A Team of Two: Meet Team Sweet 16

Imagine you’re the mother of a seven-month-old baby. She’s your second child, so you’re familiar with the joy of motherhood—the chubby hands grasping around your pinky, the sweet coos, the late-night awakenings where you’re overcome with exhaustion—but you know that it’s all worth it. You’ve been nursing fine for six months, and then on the seventh month, your daughter suddenly stops nursing out of one breast. You go to the doctor and are told it’s common, just a typical nursing infection like mastitis. You’re given an antibiotic… but it doesn’t get better. You go back in, and by then, the skin on your breast has changed in appearance. You are told you have stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer.


This is Laurie and Miranda’s story. Laurie is Miranda’s mother, a soft-spoken woman with a bright smile. Laurie has walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day three times; and while every Komen 3-Day is a special experience, this third time is celebrating her sixteen-year anniversary of survival. “I did a year of chemotherapy and radiation all while she was a baby,” Laurie says, as Miranda stands next to her. “I had a double mastectomy, a hysterectomy… all while she was a baby.”

Miranda wasn’t just in Dallas/Fort Worth cheering her mother on. She was walking for the first time, celebrating her sixteenth birthday with a sixty-mile walk. “My mom is a survivor and I lost my dance teacher to breast cancer. Breast cancer has had a huge impact on my life, and I wanted to do something to help,” she said. “It’s just us two, mom and daughter… and this is why we call this the Sweet 16.”


Being a teenage walker presents unique challenges. “I’m a junior [in high school], and I have a lot of homework to do and honors classes. It’s tough to be here, but it’s absolutely worth it. It’s a rewarding experience and one that I wanted to have.”

As a three-time walker, Laurie found that fundraising was much easier than she thought it would be. “People want to support you, because breast cancer impacts everyone. Everybody knows somebody,” she said. Laurie and Miranda sewed ribbons and sold them as donations. Donors were invited to write on the ribbons with the names of people they loved who were affected by breast cancer.


Laurie and Miranda were tired on day two of their walk, but they felt strong in their conviction to walk. “When you’re with this group of people, you don’t feel the pain. It’s nothing like the fight you go through with breast cancer.”

What’s it like to be a sixteen year survivor, walking sixty miles with your sixteen-year-old daughter? “I had a 10% survival rate. I didn’t think I’d be here. It’s incredible to do this with her – so that hopefully, one day, she won’t have to do this with her daughter.”


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.


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!


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!




Top Training Walk Leader: Mary Tengra


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


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


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!

Hooray! 2016 Twin Cities 3-Day Saturday Award Winners and Honorees

The 3-Day relies on the hard work of everybody who is involved: with the fundraising, training, and the actual walking and crewing during the 3-Day weekend, it’s fair to say the immense dedication and commitment of everyone absolutely shines through. We’re grateful for every single one of you, and it’s our pleasure to recognize some members of our community who went way above and beyond. Join us in congratulating the 2016 Twin Cities Award Winners and Honorees!

Top Training Walk Leader:

Kathryn Labbe has been participating in the 3-Day for 11 years and has been a Training Walk Leader for seven years. Kathy joins us from Mesa, AZ, and is walking for the first time in the Twin Cities this weekend. Previously, she’s walked in Arizona, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Dallas/Fort Worth. Kathy has become quite adventurous in recent years. She has gone sky diving, parasailing, paragliding, and scuba diving since turning 50 years young!

Top Individual Walker Fundraiser:


Let’s hear it for Mary Ann Isaac! Mary Ann has raised $27,670 this year, and an astonishing $122,731 in her lifetime. She’s been a participant for 8 years and Twin Cities was her 8th event. She is captain of Team Chicks for a Cure. This awesome total fundraising is especially impressive because  Mary spends more days traveling and in hotels in a year than she spends in her own house!

Top Crew Fundraiser:


Shannon Riggs raised $5,500 this year, with an amazing $25,659 raised in her lifetime. She’s been involved with the 3-Day for 11 years and this is her 14th event. She’s the Route Clean Up and Route Hydration Captain, and racing towards that fundraising is no problem because Shannon is a licensed race car driver, and she has traveled to more than 14 countries in the world…but not as a race car driver!

Top Youth Corps Fundraiser:

Let’s hear it for Ava Redpath who at just 11 years old raised $1,344 ! Ava is from Rosemount, MN and this is her 1st time serving in Youth Corps.

Top Team Fundraiser:


It’s time for a super huge virtual high five – Cassie’s Cups is our top fundraising team award winner, with an incredible $54,510 raised this year. Cassie’s Cups has had 7 years as team and has raised a lifechanging $109,682 total. Their Team Captain is Christine Kokaisel and there are 25 members of Cassie’s Cups.  

Milestone Award:


Our Milestone Award goes to Peggy Sowden who has participated for 11 years, and this was her 13th event. She’s raised $58,067 in her lifetime, and as a self-proclaimed Disney Addict, she finds a way to get that mouse into almost everything she does. Peggy has supported her fellow walkers by being a Training Walker Leader and volunteering for local activities. In addition to Twin Cities, she has walked in Chicago and Seattle. What did her friends have to say about Peggy? “Peggy is a kind-hearted person who tries to bring a smile to everyone she meets. She is always willing to lend a hand to others in need.” – Sue N., friend and fellow participant. “2013 was her 10th For those of you who also walked that year, you’ll remember that we had to cut the route short on Day 3 by 10 miles due to the extreme heat. One of Peggy’s friends said she remembered how bummed Peggy was because finishing that day would have meant that she had logged 600 miles in her 3-Day career, but instead ended up with 590!” – Kim W., friend and teammate. You’re awesome, Peggy!

Local Impact Award:IMG_4923 (1)

Congrats to our Local Impact Award winner Janet Stevens, who has participated in the 3-Day for 9 years. The Twin Cities 3-Day was her 11th event, and she’s raised a knockout $43,369 in her lifetime. She’s a part of Team Breast Friends Walking, and in another life, Janet was a school teacher and taught swimming in her spare time. She is English, but has not lived in England since 1984. She moved to Wales until 1986 then went to Brussels in Belgium until 2001 when she returned to America. Janet can often be seen with her signature hot pink braided wig, and her friends have this to say about her: “If you are walking with Janet, don’t be in a hurry, as she needs to stop, chat, and make friends with EVERYONE along the way- That’s why we all love her! She’s also been known to take care of her teammates, by bringing coffee to our tents, first thing in the morning.” – Sandy A., teammate. “One of her teammates, I won’t name names, used to tell her that if they get separated in a crowd they would just look for a head with bright pink hair. But since there are a number of gals here with pink wigs that isn’t useful.  So, now they listen for Janet’s distinct British accent and since she lives in Lake Elmo, they always refer to that as her “Lake Elmo” accent.  You can always locate her then. Also, in walking with her for seven years now, I realize there isn’t a photo opportunity that she misses.  She probably has a photo of every Twin Cities’ landmark along with every possible strange character we ever met on our journey.  She could print all those out and wallpaper her house.” – Lyle K., teammate. Thank you so much, Janet!

Please join us in congratulating all of these amazing people! We couldn’t do the 3-Day without YOU!