Love Letter to the 3-Day

Why do we participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day ®? Because we have an unfortunate connection that brings us together: we have been touched somehow by breast cancer. The silver lining is that out of that pain and struggle has arisen the community that is the Pink Bubble. Inside this Pink Bubble we support each other, we appreciate each other, and we love each other. This Valentine’s Day, we asked members of the Pink Bubble to write their own love letters to the Komen 3-Day. 

Every step together is an adventure, a journey towards the future of all who are fighting, will fight and have lost their fight against breast cancer. We walk together in love and hope for the future where this journey is no longer needed. —Shelly L. 

Dear 3-Day, we started dating in 2010 and I’ve never looked back on that decision! This year I’ll be doing my 21st 3-Day. Not only have we done some amazing things together in the fight against breast cancer, I’ve made so many lifelong friends along the way! My teams, Men With Heart and Friends With Heart have been incredible! Not to mention my two “Walk Wives” Cheryl and Jenn, who I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. My commitment to the 3-Day has certainly enriched my life more than I could have imagined when I started! Much Love, Frank M. 

Dear 3-Day, Thank you. You have lit a passion in me and inspired me to do more than I ever thought possible for not only a cause that has touched my family, friends and community, but for me personally as well. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”—Rikki Rogers. Love always and forever, Theresa E., 22-year cancer survivor. 

The 3-Day has given me the strength to stand up for others, see beyond my own problems and realize that we are stronger when we are joined together. I am more proud of myself when training and fundraising for the 3-Day than I am at any other time. —Liz P. 

Dear 3-Day, I never dreamed my love for you would grow into what it is today. Thank you for all you have brought to my life. When I feel like giving up, your love keeps me going. I look forward every day to our next time together. —Lia L. 

Dear 3-Day, thank you for giving me back a purpose to my life when I thought I lost all meaning. —Jennifer R. 

Dear 3-Day, they said I was crazy, we would never last. They didn’t believe me when I said you completed me. What do they know? —Sally P. 

To Susan G. Komen, with love:  

One of the greatest gifts I have ever received was to see that I was not alone in my grief, and that in my grief, I could make a difference. It is often said “we don’t remember days; we remember moments.” So it goes that I will always remember the love. I remember crying during the Opening Ceremony. An unexpected release of the sorrow I had held tight to when a stranger reached out to hold my hand in comfort and in unity, as so many around me remembered loved ones lost too soon or prayed for those still fighting for their lives. Tears dried, and courage was born. I won’t ever forget all the survivors fiercely determined to make the journey to make a difference, to not stop fighting, to never give up. 

Giving up is never an option. I will always remember the crew and their themed pit stops, lifting the spirits of the weary. Their goal is that all walkers’ needs are attended to, as they quenched our thirst and fed our bellies. They tended to our blisters and aching muscles, and still found the time and energy to entertain, bring smiles and laughter; a family outside of family. I could never forget all those who took care that we were safe. Police on bicycles slowing down to chat, checking in to see if we were okay. The kind and creative motorcyclists, embellishing their cycles with teddy bears, bras or flamingos. The safety crews who assured street crossings were as entertaining as they were trouble-free. The sweep vans artistically decked out with optimism that we can make it, “Go Walkers Go,” but there for us just in case we needed them.  

I still clearly remember the amazing support from communities big and small, offering home-baked goods at every corner. Families, cheerleaders and girl scouts clapping and shouting words of encouragement. There were dogs dressed in pink skirts, boys and grown men were wearing bras, pink wigs and fishnet stockings. There were signs that made us laugh, signs that made us reflect, and so many signs that said, “Thank you for walking!” There was a big guy in thigh-high white boots with six-inch heels, standing there handing out hugs and high fives. And I’ll never forget the small gray-haired woman standing on the sidewalk in front of her house, offering walkers to use her bathroom if they were tired of using porta-potties!  

I will most certainly never forget walking in on the last day of my first 3-Day as the “Tunnel of Love” loomed large in front of me: a greeting of hundreds of walkers standing shoulder to shoulder on both sides of the walkway, their hands held high in the air, clapping and cheering, welcoming us back as the music soared and my emotions shattered. Their congratulations and their thank yous, their screaming, “YOU DID IT!! WOOHOO WALKERS! WAY TO GO!” A hero’s welcome I will never forget, a moment I pay forward still.  

Mostly, I will always remember the love and the extraordinary people I met from all walks of life going through different but similar trials, losses and struggles. I remember the kindred spirit that arose from so many who know that we can’t quit, that we must keep fighting because every life matters and quitting is not an option. Mostly, I will always remember the love. Thank you, Susan G. Komen, for allowing me to see that I was not alone in my grief, for allowing me to be surrounded by so many good people filled with an abundance of love and kindness and a common cause to rid the world of breast cancer. Because of you, I will always remember the love. —Maureen W. 

The  3-Day® brings us together in so many ways with so much love in every step of the 60 miles. If you could write a love letter to the 3-Day, what would you say? Let us know in the comments.