Meet the 3-Day Team: Gayla Cruikshank, Dallas/Fort Worth Coach

my family

You have seen her on the 3-Day Facebook Live videos, our Instagram feed, and those from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day know her face well, but it’s time to really get to know Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach Gayla Cruikshank.

She loves celebrating Taco Tuesday, spending time with her family (including husband of 28 years!), and is a constant supporter of all things 3-Day. This began more than a decade ago in 2005 when she first walked the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. Since then, she has been hooked.

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“Since 2005, I was either a walker or a volunteer crew member at the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, and started volunteering during the training season more and more. I loved the people who staffed the event, as well as the participants I walked with and helped all season as a volunteer and training walk leader. I craved to be a part of the organization at any level.”

Then, in 2013, she became a full-time member of the 3-Day staff, and now gets to work in the “powerful, inspiring, love-filled” 3-Day environment every day. This includes holding Get Started Meetings, leading training walks, working with walkers to help them reach their training and fundraising goals, as well as being a full-time cheerleader for anyone who needs her help.

This spirit especially comes in handy when recruiting and encouraging first-time walkers.

caboosing cheer station

“I encourage people to join the 3-Day by motivating them to try something that they’ve probably never done before. Fundraising for a cause that’s saving lives, training with passionate people driven to end breast cancer, hearing survivor stories and the thanks they share for your commitment—it all empowers a person to take on something bigger than themselves. It’s inspiring and life-changing.”

She also explains that, though the task can seem daunting at first, fundraising and training for the 3-Day isn’t something to be worried about, thanks to the help provided by team members like her.

“The coaches will share how to raise funds in a way that works with that individual’s personality. Whether you’re shy or outgoing, we have so many successful fundraising ideas that will surprise and encourage you to reach your goals sooner rather than later.

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“We also provide a gradual training schedule and you can walk as much or as little as you want. We have sweep vans to give you a lift on the route to a pit stop if you’re tired or even done for the day. Others say they can’t raise the money because they don’t know enough people to donate $2,300. You never know who will donate to you until you ASK. We have over 100 different ways to fundraise that have been tried and are successful. Coaches can also introduce you to a team that’s ready to welcome solo walkers and help reach those fundraising goals.”

All your hard work becomes worth it on event, where Gayla says she loves the community experience.

“You meet people, listen to their stories, eat with them, sleep in the neighboring tent, cry with them, laugh with them and build a bond that can literally last a lifetime.”

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Those bonds extend beyond the 3-Day walkers, and into the whole community, which Gayla says is one of the things she’s most excited about this year.

“I’m looking forward to a whole lot more community involvement along the sidewalks this year, as well as our new Closing Ceremony site. I’m asking everyone to mention the 3-Day to businesses and friends in hopes to get every sidewalk covered with spectators cheering on the walkers all three days until we enter the Participant Finishing Area in downtown Dallas!”

made it in the paper 2008

Go Gayla, go! If Gayla has motivated you to get out there and start training right now, she also has you covered on your walks! She shared some of her favorite work-out songs with us, as well as her top spots along the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day route.

Dance as you walk to:

walker stalkers while Darcy and I crewed

Keep an eye out for these Gayla-approved spots along the way though!

Our Coaches’ Favorite Photos

May is National Photography Month, and to celebrate, we had our coaches and team share their favorite photos of the 3-Day. From puppy love to rainy days to new friends and even whole families, the memories are all filled with all the fun and happiness of the 3-Day.

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Photo from Coach Gayla

Gayla, Dallas/Fort Worth Coach

This is a beautiful on from 2013 where a walker was greeted by her son home from the military.

Dallas Day 3

This shot with the AMG Team is from a stellar group of walker stalkers in 2013 when I was crewing (and sweeping) with my daughter, Darcy.

Adult mean girls

 

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Marianne Masterson, San Diego Coach

This is my all-time favorite picture of my team from last year.  This was shot at the start of Day 3, along the bay, as we were leaving camp. 


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Heather Snyder, Michigan Coach

I love this one of George Nummer! It’s also one that we gave to the producers of CBS Detroit who are doing a feature on him airing next Monday (make sure to tune in! More info on our Facebook page here) 😊 85 years young and will participate in his 38th and 39th event this season. Inspirational beyond words!

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Other than that, I love all the photos of emotional moments.

