Honoring Native American Heritage Month with 3-Day Walker Tweet B. 

November is federally recognized as National Native American Heritage Month to honor and celebrate the rich cultures, traditions, history, and societal contributions of American Indian and Alaska Natives. This lends us the opportunity to become more educated about Native Americans and increase our knowledge of unique challenges faced by this population, including health inequities. Breast cancer does not affect all women the same and at Susan G. Komen, we believe these inequities must end. We’re striving to make this the moment that changes everything. 

We connected with 12-time 3-Day walker Tweet B., a Dine’ woman from the Navajo Nation who walks on Mother Earth. Her heritage, culture, beliefs, and language are core to who she is both on and off the 3-Day route. Throughout all avenues of her life, Tweet has learned to live in two worlds; the Dine’ world, and the “white man” world. From her job to her family, and her friends to her faith, she carries aspects of both worlds in all her thoughts and all that she does. “I was Dine’ (Navajo) before I became American,” she shared. 

At the 2023 Denver 3-Day, Tweet shared her reason for walking with a speech at the Opening Ceremony. She began by speaking her native Navajo language, which caused the room to fall silent as she honored her ancestors in such a powerful way. She shared her story as to why she walks in honor of her grandmother, BFF, and “sole” sister who have all lost their lives to cancer. Her commitment to finding the cures began in 1995 when her beloved grandmother Jean passed away, and was amplified when her BFF, Kathleen, passed in 2006. Most recently, a fellow 3-Day walker and “sole” sister died, hitting her hard and deeply. 

For all 12 3-Day walks that she’s participated in, Tweet’s immediate family and friends have supported her either in person or through generous donations. She loves seeing her personal cheerleaders along the trail, including her husband and two sons who have grown to love the color pink. However, her biggest source of inspiration at each walk is her 84-year-old mother, MaryAnn, who keeps Grandma Jean’s memory alive. We met with Tweet’s mother on the route this year who spoke to us about the importance of their culture. As we parted ways, MaryAnn bid us Hágoónee, a Navajo farewell which roughly translates to “see you later” since they believe that we will all meet again.  

Tweet tries to make trips back to the motherland whenever possible in order to smell the inside of a hogan (a traditional Navajo home), see the landscape, eat the food, hear the language, and get whisked away by the music. “I wish the world would understand our existence in the world,” she opened up to us. “We have always been here, we never left. The indigenous people are more than the history books and what Hollywood portrays us to be. We are people who live simply yet are abundant with culture. We have heroes, we have goals, we have dreams.” 

In all her experience on 12 3-Days, Tweet can only remember seeing two other Native women on the pink trail. One was a walker who she never had the opportunity to meet and the other was a survivor, cheering on the walkers. “I often wonder why there are not more Native women on these walks,” she shared with us.  

Tweet went on to share that many Dine’ who are diagnosed with breast cancer are usually in the later stages of the disease, likely because they are less educated about the signs of early detection. In fact, in 2021 (most recent data available, though data were limited), American Indian women and Alaska Native women had lower rates of breast cancer screening compared to other women [162]. Tweet also noticed that many people from her culture must travel far distances to medical centers which are located off the reservation, therefore, time and money are obstacles to screening and treatment.  

Susan G. Komen found that among women ages 50–74, only 59% of American Indian and Alaska Native women had a mammogram in the past two years compared to 82% of Black women and 76% of white women [162]. One reason for these differences in screening rates may be access to care. American Indian and Alaska Native women tend to live in areas that require traveling a long distance to get health care, including screening mammography [137]. “I would love to see an SGK mammogram trailer on the reservation somewhere, scheduling appointments for free. Early detection can save lives!” Tweet shared. 

Since breast cancer is the most common cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native women [155], Tweet hopes to pass on her teachings, her culture, her being, and her strength to her two sons and to increase care to those in her community. She hopes that her legacy is strong and pink.  

“I am a Dine’ woman who walks on Mother Earth. I will honor my ancestors who walked before me. I will continue to learn, to teach, to speak, to listen, to grow, to give and to love. My grandmother’s legacy lives within me. She is why I am a pink warrior.” —Tweet B. 

To learn more about the racial and ethnic disparities in breast cancer outcomes and Susan G. Komen’s mission to lessen the gaps, visit https://www.komen.org/about-komen/our-impact/breast-cancer/health-equities-initiative/   

Debby R. is the 2023 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Milestone Award Winner! 

After 10 years and 26 3-Days, Debby R. has raised a lifetime total of more than $65,000 to help find the cures to breast cancer. Affectionately known as Mama Bear by her team Angels for the Cure, Debby is one of the most creative fundraisers that the Pink Bubble has ever seen. Her beloved teammate Bill W. shared that “It does not matter if you are on another team, you can train or fundraise with Angels for a Cure!” She fundraises with car washes, Sonic car hopping, Dippin’ Dots, Muddin’, Rednecks with Paychecks and beyond, always coming up with fun ways to help everyone achieve their fundraising goals. “I was always in awe and sometimes jealous of the ideas and ways she came up with to raise money… she is there to win this fight and to help anyone who needs help to get their money raised,” boasted her friends Donna W. and Sharon R.  

Get to know Debby a bit better as we honor her as our 2023 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Milestone Award Winner! 

