Congratulations to the 2019 Seattle 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Penny Kellam

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 Seattle 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Penny Kellam!

The amount of love for Penny on the Seattle 3-Day is unparalleled, and her team Kindred Spirits teammates could not stop gushing about her.

Teammate Denise Stark says, “Penny to me epitomizes the 3-Day in our community. She has rallied people and support to fight breast cancer through Susan G. Komen from all walks of life. She’s what I would describe as an influencer and a networker, connecting people and organizations with the cause and with each other that might otherwise have never connected. I would not be involved with the 3-Day today had it not been for a random meeting through the run she organizes every year to raise funds for the 3-Day. I can’t think of anyone who has done more to inspire and to deserve the Local Impact award than Penny.”

Kris Lambright, another one of Penny’s teammates, echoes those feelings.

“Penny is an amazing team captain! She makes sure that all teammates get help if needed to be fully funded, she makes sure you are prepared to walk (not just trained but with packing tips, Thursday team dinner, Thursday night hotel, etc.), and she has made the team into a family that supports each other not only on the walk but throughout the year. She also emphasizes the importance of kindness during the 3-Day – to other walkers, crew, and supporters. She basically just embodies our team name of Kindred Spirits.”

Then, we heard about Penny’s 3-Day love and dedication, right from Penny herself!

What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?

I was diagnosed with cervical and uterine cancer in late 1999. At the time I was given a 24% chance of survival. The uterine cancer was posed to take me out, but I was blessed with an amazing team of professionals that had a plan, listened me (and my gut instincts) and developed and adjusted a plan that respected my needs and brought me through.  We made decisions together that might not work for everyone but that worked for me. The absolute worst moment of my entire cancer journey was sharing my diagnosis with my sons – 13 & 15 at time. No parent should ever see the ragged fear in their child’s eyes that too many of us have witnessed.

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?

That first year I walked for myself. It was all about my journey and my need to draw a line in the sand between cancer patient and cancer survivor. It was selfish but necessary. No apologies here.

That said that first walk was supposed to be a one and done…but something changed on Day 2. I was walking alone after putting a teammate on a Sweep Van. I was walking as fast as I could to move through the walkers to where I knew I knew a couple of my teammates were walking ahead. I went to pass “on the left” of a pair of young gals – in their 20’s, wearing matching shirts with “For the Love of Josie” on the back. One of them carried a pair of worn tennis shoes with a brand new sparkly angel – and I knew my heart couldn’t stand to ask. I’d been crying for two days and I thought I was spent.  But the universe had other ideas. The person behind me asked about Josie. And I listened. It turned out that Josie was Mom to one of these young girls. She had trained and fundraised and planned to walk with these best friends. They carried her training shoes because Josie had passed two weeks before but they couldn’t walk without her. I cried for the next two miles. Seriously cried. Because in that split second I had the vision of my boys walking with my face on their shirts and my shoes slung across their shoulder. And nothing about that was okay.

Then I saw the big picture.  I suddenly understood how absence of one of us throws ripples into the pond that never end. I had no choice but to sign up again…and again…and again. This year I’m walking New England (#34), Seattle (#35) and San Diego (#36) where my husband will join me as a first-time walker.

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?

Ask everybody and then ask them again. Do not take the opportunity away from someone to support this important work by deciding for them that they aren’t interested in or capable of helping. You have no idea how this monster may have affected them or their family or their friends. I have too many personal stories of times when I hesitated to ask but finally took the plunge only to be overwhelmed by connections I didn’t know about and the absolute generosity of people I had thought unable to financially support this cause. Ask everybody!!

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?

Enjoy the journey. There is something uniquely special about the people that step outside their personal comfort zone to do something this bold and challenging. Talk to everybody. Really talk to them. You’ll hear stories that you’ll never forget. You’ll enrich your 3-Day experience with every conversation. Stop and hug that survivor on the side of the road. Talk to the littles that come out to cheer you on. Don’t rush through everything looking at your feet. Consciously make the effort to look up and connect.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I spent the first seven years of my life as a proud resident of North Pole, Alaska. Santa Claus lived just down the highway from me, I routinely fell asleep to the crackle of the Northern Lights and we had a momma moose that would bring her calves to winter in the protection of the “L” formed by our house – all of which I thought was perfectly normal until I moved down to Washington State just before high school.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?

  • Kindness is everything.
  • We can do the hard things – especially when we think we can’t.
  • Family comes from many different places and only some of them may share your bloodline.
  • There are a lot of things in this world that I cannot change but I can talk and walk and organize and motivate and until cancer is a footnote in the history books you can expect to find me doing all of those things to speed along the end of this monster.

Congratulations to the 2019 Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Mary Ann Isaac

Please join us in congratulating our 2019 Seattle Milestone Award Winners; Mary Ann Isaac. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Seattle 3-Day camp show, we presented Mary Ann with this special honor.

Friends like Kathy Giller say that “Mary Ann has been a tour de force in her fundraising efforts to help fight breast cancer. She was inducted into Susan G. Komen’s inaugural class of its Lifetime Commitment Circle as a major contributor. It’s been my honor to have Mary Ann as a friend, fellow warrior, and supporter of a cause that we are both passionate about.”

