As Kathryn D. was preparing for her fifth Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, she heard the words no sister wants to hear: your brother has cancer. In an effort to do something special with her brother Matthew, she took to the skies and jumped out of an airplane with him. “He’s an intensive care nurse, and while six years younger than me, he has always been an inspiration. I would never have let myself get tossed out of an airplane if it wasn’t for him.” Kathryn details her experience with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® and being on Team Ecccentricia, why she wore her 3-Day victory shirt on the dive and how jumping out of a plane is not as scary as cancer.
What is your connection to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day?
I first learned about the 3-Day in 2008 when my sister participated. Then my best friend, my cousin Cheryl died of breast cancer in 2011. It got personal. In 2012, my sister and I did the 3-Day for Cheryl. Since then, I’ve been proud to participate in 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Seattle. San Diego 2021 will be my fifth walk.
What is team Ecccentricia?
Ecccentricia is the name of a character from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Among her other attributes, she also had three breasts. My sister chose the name for her first walk. Her T-shirt read ‟However many you have, we’ll walk for ’em.” She hasn’t been able to participate since 2012, but I’ve kept the name alive. There have been as many as six of us over the years, but this year Ecccentricia is a team of one.
Why did you go skydiving?
I went skydiving because my brother was recently diagnosed with cancer. He will almost certainly live. He has gone skydiving once before and has wanted to go again ever since. He said if I’d try it, he’d come with me. I wanted to give him this gift. I wanted to find out if there was anything more terrifying than being told your best beloved has cancer. Answer: If there is, freefall isn’t it. Freefall ended after 60 seconds. Cancer is a lifetime.
Why did you choose to wear your 3-Day Victory shirt on this adventure?
I wore the Victory shirt because it reminds me that I can do hard things. I confronted real terror being pushed out of that airplane. When I landed, I was happy to be wearing that shirt. I can conquer difficulty in my life. I can overcome fear. I can make a difference.
What are you most looking forward to for this year’s event?
What I’m most looking forward to is the silliest thing ever! I’m looking forward to the Cupid Shuffle with a lot of happy, sweating, exhausted people! Even on day 3 we can still dance!
Kathryn D. will be walking the 2021 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in San Diego this November. Have you ever worn your 3-Day victory shirt on an adventure? We want to know! Leave a picture and your story in the comments section.