“Dear Cancer, you lose…”: Meet Survivor and First-Time 3-Dayer, Sylvia G.

If I had to write a letter to cancer it would read, “Dear Cancer, you lose…”

Sylvia just finished five and a half weeks of radiation after being diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after her 40th birthday. Though she initially was shocked and numbed by her diagnosis, she gathered her family and friends around her and got “gangsta with cancer” by refusing to let it stop her from living her life and celebrating every minute of it.

Now, after finishing her radiation, she says, “I am feeling strong and just getting settled into my new normal. The silver lining throughout this process has been to just really LIVE because you never know! And of course, if you’re busy living, you have less time to worry about the small (or big) stuff.”

She is on the other side of one part of her breast cancer journey, but that doesn’t mean the journey is over. After her diagnosis, Sylvia did research into all of the work that Susan G. Komen does to support survivors and those living with breast cancer. This, in turn, led her to the 3-Day. She signed up immediately for the New England 3-Day and will be driving in from her hometown of Pelham, New York to walk in her first-ever 3-Day at our New England 3-Day in September. She’s already fundraised more than $3,500 and is continuing to spread the word about the 3-Day and breast health. To say that breast cancer hasn’t slowed her down is an understatement! But don’t take it from us! Sylvia is here to share her story in her own words…

Tell us your breast cancer story…

I had just turned 40 when my world was turned upside down. I received a call I never expected.

“You have breast cancer.”

And just like that I was numb. The music stopped, and the party was over.

While still in shock, my family immediately took me to my mom’s breast surgeon. She had just finished treatment for stage 1 breast cancer the year before and was a total champion throughout it all, I might add. I was able to get positive preliminary information specific to my breast cancer which helped me start to feel the ground a bit.

We decided to go for several other opinions with breast surgeons and reconstruction surgeons. After choosing the team I felt most comfortable with, we opted for the nipple sparing double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. My diagnosis after surgery ended up being stage 2 breast cancer that had spread to one lymph node. I learned that I would have to have four rounds of chemo plus radiation.

In the days leading up to my first round of chemo, I kept reflecting on how blessed I am to live in a time of so many medical breakthroughs as well as options for treatment of breast cancer. This is when I realized that I needed to be part of helping to continue these advancements and fight to end breast cancer.

And how did this journey lead you to the 3-Day?

I had read online about Susan G. Komen and how much they have done for research, education, screening and treatment. I knew I had found the right match for my mission to bring us closer to a cure so that so many other people, including my children, will not have to suffer through this. I was gearing up to get gangsta with cancer!

And you have! You’ve been very successful with your fundraising efforts!

I immediately started my fundraising by following all the tips on the 3-Day website. Posting on Facebook, personally emailing all my family and friends, remembering to always send thank you emails as well as follow up emails and telling people about corporate matching gifts. At the end of the day, I really am so blessed to have generous and caring people in my life, some of who also have been impacted by this disease, and I am forever grateful for their support.

Though I have had success in fundraising there does come a point that you have to get creative to be able to keep getting donations outside of just family and friends. One way is to go through all your contacts and see who has a business or works for a company that can partner up with you to create a fundraiser. This in turn allows you to use their resources and reach a larger audience to support your cause.

So far, I am very proud of how much I’ve been able to raise, and I am really looking forward to meeting other survivors, hearing their stories of fearlessness, as well as bonding with my team. I can only imagine that feeling of accomplishment after finishing the 3-Day walk!

What are some of your other 3-Day goals?

I want to reach as many people as possible and remind them of the importance of getting regular mammograms because early detection of breast cancer can make the disease easier to treat. I will also continue to stay focused on my health and positivity so that I can be my best self.

I still have a long way to go but since becoming a survivor I don’t think I can ever justify sweating the small stuff.

I have been dealt a couple bad hands but at the end I plan on winning the game!