Mary Alexander echoes that love, and even credits Mary Ann with introducing her to the 3-Day.

“Mary Ann is the most caring person I know. Her dedication to Susan G. Komen is just one example. Her commitment to fundraising, training, and walking inspire me to be a better person.

Mary Ann asked me to walk with her at her first 3-Day walk. I was not sure I could do it. And then we completed the 60 miles. The 3-Day event has such a positive impact on your life, and it changes you. It gives you a new confidence and sense of accomplishment while you are helping others. The 3-Day is Mary Ann’s way of having a positive impact on many people she has not yet met. I am in awe of the life changing impact of Mary Ann’s fund raising is having and I could not be prouder to be the friend of an 11-time walker.”

What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?

My cousins walked in the 2008 Cleveland 3-Day. Both their mom (my aunt) and my mom are survivors. My cousins had such an amazing time and signed up for the 2009 walk. They asked my to walk with them. I said “YES” and signed up for my very first 3-Day.

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?

The 3-Day is an amazing experience. Once you have experienced the pink bubble, it is impossible to walk away. I believe in Susan G. Komen and am excited to continue to hear about research the 3-Day helps to fund and the advancements being made to find a cure.

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?

I am fortunate to have very supportive family, friends, and colleagues. My fundraising success is all about perseverance. I ask, remind, and ask again. Most people are willing to donate, they just need to be asked when they have a few minutes to donate. Reminding them on a periodic basis helps tremendously 🙂 In addition, saying thank you and sending thank you cards after the event, keep my sponsors coming back year after year.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I always use the 3-Day as my fun fact when I am asked about it (it’s another opportunity to fundraise). Another fun fact is that I spend more nights in a hotel in a year than I spend in my own bed. I have been traveling for work 4-5 days a week for over 30 years.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day? The most important lessons I have learned include:

  • If you are a solo walker, find fellow walkers that walk your speed and meet them. Walking is more fun in a group than solo!
  • Bring icy hot! it is a life-saver after a long day of walking

Meet Your Seattle 3-Day Coaches

It’s a busy week in the 3-Day world, and our Seattle coaches are hard at work getting an amazing weekend ready for you! They’re excited to bring the 3-Day to the West Coast. If you don’t know them yet, the Seattle 3-Day team is a group of women you’re going to love meeting this weekend! They’re dedicated, enthusiastic, and will be in your corner every step of the way.

That includes Coach Liz, who her fellow coaches call “the goddess of the 3-Day.” She has walked many times as well as a long-time coach and knows the 3-Day experience front to back.

Coach Amy says, “I have never met anyone so dedicated to taking care of our participants and sprinkling her love to make sure every interaction is filled with care. Liz always has a personal story that she can connect to a participant and always makes that walker or crew member feel supported.”

That love exists for Coach Amy, too! She is the crew’s biggest advocate and Liz goes as far to say that “she does magical work with our awesome crew. She is always so sweet and has a kind word for everyone.”

Coach Amy works alongside Coach Kiki, both working to help our crew have the best weekend possible. Kiki is hilarious and oh so productive, remaining calm no matter what problems come her way. Kiki can’t wait to be back in Seattle again after a few years and knows that both walkers and crew will have a “whole lot of smiles and hard-core belly laughs” to look forward to over the next few days. If you ever need a smile (or a sing along to your favorite Lizzo song!), Kiki is your gal!

Coach Aubrey will also bring plenty of smiles on event…and she’ll sing along with you to Lizzo, too! She’s a singer in her free time, and will even be performing at camp!

“Aubrey’s infectious enthusiasm for the Seattle 3-Day is contagious,” Coach Amy says with a smile. “Her passion for cultivating relationships in order to form partnerships and strengthen the 3-Day community inspires me daily. When you talk to Aubrey, you can’t help but smile.”

Last, but certainly not least, is our amazing Event Production Manager, Ann. Aubrey says she glues their group together, and “is super laid back and flexible. She’s always willing to hear suggestions from myself and the walkers!”

Ann has planned a beautiful route for all of you, and the coaches can’t wait for you to experience every step of this amazing weekend! Spots to keep an eye out for. Here are the coaches’ favorites…

  • Day One’s walk across the 520 Bridge and into Medina
  • Day One also has a scenic lunch stop at Bellevue Downtown Park
  • Day Two’s trek along the waterfront in Kirkland
  • Our new Honor Ceremony at camp on Saturday evening
  • Of course, Day Three’s stop in Gasworks Park and Lake Union Park
  • The Rose Garden is also a fan favorite
  • The new Finish Line Festival will also be tons of fun for spectators and participants alike

From our Opening Ceremony at the Space Needle, to the many nature trails and picturesque parks you’ll experience throughout the weekend, our Seattle coaches know it will be a weekend to remember!

Coach Amy summed that feeling up nicely.

“The Seattle 3-Day Crew community is truly a beautiful example of what happens when you allow love to rule over everything you do. On the 3-Day, you will experience something that defies explanation. You will be challenged, inspired, pushed harder and appreciated more than you ever have before. It is a magical thing and I wish I could bottle up this magic and sprinkle it all year long!”

We can’t wait to see that magic throughout Seattle this weekend 😊