For the 2018 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year.
Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.
Please join us in congratulating the 2018 San Diego 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Milena Schroeder.
Milena’s sister Trina says, “Several years ago, my sister convinced me to walk the 3-Day walk with her. I was hesitant, but she was relentless in her decision and wanted to share this journey with me to honor our mother, Riitta, who lost her battle to breast cancer 23 years ago. What began as two sisters joining the 3-Day became a crusade of women who Milena mobilized and inspired to join. Milena’s leadership would continue on through three separate 3-Day walks, countless fundraisers, training walks, and a community of women….. all created through a passionate plea to end breast cancer. Why go small when you can create a band of sisters, a team, to take this cause to the next level? Milena has done just that, and her devotion to this cause is inspiring. I am so thankful to be her sister and her 3-Day teammate.”
Milena tells us more about her More Than Pink way of life…
What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?
I lost my mother to breast cancer when she was only 48. She had a long battle and during her fight, I also lost my father to cancer. He passed on when I was 18 and she passed when I was 22. This shaped me in so many ways. I walk for their memory and I also walk for my children and husband. We have 6 children together and my goal is that they never have to experience this loss. This walk brings my parents back to me in a sense each year that I walk and lets my children see and know their grandparents as well as see their mother fight for a cause.
What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?
When I first started the walk, I reached out to our neighborhood mom’s Facebook group. I was blown away by the response from the other moms. Our team keeps growing and with our 3rd year, we have formed lasting friendships and amazing memories. Plus, as a team we have raised over $175,000 together. The experience itself is incredible and the beautiful team mates who have all been touched by cancer in some way or form bring me back year after year.
What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?
I ask everyone, and I mean everyone I know! I am always surprised by who ends up donating each year and the connections and ways people have been touched by breast cancer. It seems like there are so many who have had someone in their lives affected by breast cancer. Their stories when they donate always touch my heart
What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?
Train! You don’t need to over-train but at least get out there and walk for long periods of time. Even those on our team who have done marathons say that walking is a totally different experience for them. Being on your feet for that long is tough and unexpected. Also, enjoy the 3 day and keep your ears, heart, and eyes open. The walk is unlike anything you will ever do again and is such an amazing experience. It’s why I keep coming back year after year.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I have 6 kids! My husband and I have 5 boys and 1 girl and their ages range from 16 down to our 5 year old twin boys. My husband handles all of them with finesse on the weekends as my training ramps up in September, October, and November. Its a total family team effort. We are a loud, crazy, and fun family. I also teach full time and am surrounded by children at all times. I joke that I wake up to children, teach children, carpool and feed children, and with someone always crawling into bed with me, I never am not around children!
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?
That the experience is different for everyone and to take the time to hear their stories. The 3-Day is taxing on your body but what I take away each year is what has touched my heart.
The 3-Day headed back to the West Coast last weekend for our final 3-Day of 2018 in San Diego. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and better times for this final 60-mile journey of the year.
Friday was dawning as we began our Opening Ceremony, which started with a speech from our Bank of America partners, who emphasized how much the 3-Day has contributed to the fight against breast cancer. This fact was emphasized by our local speakers, many of whom had personal stories of connection and inspiration in the San Diego community. Their words were still ringing in our ears as the Circle of Strength led our walkers out of the Del Mar Fairgrounds to start the day.
The inspiration and community support continued as walkers made their way through the city of Del Mar. There were local cheerleaders and businesses, the famous and beloved Toast Lady of Del Mar, and plenty of signs, flags and sparkles to keep our walkers smiling.
Then they conquered the Torrey Pines Hill, our longest hill of the weekend! They were greeted at the bottom by more cheers, and an amazing view of the California coastline. By the time they reached Pit Stop Two at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, walkers had already conquered 5.1 miles.
Walkers made their way through the University of California, San Diego campus in the afternoon and lunched at Kellogg Park along the beach.
There were more cheering stations and smiles throughout the end of Day One, before walkers headed home to camp at Crown Point Shores. Our last walker was welcomed with joy! Then, after an inspiring camp show where we honored our Bank of America Top Fundraisers for the 3-Day, all our participants tucked in for a cozy night at camp.
Day Two brought our walkers through the city of San Diego, including ocean views at Pit Stop 1 along Ocean Beach. Susan G. Komen CEO Paula Schneider joined walkers on Saturday with her family, taking on the 19.9-mile day with them.
The ever-present San Diego Police Department kept all our walkers safe and smiling as they walked through South Shores and Tecolote Shores in Mission Bay. The Route Safety Crew was also working hard, conquering hills and boardwalks alike to make sure every walker came safely home to camp for mac n’ cheese night! We also awarded a lucky winner of the Ford Warriors in Pink giveaway, played the Newlywed Game with two 3-Dayers who were just married last week, and met our amazing San Diego Youth Corps. There couldn’t have been a better way to finish the day.
And then, suddenly, it was Day Three! The final day of the San Diego 3-Day brought more stunning ocean views before walkers came to Pit Top 1 and fun animals from San Diego Sea World as they entered Pit Stop 2. With all that fun, it was a quick 6.9 miles!
Then, after Mile 9.5, the walkers conquered the infamous Juan Street Hill. It was “Juan last hill” on their 3-Day journey, and the walkers made it look easy!
From there, they stopped for lunch at Pioneer Park and things were all downhill (literally) from there. Walkers came through downtown San Diego and arrived for their final Victory Walk at Waterfront Park. There was celebrating, smiles, dancing and lots of More Than Pink fun.
The Closing Ceremony finished out the weekend and our 2,200 walkers and 300 amazing crew were shouting loudly and proudly that in this fight against breast cancer…WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, San Diego. We are so very proud of each one of you.