July Pink Bubble Story of the Month — Emily W. 

Year in and year out, the Pink Bubble takes over cities from coast to coast, forming a sea of pink wigs, bras, smiles, and hope. Everyone gathers with the same goal— to raise funds in the fight against breast cancer. Amid the army of pink comradery, however, are thousands of individuals with unique stories depicting why they decided to commit to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Today, we get to share with you the story of Emily W., a member of the Komen 3-Day Advisory Council who is taking on all five 3-Day walks this year Emily first learned about the 3-Day in 2017 while reading Nancy Brinker’s book Promise Me, which depicts the true story of Nancy’s commitment to her sister Susan G. Komen to lift the stigmatized silence that surrounded breast cancer. “I recall listening to a story about a mother and daughter walking in San Diego after the mother’s fight with breast cancer,” Emily commented. “I thought walking in honor of my mother-in-law Lori would be a great way to show my support for her survivorship.” With her motivation clear, Emily went on to walk her first 3-Day in Michigan that same year. She arrived as a solo walker but quickly met her current team at the Opening Ceremony, recalling that she “did not spend a moment alone the rest of the weekend!” From that moment on, Emily was a member of the Pink Bubble for the long haul. The next year, she walked with her new team, the BC Babes, in Michigan where her mother-in-law Lori and Lori’s daughter, Heather, walked by her side. In 2019, Emily walked again in Michigan with her best friend Rachelle, now a triple-negative breast cancer survivor! In 2021, Emily herself received a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. However, this only motivated her to push further in her advocacy and participate in 3-Day Nation that same year. She went on to receive 16 rounds of chemotherapy treatment, a double mastectomy, 33 radiation treatments, and two explant surgeries due to breast implant illness. In 2022, Emily continued walking, where she fiercely took on the 3-Day in both Chicago and San Diego, for a total of 120 miles completed as a breast cancer survivor. 

 As she awaits her final reconstructive surgery, Emily looks forward to walking in all five 3-Day events in 2023. “I didn’t know how to limit my passion for finding a cure, so I decided to take on the ultimate challenge,” she declared. Joining her will be her daughter Ava, a member of the Youth Corps in both Chicago and Dallas, as well as her friends and teammates, first-time walkers Rachel (San Diego) and Katie (Dallas), and two-time walkers Mary Beth (Dallas) and Kodi (Denver). 

In addition to walking 300 miles across five cities this year, Emily serves as a member of the Advisory Council to ensure her voice is heard during important exchanges regarding the future of the 3-Day. As the needs of breast cancer patients change, she says it is crucial that survivors and advocates of breast cancer be on the forefront of these conversations. As a member of the Advisory Council, Emily attends virtual meetings each month to discuss 3-Day planning, fundraising challenges, and how we can all ensure the 3-Day is the best it can be. 

When asked about the fundraising portion of the 3-Day, Emily emphasized the groundbreaking research being done every day by Susan G. Komen, and how each dollar raised contributes to life-changing clinical trials. She even shared a story of the time she met a man whose father’s lung cancer was treated by a trial drug funded by Susan G. Komen breast cancer research. For anyone who is interested in joining the 3-Day, Emily provided us with some words of encouragement and wisdom. “You will meet humans like no one else on earth. You will hear stories of grief and stories of victory. You will share your why and hear the why’s of others. And it’s okay if your why is, ‘I’m not sure why.’” She acknowledged that there is time away from work and family, that raising $2,300 can be a challenge, and that walking 60 miles is a lot, but that breast cancer is harder. “And if you’re not signing up because you are not sure you can walk 60 miles, sign up! It’s supposed to be a challenge.” Now is as good a time as any to get started! 

Finally, Emily shared with us an insightful description of the Pink Bubble. “Are we a whole bunch of people dressed in pink dancing down the street? Heck yes! But we are also passionate, hardworking, far-walking, money-raising cancer crushers!” With her courage and tenacity, Emily truly embodies what it means to be a 3-Dayer. Whether you are like Emily in 2017, walking your first 3-Day just to do some good in the world, or if you’re a breast cancer survivor like Emily today, the Pink Bubble always welcomes you with open arms. And remember to say hi to Emily if you see her walking this year in New England, Denver, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, or San Diego!  

See previous Pink Bubble Story of the Month blog posts here.