Kick-Off Survivor Speaker Elke Franklin

We had such an amazing time with our 3-Day family at the 2021 New England 3-Day Virtual Kick-Off on August 15th. One big reason was getting to hear from a couple of our inspiring 3-Day walkers. Elke Franklin spoke at our celebration gathering and had all of us tearing up. If you didn’t get a chance to hear her speak, here is her story, in her own words.NE_Elke

Why did I choose to walk the 2020 New England 3-Day? I was finally ready…

In July of 2015 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I was 37 years old, had a 1 year-old and a 4 year-old, worked full-time, as did my husband. By mid-August I was starting the first of 16 rounds of chemo (which given a few complications took closer to 24 weeks to complete) and facing a bi-lateral mastectomy after that. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t be totally independent. I had to rely on the doctors to take care of me and my wonderful support system of friends and family to help see me through it.NE_Elke Treatment

Luckily by the next spring, I was finished with treatment and I was ready to give back. However, I underestimated the physical toll the treatment took on me. So I let my body heal. Going into the next year, I felt physically strong again, but emotionally I was a giant mess. Luckily, the hospital had awesome social workers and therapists to assist. I couldn’t figure out why I was always anxious, mad, or sad.

I did not mention this when I spoke at the kick-off because I would’ve seriously started crying, but I lost a friend to breast cancer in the fall of 2018. She was a survivor when I was diagnosed, but as I was recovering, her cancer recurred with a vengeance. So my biggest fear at the time was playing out in front of me.

I mentioned to my therapist about “maybe having PTSD or something.” He said, “Let’s think about it as ‘post-traumatic growth’ instead.” So I did. And I let myself feel my feelings and heal emotionally from the diagnosis and treatment. I still don’t know how my friends and family put up with me during that roller coaster.

Fast forward to the fall of 2019. One day, I just felt like “me” again. But a better version of me. So I registered for the 3-Day! I reached out to my girlfriends who saw me through treatment and the following years. Five of them signed up immediately to join my team and those who couldn’t make that sort of commitment made donations. It does feel like that support system came full circle within the last five years. So yes, the 2020 walk would’ve happened on the 5th anniversary of my start of chemo, but it was really more of a coincidence. It just took me that long to fully heal and commit.”

NE_Elke Family

We thank Elke for being so brave and sharing her story at the New England kick-off and again here for you all to read. We’re so inspired by her willingness to talk about one of the very real side-effects of a cancer diagnosis – how it impacts you emotionally. Thank you, Elke! We can’t wait to welcome you and your team to the 2021 New England 3-Day next August!

To hear more inspiring stories like this, you have three more chances by attending our kick-off activities. Our next virtual kick-off is on September 12. RSVP today.

Fundraising Challenge Winner Christine Jessen

As part of the 2021 New England 3-Day Virtual Kick-Off, we held a fundraising challenge during the week leading up to the Kick-Off, August 10-14. The 3-Dayer who got the greatest number of individual donations during the challenge period won an amazing 3-Day branded prize – a Birdie Box with headphones, a water bottle and a Bluetooth speaker. The winner was Christine Jessen, who received 22 donations in just those five days!birdie box square 1080

We wanted to know how she did it, and pass her advice and experience on to other 3-Day participants. So we asked her a few questions.


What is your history with the 3-Day?
I have been involved with Susan G. Komen 3-Day for three years. My first walk was in Philadelphia in 2018.  My second walk was New England in 2019 and I was part of the crew at the Philadelphia 3-Day in 2019. In 2020, I committed to crew New England and walk San Diego. However, due to the pandemic, I have committed to four 20-mile walks.

Why do you walk?
I walk as a breast cancer survivor!  I walk for my childhood friend Sharon, who continues to fight every damn day! I walk for those we lost, the other survivors and for the many women, men and families who have been affected by this horrible disease.

My connection to the cause came first when my friend Sharon was fundraising for her 3-Day in Florida years ago. Secondly, after my diagnosis with breast cancer, I knew there had to be something I could do to help end this disease. In 2018 it became very clear the path I needed to take when a friend of a friend, Molly, contacted me regarding the 3-Day.  It was that moment, I decided to walk my first 3-Day in Philadelphia. I was hooked!

What techniques did you use to raise 22 donations in just five days?
The only technique I know is to get your message out to the public. I developed a theme to my four 20-mile walks. I told my story. I set-up a Facebook Fundraiser.  I publicly acknowledge those who donated. And I updated my fundraising page on Facebook with my training and fundraising goals.

What are your top three fundraising tips for other 3-Day participants?

  • Get your message out to the public
  • Publicly knowledge your supporters
  • Keep your fundraising page on social media updated

How did you participate in the 2021 Susan G. Komen New England Virtual 3-Day?
I participated as a survivor and as walker! I did a brewery-to-brewery walk through four towns and two counties. I made sure I had a little part of the 3-Day with me. Nothing compares to what you accumulate at the various pit stops on the actual 3-Day, so I had Gatorade to drink, I had “Food Should Taste Good” sweet potato tortilla chips, grapes, a PB&J sandwich and I made the rice crispy treats! Funny how I did not eat a lot of what I packed but I squirreled it away just as I do when I’m in the Pink Bubble.

NE_Christine_3If you’re looking for further inspiration and ideas for your own fundraising efforts, here’s what Christine posted in her Facebook fundraiser:

The 2020 3-Day events have been postponed to next year due to lingering concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. So, this year I have committed to walking 20 miles one Saturday in August, September, October and November.

In honor of what would have been the 2020 Susan G. Komen kick-off event in Boston, I will walk 20 miles on Saturday, August 15. My kick-off event will begin with the challenge of walking 20 miles from Littleton, NH to Lancaster, NH. This will be a brewery-to-brewery walk. I will start at Schilling Beer Co. and end my 20-mile journey at the Copper Pig Brewery!

My journey in September will be a bakery-to-bakery walk. I will start at the Polish Princess Bakery located in Lancaster, NH and end at Crumb Bar located in Littleton, NH.

October’s journey will be a pizza-to-pizza walk! You guessed it, Littleton to Lancaster. I will start at Gold House Pizza and end at Scorpios Pizza and Sports Pub. November’s journey will be a café-to-café walk! I will start in Lancaster at The Granite Grind, ending my 20-mile journey at The InkWell Coffee & Teahouse.

I will walk as a survivor! I will walk for my lifelong friend Sharon, who continues to fight. I will walk for those we lost, the other survivors and for the many women, men and families that have been affected by this horrible disease.

My journey actually started on December 21, 2015 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. On January 25, 2016, the tumor was removed and the road to recovery and living cancer free began! With the loving support of my family and friends near and far, with radiation treatment behind me and ongoing medical support, I continue to be breast cancer free!

Please support me as I commit to this incredible challenge. It will be hard, but it’s not as hard as breast cancer. It’s not as hard as chemo. It’s not as hard as getting bad news at your latest scan. It’s not as hard as saying goodbye. And that’s why I know I have to do this. That’s why I commit. That’s why I’m walking and why I’m raising money to end breast cancer forever.


Thank you for sharing your fundraising tactics with us, Christine!

She is a great example for us all! During the evening celebration Zoom when Christine was notified live that she had won, we asked her what her secret was. She said, “I just kept posting and people kept donating.” We know these are strange times, but Christine and other 3-Day participants who are currently fundraising remind us every day that the simple act of asking people to support you in your fundraising efforts is what gets you your donations!