2016 Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Wrap-up

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Friday morning, pink globes of light shone in the dark, illuminating a site where hundreds of people who have been touched by breast cancer began to gather. At Collin Creek Mall in Plano, as the sun rose in the sky, we heard touching stories from Honor Speakers, watched in admiration as survivors raised our flag, and were reminded by 3-Day Specialist Amber Livingston and Dr. Sheri Prentiss why our footsteps hold so much promise.

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Then, as the music pumped, we began our march towards a world without breast cancer. Our first Pit Stop was Mardis Bra themed, and as festooned crew handed out shiny beads, we stretched, munched on grahamwiches, filled up on sports drink, and then stopped for a quick play on the nearby playground. Just a few steps out of Pit Stop 1 were hundreds of children from Aldridge Elementary, lining the sidewalk eagerly giving out high fives and words of enthusiasm.2016_3day_df_gf_-70

Cheering stations lined the sidewalks at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Richardson, Texas, and then, at mile 7.3, the bridge at Cottonwood Park served as the perfect backdrop for selfies.

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The stride continued to our lunch stop and then Anderson Bonner Park, where we wrapped up the day with more photo opps with the fun, metal people at Churchill Park. Brookhaven College became our home away from home for the night, and this Farmer’s Branch campus was a sight in pink. After we welcomed in our last walker, we had a rollicking camp show, complete with a hilarious game from Bank of America, and a speech by Dr. Weibo Luo, who shared his personal reasons for being a breast cancer warrior. After that, we bundled up in our cozy pink tents, laying tired heads on pillows in preparation for an amazing day two.

The energy was contagious on the brisk morning of Day 2, and after stopping by Mardis Bra again at Pit Stop 1, we headed to Pit Stop 2, which was ‘Wizard of Bras’ complete with a rest spot with a miniature tornado, flying monkey, and wicked witch.

Cheering stations including Park Hill Junior High School and the 3-Day cheer corps lined the blocks of the city, waving pom poms as we paraded by. Our lunch spot was the Wild West at 10 miles, and walkers feasted on sandwiches and salads, powering up for what lay ahead including puppies! Just shortly after of our lunch spot were the Guide Dogs of America, with yellow labs and black labs in training eagerly awaiting pets from excited walkers. After seeing puppies, it was onward to Pit Stops 3 and 4 (with some Grab and Go’s in between), at the scenic Vitruvian Park (mile 18.7), leading into the Survivor Stretch, and then through a tunnel of Team Komen volunteers, all in matching pink and handing out goodies.

From this amazingly uplifting stretch of the route, it was into the closing miles for Day 2, with a drum corps beating cadence into the sky. We welcomed our last walkers against a beautiful blue and yellow sunset, celebrating being one day closer to the end of breast cancer. Then, we heard from Catherine Olivieri, VP of Human Resources at Susan G. Komen, who shared with us the reason that she works with Komen, after losing her own mother, a breast cancer survivor, three years ago. We then celebrated our top fundraising award winners and milestone and local impact award winner. The spirit of 150 3-Day celebrations was filled with joy, as crew passed out cupcakes, sparkling juice, and special 150th gifts. Family and friends lined the perimeters of the tent, and whoops of joy filled the air as we clapped and clapped and clapped, finally ending our night with an exuberant dance party kicked off by Youth Corps. Then, we went back to our pink tent city, laying our heads on our pillows, dreaming of a day we can say, the world is free forever from breast cancer.

Sunday began with a quick bus ride from camp at Brookhaven College to Curtis Park. We were impressed by the cheerful smiles on walkers’ faces, even though feet and legs were feeling pretty sore. Our Pit Stops had cold, freshly brewed sports drink and a smorgasbord of snacks, from fresh bananas and oranges to the ever popular grahamwich.

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At miles 8-10, the stunning neighborhoods of the historic West End kept our eyes busy, especially as some houses paid special tribute to our walkers with elaborate decorations.

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Around 13 miles, we walked by a momentously historic location, the spot where John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We walked through the Kennedy memorial at the Grassy Knoll on to the Mobil Red Pegasus, and a scenic park where bull statues are crashing through the park, stopping to take plenty of photos.

Our day ended with us walking through Fair Park and at the  Cotton Bowl, where the gray skies broke slightly to reveal patches of light. In our emotional Closing Ceremony, as survivors raised their hands together, and walkers and crew dried their eyes, Dr. Sheri and Amber shared that we raised more than $2.4 million. This was all thanks to the tireless fundraising and support from our 900 walkers and 300 crew.

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Dallas/Fort Worth, they say everything is bigger in Texas, and the passion we saw for ending breast cancer forever proved it. As walkers, crew, and spectators streamed out of Fair Park, a triple rainbow arched from our stage to the sky, saying in perfect harmony that the world knows that together we are now 60 miles closer to ending breast cancer forever.

