Meet Carley Cummings, Twin City 3-Dayer

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“She was a light that shined so bright that the light still remains even though she is gone.”

That’s how Carley Cummings, team captain of Twin Cities 3-Day team “Live Like Laurie,” describes her late mother.

Carley, her sisters Anna and Liz, as well as her best friend Beth have collectively walked in more than 20 3-Days in the Twin Cities in honor of Laurie, and they don’t plan on stopping!

IMG_0301.JPG “The walk has given us a way to cope. Knowing that we can continue fighting my mom’s war by helping to end breast cancer helps us a lot. The walk has given us purpose and has helped us to be strong.”

Much of that strength comes from her mom. Laurie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 when she was only 38 years old. After a double mastectomy and seven years in remission, the cancer came back in her bones. The cancer then eventually spread all over her body and into her brain. However, with three young children and a loving husband, she refused to give up.

Laurie lived with Stage 4 cancer for five more years.

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Carley says, “She never let the cancer define who she was. She smiled, danced, and laughed through the pain and the long days of chemo and radiation rounds. To say she fought hard is an understatement.”

Laurie had an amazing doctor and was constantly blessed with new treatments and support from family and friends that kept her going.

She also continued to be a part of the 3-Day, walking for 10 years in total. She walked her first 3-Day shortly after her 2002 diagnosis, when Carley was just in kindergarten, and made the 3-Day a part of her whole family’s lives. She even walked one year with a back brace, and just a few months after she got her hip replaced. Carley was able to walk side-by-side with her mom in Laurie’s final 3-Day.

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Later, in 2014, Carley and Anna were hesitant to walk because Laurie’s health had rapidly declined, but she encouraged them to walk without her. Just a few hours after crossing the finish line of the walk, they and their family held their mom’s hands as she took her last breath. Carley truly believes Laurie held on long enough for them to finish.

“Even when my mom was dying, she was still filled with so much life. She was passionate about life and put all her energy into living in the moment. She left us with the most amazing memories. My mom was one of kind. She did more for us in the time we had with her than most moms do for their kids in a lifetime. Her love still gets me through each day.”

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After her passing Carley and her team re-named their group “Live Like Laurie,” in her honor. They continue to walk together, supported by friends and family, and wear a photo of Laurie on their backs as they take on those 60 miles year after year.

“Walking with my sisters and having my dad cheer us on along the route is amazing. We are constantly supporting one another and encouraging one another throughout every mile. I don’t think that I could do the walk without my sisters. They help me to finish strong.”

They also help each other train, and fundraise as a team by sending out letters every year to family and friends and selling custom designed t-shirts. This past summer, they also organized a donation garage sale, and all the money they made was put towards their 3-Day fundraising. These creative ideas have helped them meet their goals each year, and return to their 3-Day family side by side.

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“The 3-Day is an emotional roller-coaster for me. Those three days are filled with tears, laughter, and conversations that move you. We are lucky enough to have friends and family cheer along the way which helps me out a lot. Everyone we meet along the way cheers us on as well and makes us feel so loved.”

Carley also feels the love of her mom as she walks. And whenever the trail gets tough, it’s the memory of Laurie that keeps her going.

“I keep walking because I can’t walk away. I promised my mom I’d fight to find a cure. Just because my mom lost her battle doesn’t mean this war is over. I walk so others don’t have to go through the pain that my family and I have had to endure. I will keep walking for a future free of all cancer.”

We will continue to walk alongside you, Carley.

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2017 Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Round-Up

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The 3-Day headed south for our first 3-Day of November, and was welcomed to Dallas Fort Worth with open arms! We started our Friday morning in the home of Susan G. Komen, with a nice cool sunrise over Collin Creek Mall in Plano. Our 600 walkers and 275 crew started their journey with an inspiring and emotional Opening Ceremony led by local participants.

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Then, they were off and walking! The day began with an amazing cheer station after Pit Stop 1, led by Aldridge Elementary School. Almost every student and much of the faculty was out to cheer on our walkers as they completed their first two miles of the day.
From there, they walked through Cottonwood Park to come to lunch after a quick 10.3 miles. The walkers relaxed with a fun carnival theme, and stretched on their Mohawk Flooring mats before getting ready to hit the trails again.

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The second half of Day One was spent walking through Anderson Bonner, Churchill and Jamestown Parks so there was plenty of beautiful greenery and fun nature photo opps for our Texas walkers. There was also lots of fun at the Susan G. Komen cheering station, complete with popsicles and even a puppy cheerleader or two. The Komen headquarters team was out in full force to show our walkers just how loved they are!

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Day One ended at camp at Brookhaven College after 20.5 miles. A beautiful sunset welcomed our walkers home, and they were able to relax in the Bank of America massage chairs, as well as get in a game or two of put put golf.

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Day Two dawned warm and bright for a beautiful day of walking! The walkers cruised through their first six miles with ease, arriving at Pit Two-ville with smiles on their faces as they were greeted by cats in hats, red fishes, blue fishes and even a Lorax! It was a rhyme and photo-filled good time for all.

By lunch at Campbell Green Park, the walkers had already conquered 10.4 miles on the day. At lunch, we met our amazing Dallas Fort Worth Youth Corps members, and were cheered (or woof-ed) on by four-legged 3-Day fans from the training program of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Walkers loved stopping for a photo with these furry 3-Day supporters!