The 3-Day, Through Your Lens

59858523_10214725596038183_2377386547205898240_nMay is National Photography Month, and we know the 3-Day is the picture perfect spot to take photos with your friends, family and favorite 3-Day people. We asked our social media community to send us their favorite photos from the 3-Day, and you all delivered! Seeing your smiling faces, bold steps and teamwork in the fight against breast cancer is an inspiring way to celebrate this month in photos. And it has us more excited than ever for our 2019 3-Days! Add your photos in the comments of this blog to show why you Commit 3 Days and go further than anyone else can in the fight against breast cancer. Happy snapping 3-Dayers! 📷

We Crew for MaMa Tutu: Meet Ken and Kris Kauker

The sign says it all!

Eight family members. More than 30 events. Walkers, crew, youth corps, walker stalkers. The Kauker and Lawrie families have the 3-Day running through their veins. And that includes Ken and Kris Kauker. Most Philadelphia 3-Dayers know them as the TuTu Brothers and remember their fun outfits and wide smiles as they ride by while on the Safety Crew.

They are just a small part of a true family movement to support the 3-Day’s mission, in memory of their mother, Julie Kauker (MaMa TuTu), who passed away from inflammatory breast cancer in 2011. With Mother’s Day this Sunday, Ken and Kris are giving us a deeper look at their family’s dedication to the 3-Day, and the love for their parents that started it all.

2018 Atlanta 3-Day TuTuBros.jpg

Meet the Kauker/Lawrie family (TuTu family) members…

Our family of five was always a close family. We did everything together: family camping on the weekends, participating and watching sporting events, vacations to local destinations, working behind-the-scene at our local community theatre and even performing as a colonial family at local historic sites.

Thankfully, many of those things we still do. And yes, still as a family. At the head of the family were our parents. Mom and Dad (MaMa and PaPa TuTu) were involved with everything the family did. No one family member would ever end up being the only one. This goes for everything we do. If one of us is involved, we are all involved.

2014 Philadelphi 3Day Kathleen holding moms photo.jpg

And then in 2006, everything changed…

When our Mom was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, she wasn’t the only one getting ready for the battle. We were all involved with every aspect of the treatments, doctor’s visits, hospital stays and everything else that goes along with it. She didn’t go anywhere alone. Someone was always there taking notes, holding all the paperwork, asking all the questions and anything else we could do to make things a little easier.

Things moved quickly through chemo treatments, surgeries, and radiation treatments. We describe the days after a diagnosis like riding a roller coaster. There were the days of climbing the hills. There were the days of flying down the hill. There were the days of screaming around curves. There were days of being turned upside down. There were days when all we could do is hold on and scream in fear. But, like with all rollercoasters, the ride came to an end.

With the help of countless doctors and countless nurses, Mom was given a clean bill of health and the road to recovery was complete. And just like riding a rollercoaster, we laughed and were joyous that the ride was over.

2016 Philadelphia 3Day

From there, the family began to move forward…

With everything behind us, it was a radio commercial that sparked the realization to pay it forward and the medium in which to do it. The commercial was for the Philadelphia 3-Day that would be taking place in October. It was this commercial that pushed our family into the realm of the 3-Day family.

And they never looked back…

Our 3-Day family has been with us since 2008. They’ve been there when we needed them and when we didn’t know we needed them. They were there when our Mom passed away and again 10 months later when our Dad passed away. They provided the light down the dark passages that cancer and losing someone forces you to go down. Every city that we’ve crewed has welcomed all of us with loving, open arms and made us a part of their family.

The Philadelphia 3-Day may be our home event, but when it comes down to it, the Crew is a part of every walk, no matter what city it takes place in.

That means our family is always part of the 3-Day, no matter where we are.

2018 Philadelphia 3-Day Family.jpg

Spread the love this Mother’s Day to the special women in your own life! You can share a personalized love note with your mom this Mother’s Day and Susan G. Komen will then share one with a mother facing breast cancer. komen.org/withlovexoxo