Happy Halloween from the 3-Day Awarewolves

What’s that? Do you hear that howling? Is it Halloween? Or is it…The Awarewolves?!

This amazing team is a staple on the 3-Day, and their costumes keep them Halloween-ready all year long! They walked with us in New England in September, but their 3-Day journey began long before that. It began when Linda Lafragiola was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, when she and her sister Kathi Elliot decided that breast cancer would not beat them.

Linda explains, “Since being diagnosed, I decided to raise awareness about early detection and how important it is. Participating in the 3-Day allows me to share my story and experiences with any and everybody, year-round.”

What began as a promise, and a walk, between two sisters, has now grown to a whole team! That team includes their very own Awarewolf, Kathi’s beautiful Siberian Husky, Nika. Nika joined many of Linda and Kathi’s early training walks and quickly became their mascot.

After one of those such walks, the sisters started sharing possible team names with Kathi’s husband, David and her daughter Paige. They were talking about how everyone on the walks jokingly asks if Nika is a wolf, and right on cue, David began singing “Werewolves of London.” Suddenly, the group was singing “Werewolves in San Diego” instead, in honor of their upcoming walk in California.

From there, they all talked about how their team mission was about awareness and early detection, in honor of Linda’s own early diagnosis. So, David came up with AwareWolves. Paige created the team logo. Kathi coined the tagline, “Don’t be afraid — Early detection saves lives”. Linda found the amazing hot pink wolf ears. But they each came up with their own signature howls! And from there, a team was born.

More of how their story and team began, in Kathi’s own words…

“Linda learned that she had breast cancer in 2011. Fortunately, it was an early diagnosis and the cancer was limited to a small tumor. She underwent surgery that summer, followed by six weeks of radiation.

Mid-way through her treatment a friend asked Linda to join her at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in San Francisco in June 2012. She thought, ‘60 miles in 3 days…if I can survive breast cancer then I can do that!’

As a sister of someone who is going through something like breast cancer, you try to find ways to be helpful. Driving Linda to radiation appointments was something I could do. When Linda said she was walking, I said, ‘Why not me too?!’ From then on, the drives to radiation became a time to plan fundraisers and future training walks.

Linda’s last radiation appointment was on November 1, 2011 and the next morning, we laced up our sneakers and started training. Several months later, we had logged more than 1,000 miles and raised over $5,000 dollars each – enough for two 3-Day walks. So, we decided to register for the San Diego 3-Day in November 2012, as well.

Clearly walking 60 miles is no small feat, especially factoring in inclement weather and hilly terrain, but any 3-Day participant will tell you that the aches, pains and blisters are worth it.

Linda says her first 3-Day in San Francisco was emotional, inspiring and eye opening. It really hit home.

She told me, ‘I met so many women and men whose lives had been touched by breast cancer. It was mind boggling! It helped me to go from feeling like a victim — saying why did this happen to me? — to actually doing something about it.’

Not long after completing our second 3-Day in San Francisco, Linda and I officially started our team, cleverly named…The AwareWolves.”

But that was only the beginning of so many amazing memories for their team and their sisterhood!

Since then, they have walked in nearly ten 3-Days in different cities, and their team has only grown in number and recognition!

“The AwareWolves pack has grown, just by the people we have met along our journey,” explains Linda. “Some of them are veteran 3-Day walkers and crew members. Some are first-time walkers who have joined us to see what it’s all about. Everyone loves our signature ears and I swear some people have joined just to rock the ears and howl with the pack! 😄 And, we’re ok with that! Our team is made up of people from all over the US and although we walk at different speeds, we know we are there for each other. 💕 We are known for taking our time, enjoying the event and everything that comes with being in the pink bubble.”

Though in the past the Awarewolves have been in that pink bubble for a few Halloween weekend walks, this year Linda will be part of a group costume, which is a Pac-Man theme, instead!

She and Kathi are gearing up to walk in San Diego in November, and even though Halloween might be in the rearview mirror at that point, you can expect some AwareWolves on the San Diego 3-Day trails. Just keep a pink ear perked up for their howl!

Meet Your 2019 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches

The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day is this week…can you believe it?! We are so excited to head to the Lone Star State, the home of Susan G. Komen, for an amazing weekend.

No one is more excited than your Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day team! Your coaches Gayla and Liz, plus your amazing Crew Coordinators Gina and Kiki, as well as Event Planner Eileen have all been counting down the days to this weekend for a whole year. They’re ready to welcome you with open arms!

But, before we officially kick off the weekend, they are here to get you pumped for your 60-mile journey with their favorite spots along the route and why they look forward to this weekend all year. They are truly a team full of love for each other, and for each of their 3-Day participants. That’s because they are all one big family…

“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,” says Coach Gina.

And that includes this coaching team. They have so much love for each other!

Gina says that “Liz and Gayla are not only the faces of the DFW 3-Day, but the heart as well! Their love and passion for this event are incredible. I am constantly in awe of them. Everyone should be sure to give them both a high-five and a hug!”

They love Coach Gina as well, with Coach Liz calling her “the sweetest kindest person I know,” and Gayla saying that Gina “really appreciates the work all of the crew members put forth all season long. I am so honored to have her as a co-worker and friend. It makes my job that much more meaningful.”

The whole team also raves about Coach Kiki, who Liz calls “hilarious and oh so productive,” and Eileen, who has created an amazing 3-Days of route that everyone will be sure to love.

What are some highlights that the coaches especially love?