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2016 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Award Winners and Honorees

Saturday evening’s camp show at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® is all about celebration: walkers celebrate completing an amazing 40 miles, crew members high-five over giving hours upon hours of service to their fellow 3-Dayers, and everyone celebrates each other. It’s true that every walker and crew member could rightfully be given a medal for their accomplishments, but since that isn’t really possible, we do like to take time at the end of Day 2 to recognize some walkers and crew members for outstanding achievements. We were pleased to award the following outstanding walkers, crew members and teams in Dallas/Fort Worth:

Top Individual Fundraiser

Our top fundraiser this year, Liz Fagan, raised an impressive $12,011 this season. In her three years with the 3-Day, she has raised over $17,000. Liz Fagan is an emergency room physician who won the EmCare Commitment to Care award, which is voted on by patients. You’re truly dedicated, Liz.

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Top Team Fundraiser

We’re thrilled to announce that Top Team Fundraising award winner is Pink Soles in Motion, who have raised an astonishing $150,000 this year, with 85 team members! In their amazing 11 years as a 3-Day team, they have raised $1,469,646. WOW!

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Top Crew Fundraiser

Our Top Crew Fundraiser this year is Pamella Whitham, who has participated in 13 events. In her time with the 3-Day, she has raised over $55,000 for Susan G. Komen. Pamella loves Paris and her home in Malibu, where she is a realtor. She loves time with her husband, children, garden, ducks, and chickens, and especially, her eight grandchildren. You’re a star, Pamella!

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Top Training Walk Leader: Mary Tengra

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Join us in congratulating Mary! Every year you’ll see Mary in a new outfit and hat on the event. She’s worn everything from a birthday cake to a sphere of pink Styrofoam cups on her head. Her talent and creativity keeps people searching for her outrageous outfits at Opening Ceremony every year. Mary is a 20-year breast cancer survivor; she has been a dedicated team captain of NO WALKER LEFT BEHIND since 2011 and welcomes new walkers to her team every year. She’s a no-nonsense leader telling new people, “be prepared to participate in group fundraiser and tell your family they’re going to be just fine without you while you’re out training with us.” Mary has a way of embracing walkers like family and as her team name reflects, there are NO WALKERS LEFT BEHIND. One of her teammates said: “I’ve been walking w/ Mary for 5 years and we have never gotten lost, turned around maybe, walked longer than we planned maybe, skipped a couple turns maybe but never lost….” Here’s what a few other teammates have said about Mary:

  • “When you say to Mary, ‘I thought we were not doing hills today!’ her response is, ‘this is not a hill it’s an incline.’”
  • “And finally when planning our 3-day décor, nothing for Mary is too big, too bright, too over-the-top, has too many feathers, has too much bling or is just way too uncomfortable.”
  • “Mary, we love you and Thanks for being more than a Captain; Thanks for being a true friend!”

Milestone Award and Local Impact Award

These two other special awards are presented to participants who stand out and shine extra brightly in a sky of very bright 3-Day stars. The Milestone Award is given at each event to one participant who has an extraordinary history of involvement with the 3-Day, and the Local Impact Award recognizes a participant in each 3-Day city who has been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day in their community throughout the year.

Milestone Award Recipient: Catrina Gibson

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Catrina has participated in 11 events and this year will make 12 & 13, being in Dallas/Forth Worth and San Diego. She has raised over $59,000 and leads the team Pink Soles in Motion. Her dedication to Komen and the memory of her beautiful mother who she lost in 2000 has given her the drive and determination to never give up when it comes to fundraising and recruiting walkers to join the fight. A verse that she lives by is: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9). Catrina, thank you for never giving up and coming back to raise money and walk for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day year after year. Here are some fun facts about Catrina:

    • When Catrina arrives to an early morning training walk and there’s a great song on the radio, you can catch her jamming in her car until it’s over.
    • She tortured herself for five days of Orange Theory Fitness workouts for a great looking t-shirt.
    • She has mastered removing the under layer of clothing while walking.

Teammate Sandy Sauceda said about Cat, “One of the best memories I have with Cat at the 3-day is when she convinced me to walk wearing our Cure Bear costumes.  This is not like me but I had so much fun.  She brings that out in people. We walked more together as a group that year and chanted and laughed so much!  She Inspires! She has been a TWL for 8 years and has lead most of our walks, especially the 18 miler (nobody is crazy about that) but she is always game.  She gets all going and makes sure that we have what we need (walker stalkers) to make it.  She is dedicated! She gives even when it is hard. Life gets crazy and being a captain of a large team is stressful. Catrina is always there taking on more than her share to make the team successful.  She cares!”

