Meet Your Michigan 3-Day Coaches

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Hey Michigan—are you ready? With just a little over two weeks to go, we’re preparing to give you the best 3-Day experience, which will be led by your amazing Michigan 3-Day coaches team. Get to know this rock star team who will be guiding your sixty miles of greatness!

Coach Gina Guerreso says she and her fellow coaches “are compassionate and dedicated with a little bit of spunk! Who doesn’t like a little spunk?”

We certainly do!

Especially when it comes in the form of Coach Gina, and her fellow Coaches Heather Snyder and Jennifer Hanskat.

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

Gina says, “Both Jennifer and Heather are so relatable as coaches. They pour their heart and sprinkle love into everything they do and ensure an incredible experience for our Michigan 3-Day participants.”

This dedication to the 3-Day began at different times and locations for all the ladies.

Heather says the 3-Day was “always something I wanted to do. Then, in the February of 2015, when a friend formed a team, I jumped on board. I started training ASAP and fundraising PDQ (that’s ‘Pretty Darn Quick’). I’m so glad I did! I completed all 60 miles with no injuries and raised $4500. After that, I was hooked!”

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Jennifer and her husband

Gina and Jennifer got hooked a few years earlier, Gina in 2004 and Jennifer in 2002. Then, in 2003, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she returned to the 3-Day in 2004. She has been walking and/or crewing since, joining our 3-Day staff in 2005. They make a key part of our Michigan 3-Day family! And they truly are a family.

“The love and support our 3-Day family gives to each other all year long is nothing to be taken lightly. We are a family, and like many families, we share the same values, passion and beliefs which propel us forward in our 3-Day journey,” Gina explained.

Heather, who is the newest member of the team, echoes that sentiment, saying, “Jennifer is a “get it done” personality. She will offer to help, take on extra tasks, and make it happen. Then Gina is always comforting, compassionate, and the soft touch on the team. But clearly she is a “can do” little spirit as she leads hundreds of crew and volunteers. I’m lucky to have been accepted into this awesome circle of women!”

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches pause and pose on event with other staff members.

What else propels them? All three coaches love music (Heather especially recommends “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit for your walking playlist), a good dance party or sing along, and bright colors! All three would love to have the superpower of flight, but Jennifer would also choose the power of invisibility or being able to “be able to heal, both physical wounds and emotional wounds.”

In her new home state of Michigan, Jennifer recommends stopping by The Library and Buddy’s Pizza. However, if you need a chocolate fix, she says you have to visit Twelve Oaks Mall and the Sanders store! All the coaches have serious Michigan pride, but still have some far-off destinations on their next vacation list.

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Jennifer and her husband when they finished the Philadelphia 3-Day in 2014.

Heather has Fiji and a future birthday spent in Italy on her list, while Jennifer wants to plan an extended visit to Australia. Gina has her eye on Europe, with Italy and Spain at the top of her list!

Before they can jet off though, they are working hard to have the Michigan 3-Day all ready for their tremendous walkers and crew! Stay tuned for more memories from the coaches this week on the blog, and be sure to follow along with them on Facebook too!

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

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

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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.

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“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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!