Black History Month Highlight: Margie W., Atlanta 3-Day Walker

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Meet “Miss Pink” – Margie W., who represents the 3-Day all year long; not just in her pink wardrobe, but in her sparkling enthusiasm. She has participated in fourteen 3-Day events since 2005, raised more than $32,000 (not including all the donations she has made to teammates over the years), and promotes the 3-Day spirit in every step of her life, not just those she takes on her yearly 60-mile journey.

Margie told us her story, her goal, and why it’s so important for the African American community to participate in the 3-Day. As we celebrate Black History Month, we also celebrate Margie and her vital message.

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Because she lost her favorite cousin to breast cancer, and because her sister is now a more than twenty-year survivor of the disease, Margie encourages everyone she knows to be on the lookout for early signs of breast cancer, to get their mammograms, and work to make every difference that they can.

“As an African American woman, it is so important to me to walk.”

And walk she does! When the 3-Day came to Atlanta in 2005, Margie says she was “over the rainbow” about making that sixty-mile journey. She has walked in other breast cancer walks, and has walked the 3-Day in other cities, but she keeps coming back to the 3-Day.

“When I started, I told myself I was only going to walk three years and I was going to be out of there. But I became addicted! I keep telling my donors it’s going to be my last year, but then every year, I call them again and say, “I lied. I’m walking again!”

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At almost 67 years old, she has been walking through knee pain for the last few years, but is going through treatment to try and walk this year if she can. But no matter what, she will crew. And she’s already begun fundraising!

“I already have $600 in my book. I am always raising money! That way, I can be there no matter what!”

For people who need help hitting their fundraising goals, Margie has plenty of ideas, but her #1 tip is simple: Just ask.

“ASK. ASK. ASK. I keep donation letters at work, in my car, in my purse. Anytime someone tells me I look pretty in my pink, I ask them! I’m always ready. I take whatever they give me. I could be in line at the grocery store, and if someone says something about all my pink, I tell them about the 3-Day.

I also used the 3-Day app last year. I sent out no letters, but I used the app and I was amazed! My thing is, you cannot just sign up, and throw fundraising on the back burner. You have not because you ask not. Ask!”

Her team, Tutu’s for Tatas, has also used fashion shows and a “Breast Cancer Mustang” event to help raise money. They were one of the first teams in 3-Day history to hit the million-dollar mark, and that’s thanks to dedicated fundraisers like Margie.

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She always donates to her teammates and fellow walkers who are struggling to meet their goals, and accepts any donation, no matter how small. That includes donations that are less than a dollar!

“The smallest donation I ever had was 37 cents. I was on a 12-mile training walk, and I stopped to use the bathroom. A little girl named Megan stopped and talked to me, and I told her I was walking for breast cancer. And she gave me thirty-seven cents, so I wrote a check for that thirty-seven cents and sent it in.”

To her, every cent, and every step makes a difference. Because she knows that all that work goes to helping people in need.

“It’s about seeing the symptoms, getting your mammograms. [..] There is a lot of help here! There are so many charities and help. That’s why people like me walk so hard and work and fundraise!”

She says that, “by the grace of god, I’m not a survivor, but I am a supporter” and she wants to support Komen’s Bold Goal as long as she can.

So, if you see her in Atlanta this year, give Miss Pink a big hug, and thank her for all her hard work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Philly’s 3-Day Fighter: Walker Caren S.

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On the 3-Day, it’s not uncommon to meet people who walk for their friends, their families, themselves or people they know who have been affected by breast cancer. Caren S. didn’t know anyone who had been affected by breast cancer – until, just one day after walking the 2017 Philadelphia 3-Day, she found out that SHE was now living with the disease.

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In 2017, Caren walked her first 3-Day in Philadelphia. She didn’t know anyone with breast cancer, but had been inspired to join the 3-Day after seeing a woman wearing one of our Victory T-Shirts while she was running a half marathon. Caren trained and walked all on her own, coming in from Boston just to make that 60-mile, 3-Day journey. Right after the Closing Ceremony, she headed home…to what turned out to be a whole new world.

“The day after the walk ended, I drove back to Boston and immediately to a doctor’s appointment I had scheduled months in advance. It was just an appointment to get a prescription refill, but since this was a new physician’s assistant, she insisted on doing a well woman exam. Well, that PA found a lump in my breast. Flash forward to today, and I have stage 3 HER2+ breast cancer.”