What was your inspiration to participate in your first 3-Day?    

My mom was first diagnosed [with breast cancer] in 2002 and started her treatments in 2003. I heard radio advertisements about the 3-Day for a couple of years, but I was first scared away in 2005 when the Dallas/Fort Worth event was in June and I had a 6-month-old. Then in 2006, I was scared away because I was intimidated by the fundraising goal. At the beginning of 2007, my mom sent me an email (an email, really???) to let me know her cancer was back and had metastasized to her lungs. I knew then I couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore, so I went to an info meeting and signed up for my very first event! 

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?  

Like so many others before and more to come, I was terrified that first year that I wouldn’t be able to walk all 60 miles. I waited until the last minute before making the decision to sign up again, but being in the Pink Bubble for three days, meeting new friends and hearing their stories, passing through the cheer stations, getting hugs from a stranger as a thanks for helping to save his wife’s life, how could anyone walk away from all of this? The first walk was for my mom, but every walk afterwards has been for my future, my daughter, my nieces, my sisters, my friends, my Pink Bubble family, and for the next person diagnosed, to give a glimmer of hope for a future.  

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?   

I come up with a lot of ideas and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I just keep trying and stick with what works well for me and my team. 

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?   

Train and fundraise with a team. It could be your team or join an existing one, but when you train and fundraise with others, it’s a better experience. 

What’s a fun fact about you?  

One time at band camp… yes, I was in band. I was on the flag corps and drill team while in high school for football and concert season. I played the auxiliary percussion instruments (cymbals, bass drum, triangle, bells, xylophone) because I could count and couldn’t read music… LOL 

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?   

You are never alone on the 3-Day. We are all on the same team to eradicate breast cancer. 

Explore the Coastal Route Before the San Diego 3-Day!

Year after year, the 3-Day returns to San Diego where the sun shines as bright as the Pink Bubble, and the community support is all-encompassing. It’s a place where sunny skies meet sandy shores, and the ocean breeze carries the promise of adventure with each step. As you soak it all in, find yourself in the best of San Diego’s seaside splendor as we walk through some of the city’s most iconic and breathtaking locations. From Del Mar to Old Town, this journey promises to be a memorable exploration of Southern California’s coastal paradise.  

Day 1 

Our journey begins in Del Mar, a charming coastal city known for its pristine beaches and upscale ambiance. Start your day with a stroll along the coastline as you soak in the mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll find yourself enchanted by the soothing sound of the waves and the warm embrace of the sun.  

The real highlight of Day 1 awaits you at the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve, a state park boasting rugged cliffs, diverse plant life, and stunning ocean vistas. Though a challenging terrain, the sea of cheering supporters will help you reach the top of the hill! As you hike the trails, keep an eye out for the rare Torrey pine trees, which can only be found here and on Santa Rosa Island. As you venture further south, you’ll arrive in the picturesque town of La Jolla. Here, you can explore the vibrant village that is adorned with boutique shopping and delectable local seafood restaurants. Next, make your way to La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove. These spots are famous for their crystal-clear waters, making them ideal for taking in the natural beauty of the sea. 

Day 2 

Day 2 is filled with beach vibes and ocean bliss as we continue our journey south, starting with the breathtaking Sunset Cliffs National Park. The name says it all — this spot is renowned for its stunning sunset views, making it the perfect place to breathe in the ocean air. Venture toward Smiley Lagoon, a serene coastal inlet that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle before heading toward South Mission Beach Boardwalk. This vibrant area is perfect for people-watching, beachcombing, and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of a classic California beach town. 

Head toward Muscle Beach, known for its outdoor fitness equipment and exercise enthusiasts, making it an entertaining place to visit and watch others showcase their strength and skills. Even if you’re not into working out, the strength of those working out emulates the strength possessed by each 3-Dayer. Inspired and strong, wrap up 40 miles as you return to camp for the Honor Ceremony.  

Day 3 

Our final day of exploration welcomes a visit to Belmont Park, a historic amusement park that’s been entertaining visitors since 1925. It offers a peek into the 20th century and is home to the iconic Giant Dipper roller coaster. Feel an adrenaline rush as you stroll past and snap a picture on the historic beachfront boardwalk. Next, venture to Bonita Cove, a tranquil bay area with stunning views of Mission Bay that is perfect for a leisurely stroll. It’s a tranquil and relatively secluded spot compared to some of the more bustling areas in Mission Bay Park, making it a great place to reflect on your reason for walking the 3-Day. 

History buffs will appreciate the visit to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, where you can step back in time and learn about the role of the Mormon Battalion in San Diego’s development. From here, our journey boasts a visit to the Old Town Viewpoint, offering panoramic views of San Diego’s historic heart. Here, you’ll gain a new perspective on the city’s evolution and maybe even reflect on your own evolution over the past three days. Lastly, don’t forget to explore the vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood of Little Italy before the Finish Line Festival. 

San Diego’s coastal cities and attractions offer a diverse range of experiences, from natural wonders to commemorated sites and vibrant neighborhoods. The 3-Day takes you on a memorable journey through the heart of San Diego, allowing you to immerse yourself in its unique blend of maritime beauty and urban charm. So, lace up your walking shoes, embrace the ocean breeze, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in America’s Finest City.