 

2008 3-Day Villanova

Joanne Taylor, Philadelphia Coach

This is from 2008 when our closing ceremony was still at Villanova University. My son, Mark (16 at the time) walked with us that year. So much fun!

 

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Alyssa Curran, Social Media Manager

I love this photo from 2015 Seattle. It captures the amazing vibrancy and beauty of our community doing everything they can to end breast cancer.

 

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Stephanie Mayer, Twin Cities Coach

Rainy Saturday! This photo just makes me laugh! This was Saturday of 2016 Twin Cities. Despite the rainy weather the 3-Day staff still managed to go with the flow and have a good time while making sure we took good care of our participants. Eileen and I provided personal shuttle services to our walkers from lunch to the entrance of a nearby school where they could eat and dry off.

Grace and AvaThese are my daughters Grace and Ava. I loved having them experience the 3-Day family for the first time in 2016. My oldest volunteered and my youngest served on the Twin Cities Youth Corp.

2016 flag

This was taken by our teammate Molly F. in 2016. It symbolizes everything the 3-Day and its participants stand for.

 

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Karen Odell, Atlanta Coach

These are photos I took from the 2009 3-Day!

Jen Hanskat

What are your favorite photos from the 3-Day? Send them to us on social media! Remember, you can always see some of our favorite photos in the Photos section of this blog, too!

 

Not to Miss 3-Day Cheering Stations

The 3-Day is sixty miles of fun, excitement, and friendship, all of which make a big difference in the fight against breast cancer. Part of that excitement though, doesn’t just come from our walkers. In addition to the camaraderie of teams and walkers and crew members all coming together, there are also cheering stations along the route to give an extra boost of energy.

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We asked our social media community, coaches, and the rest of our 3-Day team which cheering stations have given you an extra special boost! You all had your favorites from 3-Days past, and we highlighted some of them below:

Michigan 3-Day

Rebecca Fox on Facebook: The line of what seems like 100s of cheerleaders in Livonia on Day 3 in Michigan. Also, Plymouth on Day 2.

@amybray1 on Twitter: The Michigan 3-Day. Best cheering station is the hundreds of cheerleaders on Sunday morning. I get all choked up, every single time!!

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San Diego 3-Day

Marianne Masterson, San Diego Coach: In San Diego, my favorite is ‘Lilly the Golden’ the kissing dog!  She hangs out in her RV and walkers can approach the window and sweet Lilly will give them a little dog kiss. Lilly’s RV is called The Mothership and she is associated with the team Save Areola 51. The team has a large following and the RV can be found each day on route. The group started giving out stickers a couple of years ago because Lilly has become famous! Last year she had some special doggie friends helping her out as well.  It’s got to be tiring to have to give so many kisses, so I guess they had to call in some support!

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Michelle Anne Crago Buessing from Facebook: Team Michelle Lemonade stands in San Diego with the CUTEST kids!!

Alyssa, 3-Day Social Media  Manager: The “pickle people” have been providing pickles to walkers for about six years, now.

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“Pickles have potassium, they help leg cramps, and it helps prevent more cramps.

“We come out all three days and hand out pickles – they love ‘em!” said Bill, one of the head picklers. He got involved when his granddaughter started walking. He now passes out pickles every year along with his wife Kathleen, sons, daughters, and grandkids. They set up at the top of San Diego’s infamous San Juan Street Hill on Day 3.

South Street in Philly

Philadelphia 3-Day

Heather VanDyke from Facebook: Always a good year walking in Philly when you get to see the Determined Divas & Dawgs … music, high fives & big smiles exactly when you need them along the route (rain or shine) 💕

@phillywalker from Twitter: City Avenue on Day 2 in Philly outside the Chili’s, but the absolute best is Day 1 and the kids at the school about a mile in.

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Twin Cities 3-Day

Stephanie Mayer, Twin Cities Coach: The Drum Heart group you’ll find every year on Day 2 at beautiful Lake Josephine Park, right along Mile 10.

There are sure to be some great cheering stations, new and old, on the 2017 3-Days. While all these cheering stations might not be back for another year, we can guarantee that all walkers will feel the love and excitement from our supporters.

Which cheering station do you have great memories of? Tell us in the comments! Or, do you know somebody that wants to set up a private cheering station along the 3-Day route? Contact your local coaches today by calling 800-996-3DAY!