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This turn of events is one that many who are diagnosed with breast cancer know all too well. It immediately gave Caren “a whole new appreciation for Susan G. Komen, the 3-Day, all of the coaches, all of the volunteers, the survivors and the caregivers,” and has inspired her to already begin planning her 2018 walk goals.

One of them is to be walking as a survivor. And she’s going to approach that goal like one of her favorite movie characters.

“I’m obsessed with Rocky, literally. And during one of his fights, after 11 rounds of being beaten to a pulp, Rocky stood toe to toe with his opponent, looked him in the eye and confidently said, “I’m still standing here.” To me, that’s what the word “survivor” means. After chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, possible radiation, and 9 additional months of infusions, when I can say, “I’m still standing here,” that’s when I can call myself a survivor. To me, a survivor is someone who stood toe to toe with cancer, took all the hits, and kept moving forward until they beat it, scars, short hair and all.”

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As she continues to undergo treatment, battling her own scars, she’s also encouraging people to join her in 2018 on the 3-Day! It’s all part of her goal to keep moving forward, and she wants as many people as possible to join her on her journey.

“Between the volunteers, staff and other walkers, someone will always have your back and make sure you get what you need! I would say that the cause for which you are walking, mixed with the stories you hear over the 3 days, as well as the gorgeous and fun scenery, will make it an event you will remember for a lifetime. It’s all worth it as you’re walking.”

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Caren plans on walking throughout her treatment, though her training plan is different this year than last. Her heart has been weakened by her infusions so she will be bringing a friend with her for long walks, for the extra fun and support. She also gets help from her training playlist, which now doubles as her chemo playlist, too. The songs that pump her up and keep her going? Unsurprisingly they include the “Rocky” playlist, as well as:

  • “It’s A Fight” by Three 6 Mafia
  • “Stronger” by Kanye West
  • “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon
  • “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy
  • “Watch Me Shine” by Vanessa Carlton

And shine she will. She’s going to keep fighting, and like her pal Rocky, she’s never down for the count.

“I live my life by my favorite movie quote of all time, which was said by Rocky in Rocky Balboa:

‘It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward?’ That’s something I remind myself on a daily basis.”

 

 

 

 

What You Can Find on the 3-Day YouTube Channel

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If a picture can say a thousand words, imagine how much a video can tell us! When it comes to the 3-Day, we take videos on event, at training walks and beyond to help preserve that unique 3-Day experience long after you have crossed the finish line and headed home.

As the 2018 event season draws closer and you really dig in to your training and fundraising goals, it’s important to remember back to the 3-Day bubble and the Susan G. Komen family. Immersing yourself in those memories and happy times will give you an extra boost as you set out on your next training walk, and put passion into your latest round of fundraising letters. If you’re new to the 3-Day, our videos can give you a sneak peek of what’s to come.

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If you need help reconnecting with your big pink family, you need look no further than our 3-Day YouTube page! The collection of videos will bring a smile to your face and resolve to your heart.

We have 3-Day commercials from as far back as 2014, which give a beautiful look at 3-Days past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adn9xG8AvLw

There are also stories of inspiration from past walkers that give a voice to many of the reasons why we walk: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ0ttoG6MrV__XCdonsoPuO1dPO0hCvZ9

If you need fundraising tips and tricks, we have that too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0UQ0VtK4NI&t=1s

Are you walking in a new city this year? Or just want to feel some hometown love for your own city? Meet our event cities! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b9_5-PliJg&list=PLZ0ttoG6MrV87Wpt1xM7SFyMGb47FfAQl

A great way to encourage donors to support your 3-Day goals is to let them know where their money is going! We have a series of videos of doctors, researchers and others who have directly benefitted from the money raised on the 3-Day. Include this link in a fundraising email or share on your social media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh8Vb_YDOs8&list=PLZ0ttoG6MrV-zDdlXSyOobTWqZu7Pfo47

You can also thank your past donors by sharing one of the post-event recap videos from this past year!

And if you want to pull at the heart strings, or need a more emotional reminder of the gravity of our cause, watch “I Carry Your Heart, by the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Community” – but have the tissues ready! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncbKJPkhDlU

What are some of your videos on our YouTube channel? How have you used our videos in your fundraising efforts or at a team meeting? Tell us in the comments!