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From there, our walkers spent time under the beautiful Texas sun as they trekked through Kiowa Park, and past Pit Stop 4 at Mile 18.3 on the day. Before arriving back at camp, there were cheer stations at the gorgeous Vitruvian Park and Team Komen was on hand to welcome everyone back onto the Brookhaven College campus with another big cheering station.

Once all our walkers were home in the pink bubble at camp, we dug into mac n’ cheese to make sure we all had energy for the all-camp dance party!

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Sunday was a perfect day for walking, and our participants hit Pit One, and 3.6 miles, in no time in Preston Hollow Park. They were greeted by local supporters, and a knock-out pit crew!

From there, it was just a hop, skip and a few-mile jump to lunch at Reverchon Park. The walkers were less than four miles from the finish line as they relaxed in the shade and stretched it out with our amazing medical team.

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After leaving lunch, walkers made their way through downtown Dallas, passing the House of Blues, walking through the historic West End, and even stepping through John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza before they completed their 60-Mile journey at Reunion Tower.

After all of our walkers crossed our beautiful pink finish line, we celebrated together at Closing Ceremony. There was much to be proud of, given that our amazing 600 walkers and 275 crew members raised $1.7 million this weekend!

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Our journey is never truly done, though, as was evidenced throughout our closing ceremony. We are all still working, and walking, towards Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.

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As we hugged and celebrated and danced together, one message rang loud and clear; that though our feet may ache, our spirit and dedication will live forever; through aches, and pain, and blisters. We are shouting loudly and proudly that in this fight, where we seek to live in a world free of breast cancer, WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, Dallas Fort Worth. We are so very proud of each and every one of you.

If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2018, sign up now at The3Day.org/Register.

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The Susan G. Komen Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Honors Our Opening Ceremony Speakers

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We began our 2017 Susan G. Komen Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day with an inspiring Opening Ceremony as the sun started to rise on a crisp fall day in Texas. Our Opening Ceremonies this year are led by participants, with special recognition given to our breast cancer survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer.

Crew members, walkers, and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep and mile at a time. Take some time to get to know our Opening Ceremony speakers.

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Paul Rakofsky – My Sister

I walk for my older sister who battled breast cancer and won in 2008, for my younger sister who battled and won in 2011, for my business partner who battled and won in 2012, and for five clients who have battled, one who lost the battle. And I also walk for my two-year-old granddaughter… may she not even know the disease exists. I’m Paul and I am More Than Pink.

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Amy Kowalchyk – My Mother

In March of this year, my mom―at the young age of 72―was diagnosed with stage 1, invasive, ductile carcinoma breast cancer. Because of her self-exams and yearly mammograms, it was caught early. Her cancer was surgically removed, reduced by radiation and she is now CANCER FREE! And because of the funding from Susan G. Komen for research and development on how to treat certain types of breast cancer, she did not have to undergo chemo! She is why I walk this weekend in my 7th 3-Day. I’m Amy, I walk for all of the moms out there, especially for my mom, Caroline Tollefson, and I am More Than Pink.

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Mary TenBrock – My Aunt

More than 50 years ago, my Aunt Ellen received her diagnosis. As a young wife and mother, she wished for a cure, she prayed for a miracle, and then she agreed to experimental treatments―treatments that today we call chemotherapy. Then my Aunt Shirley’s diagnosis caught everyone off guard. She taught us the importance of self-breast exams, how to live, and then lastly, she showed us how to die with grace. I walk for both of them. Lisa, Debra and Stephanie, each day you face this cancer with courage and determination, and I walk for you, too. I’m Mary and I am More Than Pink.

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Megan Weyant – My Friend

My mom was my best friend. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 11, and I started walking the 3-Day when I was 18―the summer after she passed away. Two months ago, my dear friend discovered she is BRCA positive, and now I walk for her, too. I’m Megan and I am More Than Pink.

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Sara Galvan – My Grandmother

I walk for the eight women in my family who have battled breast cancer: my grandmothers, my mom, my aunts, my cousin, my best friend. The 3-Day gives my family and me hope… hope for a future where breast cancer is a thing of the past. Hope that my daughter and granddaughter never hear the words, “you have breast cancer.” I am empowered as I walk, knowing that every step I take helps fund another minute of research, another minute your mother, daughter, sister or friend could live a full life. I’m Sara and I am More Than Pink.

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Mary Frances Hoover – My Family

Twenty-three years ago, I volunteered for my first ever Race for the Cure by handing out packets at the mall. Since then, I’ve seen such hope and inspiration in the women, men, and families fighting this disease. I walk for them and for the hope that one day we will live in a world without breast cancer. I’m Mary Frances, I am the Executive Director for Susan G. Komen North Texas, and I am More Than Pink.

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Brooke Kincade – Ceremony Host

My mom, Kathy, was first diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 10. She then battled Stage 4 breast cancer for eight years before passing away at the age of 57, leaving three daughters behind.

 

As a 6-time walker and a 2-time crew member, I participate in the 3-Day because this is where I feel closest to my mom. My mom taught me everything… except how to live without her.

 

I’m Brooke, I am More Than Pink… and I’m honored to welcome you to the 2017 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day!