Being A First-Time Walker and Fundraising Success – The Story of Felice A.

In 2018, Felice A. received news no daughter ever wants to hear – “Your mom has metastatic breast cancer.” As many of us know all too well, the experience of watching a loved one battle breast cancer inspired her to sign up for her first Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in 2019. Due to personal circumstances, she deferred her plans to 2020, which was then postponed to 2021 because of the pandemic. November 2021 will be her first time walking the 3-Day in honor of her mom, who passed away in November of 2020.  

Have you participated in the 3-Day before? 

No, not this one. My mom and I did the Avon 2-day walk in 2014 in San Francisco. The San Diego 2021 3-Day will be my first. 

Are you walking alone, with a friend or with a team? 

Walking alone — but the Susan G. Komen community has been incredibly warm and welcoming.  I’ve recently met a walking coach local to my area and a group of people who are also walking.  So, while I’m walking alone, I definitely don’t feel alone. 

We’ve noticed you’ve raised over $10,000 since June. How are you fundraising? 

I sent both personalized emails through my 3-Day Participant Center and I posted the fundraiser on Facebook. I have also asked for sponsors — I’m planning to create a T-shirt and will include the company logo on it as part of the sponsorship. 

What have been the most successful fundraising tactics for you? 

My personalized emails have been the best. I know personalization takes extra work, but I send one email at a time with a note directed to that person. I then copy the general message below. That honestly got a ton of responses. Instead of sending from the app as a “form” email, I think people appreciate the direct reach out. Given the times we’re in with COVID still among us, I’ve also been very careful to say, “anything is welcomed and appreciated, including well wishes and cheers from the sidelines.” I don’t want people to feel obligated to donate, especially if, for whatever reason, they can’t afford to. It’s hard asking for donations normally, but even harder in these crazy times. So, I think it’s important to let people off the hook and not make them feel obligated, and it makes it easier to ask by approaching it this way. I did the same for the “sponsors” that have donated $500. I didn’t ask for a specific amount, but I let each person know that if they were open to sponsorship, I would put their logo on a shirt for when I go on training walks and for the 3-Day to acknowledge the generosity and commitment of a larger donation. A couple people even asked if they could have a shirt! Some have also read my story on my personal fundraising page, which I believe really struck a chord because everyone knew how close my mom and I were. She passed away November 29, 2020. My mom was beloved by a lot of people. 

What advice would you give to someone whose loved one has just received a diagnosis? 

To those whose loved one just received a diagnosis: Hearing the news is like an out of body experience — and takes time to process — and it’s ok if you never really come 100% to terms with it. What’s important is to stay positive for your loved one, and express, both through words and through your actions, your love for that person in meaningful ways. Simply just being present and there so they know they’re not alone can help ease the anxiety you’re both going through. 


What are you looking to gain from this experience? 

I want to do this — walk and raise money — to honor my mom’s life and legacy; she is my inspiration and my motivation. 

Signing up to walk 60 miles in three days may seem intimidating, but not as hard as fighting breast cancer. The fact is, most of us have a story similar to Felice; we ourselves, or someone we know has either lost a loved one or knows someone who is fighting for their life. What we do to fight back makes a difference, and that’s why we walk. Share your story about why you walk with us in the comments.