3-Day Michigan Coaches: Favorite Parts of the 2018 3-Day

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The countdown is on to our first 3-Day of 2018, and no one is more excited than your Michigan 3-Day Coaches. Jennifer, Heather and Gina have been preparing, planning and getting pumped up for this coming weekend since Michigan’s Closing Ceremony in 2017. They can’t wait to welcome all our 3-Dayers back into the Pink Bubble!

What are they most excited for this year?

Coach Jennifer is looking forward to “meeting all of the new folks that I have been talking to on the phone and via email for the past several months and reconnecting with our amazing veteran walkers.”

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The coaches with Event Production Manager, Ann Love

Crew & Volunteer Coordinator Gina echoes that statement saying she can’t wait for to welcome “those returning and meeting the new faces on the event,” especially when it comes to the Crew and Volunteers.

Crew, Youth Corps and volunteers are all a huge part of the 3-Day experience after all!

“I must give a shout out to our all-volunteer and all-around amazing Crew. You will find Crew around every turn, and at camp, making sure walkers are fully supported,” Coach Gina promises. “Youth Corps, our friends in yellow, are youth who commit to serving the walkers throughout the weekend. Be sure to “high-five” a crew or Youth Corps member!”

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You can also high five your coaches because they have some great advice for you! How should you make the most of your time on the Michigan 3-Day? Their top tips are all very similar:

  • “Enjoy every single moment the 3-Day has for you. Do not be in a rush to get to the next pit stop, don’t worry about what “number” you are! Enjoy it and soak it in. Take a lot of pictures, talk to your fellow walkers, not just those you may be on a team with. Trust me, these three days will fly by.” – Coach Jennifer
  • “Savor the moments, every step, each interaction, because as the saying goes, ‘It’s the little moments that make life big.’” – Coach Gina
  • “One step at a time. Soak it all in! Don’t get so lost in “just getting it done” that you miss all the awesomeness that comes with every minute.” – Coach Heather

While you soak in these moments, also remember how much the 3-Day matters to walkers, Crew and coaches alike.

Coach Gina says, “My 3-Day ‘why’ became much more personal in the past year and has renewed my energy in this fight. My own breast cancer battle brought surgeries, chemo, radiation, and more…but I am blessed because I had my 3-Day community around me, who lifted me up when I needed it most. The 3-Day to me is a family, a family bound together by their passion, enthusiasm and drive to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.”

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Every step you take on the 60-mile route makes a huge difference. And of course, no one knows the route better than these three ladies!

Here are their favorite spots to look for over your Michigan weekend:

  • Walking along the water early on Day 1
  • Camp! All the coaches promise that camp will be cozy and full of fun things to do
  • All the local cheering stations!
  • But especially the Plymouth cheering station on Day 3
  • Kellogg Park
  • The cheerleaders on Day 3
  • York Street in Dearborn
  • Any place along the route where there are dogs! (Good point Coach Jennifer 😊)

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This team works hard, but they also love to work together and support each other!

Gina is the “calm, cool and collected” one of the group who “always has a kind word for everyone.” Heather and Jennifer describe themselves as two peas in a pod; they even finish each other sentences!

Coach Heather sums it up nicely when she says, “If I had to use one, all-encompassing word, it would be FRIENDS! We are there for each other in all aspects of our lives. We cheer each other’s victories and we show love and support during our times of struggle. We are blessed to be part of this tightknit team and we are so excited to share an amazing 2018 3-Day with our awesome walkers and crew!”

With excitement and love like that, you know this weekend is going to be one for the books!

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Honoring the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Lifetime Commitment Circle, as told by Burt L. 

In June 2018, we brought together participants who have shown leadership in fundraising and team development with Susan G. Komen’s mission team and Scientific Advisory Board for an inspiring appreciation and mission-focused event at Komen headquarters. We not only celebrate this group of participants, but all of our participants as the 3-Day is forever emblazoned on the wall at Komen headquarters. This wall will be replicated this year on all of our 3-Day events. If you’re a registered 3-Day participant, learn more about the Lifetime Commitment Circle here. We’re thrilled to share more about the Lifetime Commitment Circle experience by fellow Michigan and Dallas/Fort Worth walker, Burt Lipshie (now in his 15th year participating and 28th and 29th events).

