Hope you’re having a wonderful February 3-Day family! After kicking off this series in January with Riley W. sharing why she chose GRATEFUL, today we’re honored to introduce our second “Word of the Year” writer, Carolyn P. Carolyn, a 13-time walker who will be walking the Chicago 3-Day in 2021, selected “Generosity” as her 2021 word of the year.
Tell me about your 3-Day experience—how many/where have you walked/crewed?
I started Feet to Beat Breast Cancer with a small group in 2005. For each of the next 14 years, we built the team by encouraging friends and family members to join us for the Atlanta 3-Day. In 2019, we traveled to walk the San Diego 3-Day, and in 2021, our 40-member team will surpass our $1,000,000 fundraising milestone at the Chicago event!
What is your 2021 word of the year?
Why is that your word of the year?
2021 is a time when people everywhere desperately need generosity in all forms. To me, someone showing generosity is happy to give time, energy, money, food, forgiveness, respect or kindness to people who need it—without asking anything in return. The positive impact of generosity may be difficult to measure, but anyone who has been on either side of a generous act would agree that more of it would dramatically improve our world.
Why do you participate in the 3-Day?
The Feet to Beat Breast Cancer team motto speaks directly to why I participate. “In memory of loved ones lost; in honor of courageous survivors; in support of those fighting the battle; in hope for a future free from this disease. Side by side we walk, every stride, one step closer to a cure.” This plays out in our everyday life. I fondly remember two dear teammates who used to share the road with us, and I celebrate the survivor status of my mom, sister, and many dear friends. I am offering support to a family of a young mom with metastatic breast cancer, and I pray that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in the research.
What does the 3-Day family mean to you?
I was asked this recently, and the first word that came to mind was “home.” I stumbled onto the Susan G. Komen 3-Day just following the birth of my two boys. For the past 15 years, I have had the honor and good fortune of sharing the experience with a growing team of men and women I honestly can’t imagine my life without. While some members of this world-class group I knew outside the 3-Day, many I would never have met—what I would have missed out on! For those I did know, being part of this community has strengthened our relationship. As if I need icing on my already fabulous Pink-Bubble Cake, in 2021, I get to enjoy all of this with two sisters, my youngest son, two nieces, and one nephew. It goes without saying that 3-Day crew, staff, local volunteers, and host city create a positive and supportive environment. It truly feels like “home.”
How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day?
There’s a quote we use on our team page every year, and it expresses generosity perfectly. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” —Nelson Henderson. We may never know the full impact with an act of kindness on the 3-Day, how sharing our story might inspire a stranger, or learn the name of the young woman who will get a life-saving mammogram because of the money we raised. But that’s not why we do these things. We are generous. We are happy to give time, energy, money, respect or kindness to people who need it—without asking anything in return.
If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?
- Be present. Listen. Feel every emotion that comes up along the 3-Day journey.
- Be inclusive. Somebody along the way needs you. Be there. Don’t be afraid to reach out of your comfort zone.
- Be generous. Let the needs of others motivate you. Your generosity may just inspire others to give more of themselves, and there is something very satisfying about giving what you can to help someone else.
- Be appreciative. Appreciate your supporters. With all the demands on their hard-earned dollars, it is an honor to have their support. Appreciate your fellow walkers and crew, staff, local volunteers, and the cheering crowds. They are helping make this a life-changing experience.
- Have fun. Laugh at yourself, dance at the Pit Stops, wear a crazy costume, celebrate making it up that hill, high-five the police officers, relish that graham cracker PB&J, and find the joy of a porta-john (ok, that’s a stretch).
Carolyn, thanks so much for your generosity and for giving you whole heart to your 3-Day family. Keep living your chosen word of the year, and next month, we’ll introduce a new person and share their word, why they chose it, and learn about their Komen 3-Day journey along the way.
Other Word of the Year Blog Posts