  • The Sculpture Garden right after Opening Ceremony
  • The Cattle Drive bronze statures
  • Walking through the Roughrider Stadium in Frisco and seeing everyone’s pictures on the big screen in centerfield
  • The energy and emotion at the Honor Ceremony at camp Saturday night
  • The brand spankin’ new route on Day 3
  • Experiencing the new Finish Line Festival at Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star

Aside from the route itself, there are so many wonderful places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that you can take advantage of if you arrive early or take a few days to stay after you complete your journey. Gayla and Liz recommend…

The Lone Star State has so much to offer, and our coaches know it’s going to be an amazing few days together.

“Savor the moments, every step, each interaction, all the 3-Day love you feel,” says Gina. “Because as the saying goes, ‘It’s the little moments that make life big.’”

But don’t forget to stop and give your coaches a hug 😊. They can’t wait to see you all!

 

A Note About Saturday:

Due to the recent tornadoes in the North Dallas area, we are making changes to the second half of Saturday’s route and do not have the route cards to share with you just yet. We will give you a route card at the Opening Ceremony with the latest route information and the map of your journey will be updated as soon as possible. Please be flexible with staff, crew and city jurisdictions and understand these changes are being made for the safety of our participants as well as out of respect for the communities where homes, businesses and property have been destroyed.

Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Route Preview

Lone Star State, we are coming for you! We are so excited to be heading to Dallas/Fort Worth next weekend. We know that Susan G. Komen’s home city is going to be out in full force to support us for this 60-mile walk. Event Planner Eileen Barnick has been preparing all year to make this coming weekend the best 3-Day possible, and she can’t wait to share the route and some new updates with all our participants.

We will begin at Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star, home of the Dallas Cowboy Headquarters, for the second year and Eileen says everyone should be pumped for a “high-energy celebration” to start our Friday!

“There will be a lot of oomph! It’s such an exciting place to show off the 3-Day spirit.”

After that, the excitement continues as the first five miles have SO much! It’s a great kick-off to the weekend that includes a walk down Star Boulevard (the Star’s entertainment district) towards the Football Huddle sculpture. Once we leave The Star the walkers will enter the beautiful Hall Park, Frisco’s office park, home to many land and water sculptures. Photo ops will abound! From there, we are on to Frisco Central Park where you can take pictures with the bronze cowboys and a herd of stampeding cattle.

Eileen is also pumped to be able to walk through the Dr Pepper Ballpark, home field of the local Frisco RoughRiders, again this year. They’ll be pumping music and really getting the walkers excited. It’s a really fun atmosphere and the whole Dallas/Fort Worth local team is so happy to be able to return there again.

Other Day One highlights include Plano and the corporate headquarters of many large companies including Bank of America, as well as a beautiful trail walk through Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. We will have a leisurely lunch at Timberglen Park in Dallas and visit the beautiful suburbs of Carrollton and Addison on our way back to camp at Brookhaven College. So much, all in the first day!

Eileen notes that Friday is the longest day, but it’s still the same length as it was last year. Saturday and Sunday are shorter so walkers get the longest day over first, and Eileen promises that even though it’s long, Friday will be loads of fun.

“There’s nothing not to love about Day One. We didn’t change any of the route because people loved it so much. We can’t wait!”

And then comes Day Two, which has large parts of brand-new route. Saturday starts with a short bus ride to Trinity Groves at the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge. As walkers cross the bridge, they will enjoy beautiful morning views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and downtown Dallas. The pedestrian bridge also has all kinds of fun details and games you can play as you cross. Just make sure to stop and take in the lovely skyline views!

From the bridge we will head into downtown past many famous landmarks, including The Grassy Knoll, Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza. These are such important, iconic parts of Dallas history.

Walkers will continue to enjoy their morning on the popular and picturesque Katy Trail, as they head towards the beautiful towns of Highland and University Parks. These two historic towns feature some of the most beautiful scenery and architecture of the weekend. From the gorgeous homes to the relaxing parks, our walkers will really enjoy this section of the route.

We have a new lunch spot for our halfway celebration at Curtis Park in University Park, and after lunch we will wind through the neighborhoods and business districts of Dallas as we reach the City of Farmers Branch and a fun evening at camp at Brookhaven College.

Eileen says, “We’re spicing up what people have come to expect from Day Two! It’s an extra punch of fun in the weekend!”

Day Three is also brand new and will introduce walkers to two suburbs we’ve never walked in before: Allen and McKinney.

“We will be able to enjoy the trail systems there,” Eileen enthuses. “We always get requests for more time on the trails, and we really tried to accommodate that request for this year.”

The day begins with another short bus ride to Allen at Watters Creek. Through Allen, walkers will be treated to both beautiful neighborhoods and relaxing trails.

Having two bus rides in the weekend allows us to have a different Day Three route from Day One, even though we are ending where we began, back at the Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star.

As we return to the Star, we will walk through a different part of Frisco than we walked in on Friday morning so the views will be all new and exciting.

Then we will end with a bang at Tostitos Championship Plaza at Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star! Eileen is especially excited about this new location for our Finish Line Festival and Closing Ceremony.

“Since we will be walking through Cowboys country on Sunday during football season, there will be a lot of people in the area and it will be a nice large welcome! We expect to have a lot of community support around there!”

Overall, Eileen says everyone will have a lot to look forward to next weekend.

“Three very amazing days await! We are so excited to show new parts of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and be able to add more trails to the walk as well. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

We’ll see you all soon!

A Note About Saturday’s Route

Due to the recent tornadoes in the North Dallas area, we are making changes to the second half of Saturday’s route and do not have the route cards to share with you just yet. We will give you a route card at the Opening Ceremony with the latest route information and the map of your journey will be updated as soon as possible. Please be flexible with staff, crew and city jurisdictions and understand these changes are being made for the safety of our participants as well as out of respect for the communities where homes, businesses and property have been destroyed.