60 miles. 50 states. 3 weekends. $3.3 million raised. After a long, challenging year apart, 3-Day participants came together for the first ever 3-Day Nation: a unique event that combined virtual interactive programs with in-person experiences, an intersection of technology and human connection.
It all started the morning of October 2 with a truly touching Opening Ceremony streamed live from YouTube to participants across the Nation as they interacted via chat. We heard from Paula Schneider, CEO and President of Susan G. Komen, Kim Hamstead, representing the 3-Day National Presenting Sponsor Bank of America, and had a roll call from walkers representing their home states. All 50 states plus Washington, D.C. were represented in 3-Day Nation.
As the first weekend of 3-Day Nation came and went, walkers embraced this unique experience. Kim K. who walked in Texas said, “I love that 3-Day Nation has allowed us to increase visibility and awareness across the country at the same time. The camaraderie has been an amazing reminder that we are in this together even when we aren’t together. You can absolutely make a difference wherever you are!”
And even though the journey this year was different, the Pink Bubble came together as always to make everyone feel connected.
First-time walker Carol D. from Oregon said “My 3-Day journey has been an interesting one due to COVID. I signed up for the first time in 2019 for the 2020 walk in Dallas/Fort Worth after losing my Mom to breast cancer in July of 2019. I signed up with an established group, but when everything got cancelled, I lost touch with the group I had signed up with, therefore recruiting my daughter to walk with me which has actually been a huge blessing. I would say the best part of my experience so far is seeing the connection and support of all the walkers, regardless of where they live.”
“Since I have never done a traditional walk, I am only experiencing this from the 3-Day social media pages, emails, etc., but that alone has been so awesome that I can’t imagine the feeling when we are all together in person. It is crazy how tragedy can touch so many hearts and yet manage to turn it into a way to bring healing, positivity, and hope to everyone. It truly does feel like a family with a common goal of helping each other, and doing our part to help find the cures, so future families don’t have to experience the heartbreak that breast cancer brings. I am grateful for this organization for so many reasons and look forward to doing an in person walk in the future. Thanks for all that Susan G. Komen does to make it happen every year!”
As weekend two arrived, we celebrated with the Bank of America Fundraising Champions Celebration highlighting top fundraisers, and then rolled right into the Halfway Celebration, which featured pictures walkers sent in throughout the first week, and videos of participants dancing to “Shake Your Groove Thing.”
But the excitement didn’t stop there! “Joining 3-Day Nation was the best decision I made this year! We are strong individually, but together we are unstoppable! I was able to embrace the Pink Bubble, get support and give support freely. It might not have been like previous years, but it was just what we needed! As long as my body doesn’t fail me, I will continue to fight against breast cancer with everything I have! I walked for my three sisters and two nieces that have had to deal with breast cancer,” said Maryjane M., who is participating in Massachusetts.
And it’s walkers like Lyndell W. who took the words straight from our mouth: “I chose 3-Day Nation because even with the global pandemic, I want people to know that breast cancer didn’t stop! It has become my passion to bring awareness and raise money in hopes of finding the cures. I want women to know how very important it is to get their annual mammograms. It literally saved the life of one of my favorite people, and I am so grateful. This year, I am walking 60 miles x2! I will continue on this journey because I made a promise.”
We kicked off the final weekend of 3-Day Nation with our Honor Ceremony, lighting a candle for those whom we commit to walk and crew. The Honor Ceremony reminds us why we walk and why we keep fighting. 3-Day Nation participant Jennifer S. highlighted this, saying, “I am a survivor, and my involvement with the 3-Day initially stemmed around showing cancer that it was not the boss of me. That was very short-lived. The thing is that this 3-Day family, the Pink Bubble, is so much bigger than any of us as individuals. I think it’s the power and the optimism of the 3-Day family that is so important to me, and I want to contribute to that and be a part of that. For three days it’s the world the way I would like to see it be.”
Following the Honor Ceremony, we were fortunate to have 3-Day Nation walker, singer-songwriter Riley Weston lead us into our National Campout with a concert performed from her own house, cozy fire and all, streamed live on Facebook. Participants from all over the country tuned in and posted photos of their pink tents in their living rooms and the 3-Day Mac & Cheese that they made at home.
On the final day of 3-Day Nation, we walked the last 10 miles together in one of two ways. Pop-Up walk locations all around the country had volunteer Pop-Up leaders, staff and crew welcoming walkers with route signs, food, and water. And many joined us on the Charge Running App for a 4-hour live event as our emcee Mark Stephens, Stephanie Myers from Susan G. Komen and the Charge coaches gave words of encouragement, updates on who had crossed the finish line, and hours of entertainment and games of “This or That.” Walkers shared stories and pictures in the app’s chat as they walked.
Connecticut Pop-Up leader Kate P. admitted, “When I first heard about 3-Day Nation, I was a little skeptical about how we would feel like we were still part of the Pink Bubble. After all, I walk about 60 miles a week in my town — how was I going to replicate the Pink Bubble when I am so familiar with my routes? But the staff did an amazing job in supporting us, and while we were a fairly small group (eight walkers plus Angel Bob), we felt like a part of something so much bigger.”
Many 3-Day walkers were positively surprised by the support they received during 3-Day Nation. Karen O. from our Ohio Pop-Up said, “The support we have felt from the Komen 3-Day family has been amazing. Even during our final 10-mile walk, two participants from the San Diego 3-Day showed up to support us. The entire experience has just been incredible.”
We finished things off with a Closing Ceremony, seeing pictures walkers had sent in over the last three weekends, celebrating the accomplishment that is walking 60 miles to find the cures for breast cancer. And while we laughed, cried, cheered each other up and cheered each other on, in the end we raised $3.3 million to help put an end to breast cancer! From walkers, crew, staff, sponsors and all of the donors out there, we made this happen amid a global pandemic. Thank you!
If you enjoyed your 3-Day experience and would like to do it all again, register here for any of our four in-person events in 2022!