For the 2019 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.
Please join us in congratulating the 2019 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Melissa Melson!
Her Team Captain, Janice Shore, raves about Melissa!
“The Hines Pink Pathers are so very happy that Melissa is receiving this award! Melissa is considerate and kind to all she encounters and is always willing to help with questions or problems, whether it is 3-Day related or not. Melissa really puts her heart and soul into everything she does including her commitment and dedication to the 3-Day!”
We got to know Melissa a little better, and learn more about the serious impact she has had on the Michigan 3-Day. When she was answering these questions, she didn’t yet know that she’d be our award winner!
What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?
I am not sure what it was. It was just a feeling truthfully. I had heard about it before and the end of 2011 on the radio and was inspired by the 3-Day message and ad. I heard the advertisement on the radio and I just felt like I had to sign up. I was stuck in traffic and it just felt like the right thing to do.
My mom’s mom had breast cancer probably 20 years prior but no one else had it when I first walked. Despite not really knowing people diagnosed when I first signed up, that was soon to change, and it turns out the 3Day was leading me right where I needed to be! My mom ended up being diagnosed right after the end of my first walk with stage 2 almost 3 breast cancer. The following spring a classmate was diagnosed at age 30 with Triple negative breast cancer, and she died 3 years later. Many more have been diagnosed over these last 7 or 8 years including my stepmom as well. Watching then fight such a hard fight made me frustrated and I needed to do something. Unbeknownst to me, the 3-Day helped me find my way to help, my purpose before I knew I needed it.
What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?
The people I met on my first 3-Day became the family I got to choose. It was an amazing positive and proactive environment despite having a rough first walk. I didn’t train like I should have. I didn’t have the right shoes, and I didn’t know anyone really when I started. I was about 80 lbs heavier, but the happy pink bubble draws me back every year. I could have had blisters and sore muscles from head to toe, and I would still come back year after year.
It’s also the list of names I walk for that grows each year unfortunately. More people need me. I feel like I need to raise money for those who can’t and walk for those who are unable to. This walk gives me a way to help, a way to deal with a feeling of helplessness to help my loved ones when I cannot cure their cancer or take their pain away.
What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?
Start early, do a variety of things, and join a team if you need the extra support to help, give you ideas, and they can help you train and be better prepared too. I send emails and reminders. Just because someone doesn’t donate this year doesn’t mean they won’t next year, or that their busy life won’t get them sidetracked and they forget.
Contact local businesses, talk to your job to see what you can do there. You can do online fundraisers where you can reach people outside your neighborhood or social circle. Try a lot of different things because what works for one community might not work well in yours. What works for your friends might not be as successful with the people you know, so broaden your reach and try a variety of types of fundraisers until you figure out what works for you.
What is your best advice to anyone participating in the 3-Day?
Be prepared (train, good shoes, and focus on health going in) but also have fun. Don’t rush, stop and enjoy the pink roses lol. Enjoy all the beautiful people and the 3Day family. This is a pink bubble, that is unlike anywhere or anything else in the world.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I was just on Channel 4 news, interviewed by Paula Tutman for a recently developing passion! I’ve always cared about the environment and animals and living creatures. I think pesticides that kill bees and pollinators are not good for us either and I can do something to help pollinators and the world we live in. I found out a way to help and started my own pollinator and environmentally friendly flower garden. It is over 15 ft long and about 4 feet wide and doing pretty well considering this is my first year as a gardener.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?
- Do what you can, the best you can.
- One step at a time.
- I cannot tap out until Cancer does first.
- Great shoes go a long way.
- Health and hydration sure make life easier!