Why I Walk: Amber B. from the San Diego 3-Day

You may have heard about some magical traveling pants on the big screen, but the group you really should get to know is ‟The Sisterhood of the Traveling Boobs,” including Amber B. She has been participating in the 3-Day since 2003 and finished her 16th 3-Day in San Diego this fall. Since her first walk, her mom, aunt, and friends have joined her on and off throughout the years. But Amber participates no matter what!

It has become her passion, and she loves putting the work into her training and fundraising to make every year better than the last. That includes her plans for 2020 and continuing to recruit new team members to her cause. She will continue to walk until a cure is found. She’s sharing some of that passion with us by sharing her story, and her best tips for newcomers.

How have your 3-Day experiences changed over the last 16 events?

I’ve participated 12 times in Dallas/Fort Worth and 4 times in San Diego.

I slept in the pink tents at camp for the first 12 years and really enjoyed that. I’ve walked through 100-degree heat and rain. I’ve done it all!

Overall, the camaraderie and organization has been amazing over the years. I was a part of the Camp Services Crew in 2009 as a first-time crew member. I really enjoyed it, but quickly figured out my passion was walking.

In the summer of 2016, I was in an accident and broke my neck and sternum. My overall goal was to heal well enough to attend the San Diego 3-Day in November because I had already raised my money. I talked the doctor into taking my halo off on Tuesday so that I could fly to San Diego on Thursday for the event. I had to wear a collar 24/7 for several months but I got the approval to travel (see photo above). I met some wonderful walkers on the flight who were supportive and checked in on me throughout the weekend. I ended up walking 21 miles that weekend, even though most of it was a mile here and a mile there. It was just so wonderful to actually be ‟normal” for the first time in months and knowing I had made a difference, even in my condition, was so good for my soul. As taxing as this event can be on the body, knowing what I was doing for others is what got me through. After that year, I spoke with a couple of ladies I went to high school with, 20-25 years or so ago (but who’s counting) and they decided to join me the next year in San Diego. I got them hooked as well and they’ve been with me ever since! Each year my team averages 2-10 people, and we’re all connected in some way.

What are a few of your top training tips? 

I do have to say that just walking and getting in shape overall was the best advice I received. Starting early and getting some good socks and shoes is also key. Use the new mobile iPhone training app, too! I used it last year and it was really helpful! Plus, the year-round training walks are always fun and a great way to get to know other walkers.

How about any fundraising ideas?

I’m lucky to have a small group of people who donate to me every year. I worry I annoy people because I’ve been asking for donations for 16 years, but people are still so generous!

As a team, we do a lot of events, restaurant fundraisers and football pots. I’ve had bake sales during the lunch hour for the last several years at my office that are also extremely successful. This year, we’re going to have a tailgate fundraiser at a Ranger game and we’re thinking about having a concert or golf tournament as well.

No matter what, just ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. So, write letters, email or ask in person. You’ll be surprised at the responses. The worst they can say is no!

What was it like in San Diego this year?

I had a team of six this year, including my aunt who is a 14-year walker and my mom, who walked with me for the first time in 10 years. So, it was wonderful! The weather was beautiful, the community was fantastic, and the support was amazing

I loved the route as well! I liked the changes that were implemented this year and crossing that final bridge on Day 3 was really beautiful.

What are your plans for 2020?

I’ve already signed up for San Diego next year! Plus, I’ve already talked to a couple of people who may walk with me. When they asked me why I walk, I told them it’s not only for the obvious reason — that one of these days we WILL find a cure for breast cancer — but that it’s also good for our mental health.

For three days we’re all the same and the love we share with hundreds of total strangers, plus the community, is unheard of. It may be physically difficult, but it’s mentally rewarding and refreshing.

Why should everyone #Commit3Days and walk the 3-Day?

First, I know we will ultimately find a cure for breast cancer and give people a chance to prolong their life with the clinical trials and medical treatment they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Also, the event itself is life changing. For three days, everyone is the same religion, same sex, same size, same color, same everything. For three days the world’s regular problems are gone, and your heart is filled with hope and love. Yes, there is a possibility you’ll be so sore you can hardly lift your legs to step up onto a curb on Monday, and you may have blisters between your toes or lose toenails, but for three straight days your heart is filled with love.

Where else can you go to see a little boy standing on the side of the road with a sign that says, ‟Thank you for walking for my mom,” or a 25 year old woman holding a sign that says, ‟What you’re doing saved my life”? Random strangers thank you for walking and offer you food and drinks just because you’re doing something nice for a wonderful cause. Businesses decorate their exteriors in pink and offer discounts to participants. I can honestly say in the last 15 years I have never come across an unkind person. It makes you believe in the world again, and in this day and age, this is definitely needed.

Join Amber on the 3-Day in 2020 by registering to join us now at The3Day.org! Right now, through the end of January, we are offering $20 off registrations, no code needed! We can’t wait to reunite with all of you on the 3-Day next year.