What a weekend! Together with some 40 other people from around the country — including two from Alaska — I was flown to Dallas to participate in a “celebration” for those of us 3-Day walkers who have, over their lifetimes, raised more than $100,000 in the fight against breast cancer (one of the Alaskans is the all-time champion, with more than $400,000 raised). It was an unforgettable couple of days.

After checking in to our hotel, we gathered at Komen headquarters for dinner, and a talk by, and with, Komen’s CEO, Paula Schneider. Her focus, despite the strides and advances being made in this struggle, was on how much we still have to accomplish. There are 154,000 women in the United States today living with metastatic breast cancer (and we cannot forget — the widow of one of our lost walkers reminded us — about the number of men, as well). And we saw a film clip of an interview with one of them, a 39-year old mother of two, made last fall, that left us all teary-eyed — even before Paula told us that she lost her fight in March. And she was not alone. We still, again just in the United States, lose 40,000 women (and some 500 men) each year to breast cancer. The bold goal that Komen announced last year is to cut the number of deaths in half by 2026.

Susan G. Komen CEO Paula Schneider

On a lighter note, earlier in the week, one of the group circulated an email asking, “Who’s up for meeting at 5 am in the hotel lobby for a little training walk Friday morning. Seems fitting for this amazing group to walk together.” And, so, some 13 of us got up before dawn on Friday to do about 2 1/2 miles together, talking and laughing, before Friday’s programming. I’ve attached a picture of the group.

Then back to headquarters to spend the morning with Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board. These are some of the top folks in the breast oncology field who, among other things, guide Komen on making research grants. One of the members of the Board is not a doctor of medicine at all. She is a Doctor of Psychology, a therapist, and a 35-year breast cancer survivor. Her role on the Board is to be a patient advocate. Indeed, we learned, there must be a patient advocate on every team that Komen funds.

After our talk with the scientists, we had one of the powerful highlights of the event. The agenda called it simply an “Office Tour.” It was much, much, more. We piled into elevators to go from our large conference room up to the Komen offices. As each elevator door opened, we were greeted by a roar of cheering. All of the Komen employees were lined up on either side of a long hallway, cheering and waving pink pompoms.

And that wonderful moment led to the end of the hall, where, on a long wall, all of our names were inscribed. We all stood and gaped. We cried. We took a million pictures. No one wanted that moment to end.

But, somewhat behind schedule, we needed to go back downstairs, for a meeting with the heads of Komen’s various sections — Public Policy and Advocacy, Community and Network, Health Equity Initiatives, and Education and Patient Support. There are important things being done besides the scientific research.

The advocacy team is working on obtaining more federal funding for breast cancer research through the NIH and CDC. And, a big issue is insurance coverage and access to clinical trials. The various Komen local Affiliates provide more than $23,000,000 in grants each year, dealing with local issues, including the Treatment Assistance Programs. Komen’s recent 3-Day fundraising goal for the Treatment Assistance Program was $500,000. It raised some $650,000.

One of the major focuses going forward is the Health Equity Initiative. The death rate among African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer is 40% higher than white women. The rate of triple negative breast cancer — one of the most aggressive and deadliest — is dramatically higher in the African-American community. Why? Research is being done on whether there is a genetic cause, and if so, how to combat it. But, also, the statistics show that African-American women get diagnosed later, when the risk of death is greater, as is the cost of treatment.

Sadly, by Friday afternoon, the celebration had to end. With promises to each other to keep in touch, the group slowly dispersed. Many back to the airport. Lucky me, since I was down there, I got to spend some quality time with my Texas cousins, who are the reason I got involved with the 3-Day after we lost their mother Judy (my cousin) to breast cancer.

Now I am back. And more energized than ever. We have accomplished so much. There is still so much to do. The monster must be slain.

I hope you all know that I know that while it is my name on the wall at Komen headquarters, the honors belong to all of you who have walked, crewed and supported so many of us. Together we have gotten this far. I know we will not stop now.”

