keeps Christa in mind when she needs motivation, and felt that Christa’s spirit helped her in her times of need.
“Christa was a special person. She was very giving and loving. Positive and tough but knew how to make people laugh.”
If you’re joining us on the 3-Day again in 2018, be sure to keep an eye out for Smokey, and other memories of Christa. Melissa and Sharon are both signed up to Crew in all seven cities and look forward to keeping Christa’s memory alive.
We will carry her in our hearts for years to come.
Melissa says, “I will continue the quest of the memory of my dear friend Christa, my mother in law Delores and of all my other friends who have lost the battle or who are fighting the fight.”
Because we will never quit.
Thank you to everyone who carried, hugged and supported Smokey T. Bear (and his walking buddies) throughout 2017! See more of his memories below.