Local Impact Award Winner: Dr. Sheryl Cowan

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Dr. Cowan has been a 3-Day participant since 2009 and has walked in 9 events up to this year. She registered for all seven of the 2016 cities and raised the money to participate in every one. Due to her commitment to her community and patients, she will attend four in person and walk the rest around the city of Plano where she lives. She has raised over $48,000 and contributes the generous donations she receives from her colleagues to her team mates on STEPS, which stands for Screening, Treatment, Educations and Programs. Sheryl held a board position with the Komen Dallas County Affiliate and her commitment to Komen and breast health never waivers. She has created an amazing, family-oriented atmosphere with Team STEPS as well as others and has rallied the troops to not only help each other, but she has led the charge to help the local community, especially during the 2015 tornadoes that swept through Texas.

Here’s a little bit about Sheryl from her teammates: “Sheryl carries business cards with her at all times. Wherever she goes she finds a connection with people through health or fitness or a family member touched by cancer. She gives them her card as a personal contact if they are in need of medical help, as a way to tie them in with Team STEPS through our Facebook page, or to offer an opportunity to walk the 3-Day in honor of someone with breast cancer. Sheryl is very much a believer that everyone has something to contribute to a team so that the team can achieve its goal. The goal of the 3-Day is to raise funds and walk 60 miles. She connects people who need help with fundraising, people who have aches and pains that need stretching, solo walkers who need motivation. She finds that strength in each person which is why our members keep coming back. They feel needed and appreciated. “Although we began as a group of walkers under the name Team STEPS, we have grown to be a team of walkers passionate about “saving lives and curing diseases”. Our training walks, under Sheryl’s leadership, are inclusive of teams from all over Dallas and its suburbs. We consider everyone an important part of the 3-Day family no matter the team they register under and invite them to train with us. Sheryl has said that she is not the “cutesie/tutu type” personality. Her team was built to train any walker who wants to walk the 60 miles to reach that goal.”

Please join us in giving a round of applause and a high 5 to all of these extraordinary 3-Day participants. With your help, we’re 60 miles closer to ending breast cancer forever!

San Diego 3-Day – 2016 Route Update!

Last year on the 3-Day® blog, we shared some detailed “Insider’s Peek at the Route” posts with you. We pulled the curtain back on the overall process of planning and executing a 60-mile route, and then got even more in-depth with each individual 3-Day walk’s route.

This year, we didn’t need to dive quite so deep, since most of what we shared last year still applied to the 2016 routes. But updates happen every year, in every 3-Day location, so we definitely wanted to keep the 3-Day community looped-in with the changes that have been made to the 3-Day routes for 2016. We’ve also brought in members of the 3-Day Advisory Council to share their thoughts about this year’s route changes. These participants stand as the “voice” of the 3-Day community and their input has been instrumental in strengthening the communication and camaraderie between Komen and the 3-Day family, so we’ve been thrilled to have their insight on our route updates.

Here we are, at the last route update of the year! We’ve already shared updates for Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth. That leaves San Diego, the finale of the 3-Day season and the star of today’s post!

Need a refresher about what the San Diego 3-Day route was like last year? Read our 2015 “Insider’s Peek” post here.

New for 2016 – I spoke with Emily, the Event Planning Manager for the San Diego 3-Day, and she was happy to share some details about this year’s San Diego 3-Day route. She told me that Day 1 and Day 2 are the same as they’ve been the past several years, which means gorgeous time along the shoreline and in some of San Diego’s nicest neighborhoods. And yes, that also means there are still hills aplenty on the San Diego route, with each day featuring one significant hill (along with some other smaller ones along the way). Emily wanted to remind walkers specifically about Day 1’s hike: “On Friday, walkers climb the big hill through the Torrey Pines Nature Reserve, and this is a good time to remind walkers that certain things are strictly prohibited while in the Reserve: food/food wrappers; feathers (boas); balloons; playing music. We want to be able to return to Torrey Pines each year, so it’s really important that walkers respect this special, protected area.” Luckily, pit stop 2 is located right outside the Torrey Pines Reserve, just before the hill, so you will be able to drop any restricted items there and pick them up back at camp. (We’ll likely have some of our adored San Diego bike cops there to remind you about the restrictions, too). Emily added, “The Torrey Pines hill climb is definitely challenging, but that section of route is a great time for walkers to enjoy the beautiful, hushed surroundings while reflecting on their own journey or a loved one’s journey with breast cancer. Since you have to be quiet there anyway…”

As for changes to the rest of the 2016 San Diego route, there are a few updates in store on Day 3. “We heard your feedback and are bringing back the section of route that goes through Hillcrest on Sunday,” Emily shared. “We are also returning to Balboa Park, but a different part than past years (we’ll go through the west side of the park instead of the east side where we’ve walked before), and we will be doing a short loop through the quaint and unique neighborhood of Little Italy.” Walkers who have trekked San Diego before have come to know (and not exactly love), a certain tedious section of route along a riverside trail near camp, which in past years, we had to repeat on Saturday and Sunday. But no more! “We’ll still walk that section on Day 2, but for Day 3, I’ve found a way to get around and avoid walking the dreaded ‘riverbed’ section to Old Town.” Hooray! Beyond that, San Diego 3-Dayers will enjoy having the Participant Finish Area AND Closing Ceremony at beautiful Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego.