Thank you, Burt, for your vivid and poignant recollection of the honoring of our Lifetime Commitment Circle and for sharing it with the whole 3-Day community. Please join us in honoring and recognizing our Lifetime Commitment Circle members and all of our participants and crew members for their passion, dedication, and commitment to Susan G. Komen. We are proud to work alongside you in our fight to end breast cancer forever. Please visit the 3-Day Lifetime Commitment Circle replica wall while you are on-site at the 3-Day events in 2018.

2018 Michigan 3-Day Route Preview

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3day walk in Novi, Michigan on August 4, 2017.

The Michigan 3-Day is this week, and as you get ready for the event, we have a preview of what to expect on our first 3-Day of the year! We can’t believe the weekend is almost here!

After getting great feedback on our route from last year, you’ll be happy to see some familiar sights, but we have taken extra effort to make this year even better than the last!

Camp will once again be at Novi Middle School after we received such a warm welcome from the Wildcats last year. This outdoor camp allows us to take advantage of the great Michigan summer weather, and since the camp site is safely away from any noise or light, that won’t interfere with your 3-Day beauty sleep.

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New at camp this year will be Bank of America photo booths so you can get that perfect 3-Day photo, and toiletry bags from Hilton Hotels.

Our Michigan Event Production Manager, Ann Love, previously a Michigan 3-Day Coach, is very excited about these new camp amenities!

“I want one of those toiletry bags for my everyday life! They’re such a great addition!”

Bank of America will also be providing more massage chairs than last year, and Mohawk will once again be providing padding to make your tents as comfortable as possible. We want our 3-Dayers to experience a full night of glamping!

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We also listened to feedback from last year and have created a more compact camping layout. It’s more intimate, people will be a little freer to move around and have fun with their 3-Day pals!

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are also in the same locations as last year, with the Opening Ceremony taking place at Walled Lake Western High School. The ceremony itself will be slightly different from last year but Ann and our 3-Day team want all the updates to be a surprise for our 3-Dayers. So, follow along with us on Facebook to see the grand unveiling!

“Walled Lake School loves having us! We will walk by their administrative building, so they have a big cheering station and have the whole district of student staff, teachers and everyone there. It’s a great start to the 3-Day!” Ann promises.

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3day walk in Novi, Michigan on August 4, 2017.

After the Opening Ceremony, walkers will start their day along the Walled Lake Trail, which was a hit last year and is one of Ann’s favorite spots on the route!

“We always love the opportunity to walk along the water. Surprisingly, we don’t always get to walk by a lot of lakes, even though we have so many of them in Michigan!”

Other highlights from Day One are Pavilion Shore Park, Novi Ten Shopping Center and Novi Meadows!

There will be minimal route changes as we walk in and out of camp, due to construction, but Ann and the 3-Day team are working hard to make those changes extra special.

“We’re doing our best to fill that area with cheering stations and make that part of the walk exciting and welcoming as people get closer to camp. We want the route to feel different every day!”

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After a fun night at camp, Day Two will take 3-Dayers through the city of Plymouth. That’s where we will see the now famous “Pink Fountain,” which is an excellent spot for photos! After that, we will pass through the city of Northville. Spots to look out for though the rest of the day are Cass Benton and Kellogg Park (a favorite spot of Ann’s!) as well as Northville Downs.

Day Three will again be a similar route to last year’s because it was such a hit in 2017! Much of the day takes place in Dearborn, including a pit stop at the Dearborn Historical Museum. Ann loves this spot, which is a fun destination right in the heart of the downtown of Dearborn.

Ann says, “The whole city of Dearborn in general loves having the 3-Day there. They’re so excited that we are once again hosting our Closing Ceremony in this hometown. The hosts of these Sunday locations are so awesome and supportive. They’re so excited that we come there and always are so thankful.”

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We will finish, as usual, at Ford World Headquarters for our celebratory Closing Ceremony.

Ann promises for a truly inspiring and personal 3-Day experience this year.

“We really worked, especially in Michigan, to make things feel as intimate and personal as possible. We want people to be surrounded by their friends and 3-Day family.”

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She can’t wait to welcome all the 3-Dayers “home” to Michigan in just a few days.

“I’m always excited to get started! It’s so nice to see everyone and be in the Pink Bubble. I love kicking everything off in Michigan for a fun season!”