 

In Their Words – Here’s what Anthony, Tina, Marianne and Rainy, four of our 3-Day Advisory Council members, had to say about the 2016 San Diego update:

Anthony (9-time crew member)anthonyAnthony, who lives in Arizona, has been part of the Route Safety crew in various 3-Day cities for nearly a decade, and he is excited about crewing in San Diego for the first time this year. “Since I’m new to the route, I did inquire with some past Arizona walkers who have done San Diego, and all the feedback has been positive.” Even for experienced veterans, it’s difficult to pick a favorite part of the beautiful San Diego route, and for newbies, anything is possible! “I can’t say personally what my favorite part will be, but looking at the pictures, it has to be the beach and of course all the happy walkers. I am SO glad I get to be on Route Safety in San Diego. I just got back from [crewing Route Safety in] Seattle and it was fantastic! Hopefully San Diego is ready for me. Let’s get this party started!”

Tina (16-time participant) komen_3day_seattle-milestone_tina-wave Tina will be heading to San Diego from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives the 3-Day life year-round captaining Seattle 3-Day’s largest team, Valley Girls & Guys. But second to Seattle, the San Diego walk holds a special place in Tina’s heart. “This will be my 6th time walking San Diego, and honestly, I just pinking love the San Diego 3-Day! Valley Girls & Guys has a team of 26 walkers coming to San Diego to walk this year and 2 kids doing Youth Corps. I love San Diego, the weather, the people and all the places along the way, and I welcome any new changes. My favorite parts are all the amazing walker stalkers and walking along Mission Beach on Day 2. I’m excited to share this experience with my youngest daughter this year as she is 13 and doing Youth Corps. My other daughter and husband will be there to cheer us all on.”

Marianne (7-time San Diego walker) 2013-me-and-cathy Marianne, who is the captain of team STRIDE, has six sisters, all of whom have had breast cancer (including one sister who was lost to the disease). She’s a pro at the San Diego 3-Day, and says, “The San Diego event is simply amazing! We have so much community support along the route all three days, and the walkers feel like rock stars. My first time walkers tell me that after the 3-Day when they hear a car horn honk they feel compelled to raise their arms in the air and give a woohoo! My favorite part of the 3-Day is when we near the end of Day 1 and Day 2 and walk along the bayside boardwalk before the end of the day’s route. The entire boardwalk is a cheer station! Our team has had a cheer station there every year and we are joined by family and friends when we are the most tired. And even better, we get to take a moment to stop and cheer on our fellow walkers at our cheer station stop. I can’t wait for the special surprises we have in store for this year and the Survivor Stretch on Saturday!”

Rainy (19-time 3-Dayer) rainy Rainy is a San Diego local and a fixture on the San Diego 3-Day: she has participated in every single San Diego event since it began (she walked her first year and has crewed ever since). She has also expanded her crew resume over the years to include San Francisco, Arizona, Seattle and the Twin Cities. This will be Rainy’s fourth year as the Senior Captain of Route for San Diego, so she pretty much knows every twist and turn of San Diego’s 60 miles. “Day 1 and 2 are the same as the past few years, which is awesome because they rock! The views and the overwhelming community support are my favorite parts of the San Diego 3-Day. Right before pit stop 2 on Day 1, you come out of a section of trees and there is the Pacific Ocean before you with Torrey Pines in the background. It is an amazing view and awesome photo opportunity. As you leave pit stop 2 on Day 2, you’re treated to another sweeping view of the Pacific. Day 2 also features several miles along the Mission Beach boardwalk, which is just a nice flat walk next to the sandy San Diego beaches.”

Rainy gives kudos to Emily and the event team for the updates made to Day 3’s route. “I had the opportunity to walk the second half of Day 3 recently and I think the changes are excellent. The long sections of the ‘dry riverbed’ are gone and I love that the route after lunch returns to Hillcrest and Balboa Park, and goes down through Little Italy.” Rainy is especially excited about the last stretch of Sunday’s route into the Participant Finish Area. “The final mile of the walk will be spectacular as we will have a ton of community support cheering us on. Having the Closing Ceremony at Waterfront Park will be a huge upgrade. We will have beautiful fountains on one side and be steps from the Bay and the Star of India on the other.” Rainy will be focused on supporting the crew teams on the route in San Diego, but she’s quick to remind walkers, “Take time to enjoy this route. It is the culmination of the incredible journey you have been on for the past year. Camp will be waiting for you no matter what time you arrive, so spend a little bit of extra time enjoying the views.”