Riley W. Chooses To Walk Into 2021 Being GRATEFUL | Word of the Year

During the first week of 2021, we asked you to pick a “Word of the Year”. (If you missed it, check out the blog post here.) To guide us through this special year, we’ve selected twelve members of the 3-Day family to share their 2021 Word of the Year. Each month, we’ll introduce a new person and share their word, why they chose it, and learn about their Komen 3-Day journey along the way.

First up, we’re excited to learn why Riley W., a nine-time walker who will be walking the San Diego 3-Day in 2021, chose “grateful” as her 2021 word of the year.

Tell us about your 3-Day experience.

I walked my first 3-Day with my sister in 2010. I have walked every year since 2012 for her!

What is your 2021 word of the year?


Why is that your word of the year?

I think it’s very easy for us to forget the big picture and all we have. I believe if I wake up breathing, it is a good day. Everything else, God can handle. But we’re all human, so of course we always are thinking ahead or about things we want to change. 2020 taught me a lot. One, slow down! Two, make sure to really appreciate every little and big moment. Three, it also taught me to buy stock in Charmin…which I was very, very grateful for many times.  

Why do you participate in the 3-Day?

I lost my only sister, Kathi, to triple negative breast cancer.

I also lost my grandmother.

I lost my “second mom” Toni, also to triple negative less than two years after my sister.

My aunt and her daughter (my cousin) are both in remission.

We need to stop this.

Before my sister left, I promised her that I would not stop walking and raising money until there was a cure. I intend to keep that promise and not only raise money but also as much awareness as I possibly can.

What does the 3-Day community mean to you?

Family. Love. Support. Understanding. The friends I have met through the 3-Day are literally family to me. I am blessed to have met so many wonderful people!

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day?

Like I said above, these people are amazing. They are truly family. They understand everything I’ve been through, and they don’t care if I just want to sit and cry or scream or just give them a hug. We’re all connected to one another, and for that I am SO VERY GRATEFUL!

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?

First, I missed everyone so much in 2020!

Second, we can’t stop. When we’re in the 57th mile out of 60, when we’re tired of fundraising year after year, or even when we don’t want to remind friends, family or acquaintances to get a mammogram. WE. CAN’T. STOP. Not until there is a cure out there. And I believe there is!

I hate that we all have to continue doing this, but we do. We are all still here, and we are making a difference.

This January, we want to know: What are you GRATEFUL for? Check back next month for the next blog post in our “Word of the Year” series.

In One Word: What is the 3-Day?

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® means so many things to so many of us.

As we bid 2020 farewell and set our sights to 2021, we wanted to take a minute to recognize what the 3-Day means to each and every one of us. Over on our 3-Day Facebook groups, we asked our Komen 3-Day family to describe the 3-Day in one word.

One single word.

Picking one word to represent the 3-Day—something so precious, so dynamic, and so extraordinary—is challenging, to say the least.

The 3-Day can mean one thing to you the first time you do it and something completely different the next. It can mean something to you during Day One and something completely different on Day Two and Day Three. It can even signify something during the first mile of your day and something completely different during your last mile.

This big, beautiful thing we’ve created together called the 3-Day is special.

And while it is hard to encompass the 3-Day in one word, we think you did a pretty incredible job capturing the spirit of the 3-Day.

Inspiring. Family. Friendship. Amazing. Exhilarating. Monumental. Life-Changing. Awesome. Friends. Strong. Compassionate. Hope. Love. Health. Committed. Momentous. Unforgettable. Kindness. Heartwarming. Incomparable. MacNCheese. Resilient. Faith-Renewing. Fulfilling. Community. Grateful. Amazeballs. Overdue. Emotional. Memorable.

Why this one word? Here are a few of our favorite explanations.

Marci H.: “Grateful. Every walk reminds me how lucky I was because of early detection. Keeps me motivated until everyone is that lucky.”

Anne K.: “Exhilarating…the challenge of the miles but surrounded by all with the same purpose…such support of one another and hearing each story as you go.”

Sherry P.: “Family comes in every imaginable shape, size, color, creed, etc., but when the going gets tough, family is who stands behind you pushing you forward, beside you to remind you that you are never alone, and in front of you to help show the way. The 3-Day family embodies that concept. A true blessing.”

Sandy K.: “Monumental…look at what a mobilized group of people can accomplish. We are all willing volunteers—walkers and crew. We move mountains.”

And, through teary eyes, we share Arti A.’s reason for her word…the word used most frequently by all of you: “inspiring”.

“As a survivor, I see and feel the support, the radiating hope, and the fellowship of not ever being alone in the journey.”

3-Day family, you are never alone.

See you in 2021. ❤️

How We Stayed #3DayTogether This Year

3-Day Family:

Thank you so much for your support in 2020! Though we couldn’t gather together in person this year, we still felt the Pink Bubble love stronger than ever.

From Zoom social hours to our #3DayTogether Spring Break walk, from the Red, White, and Blue Walk with You virtual walk  to our 2021 Virtual Kick-Offs, we loved every moment we spent “together” with you in 2020.

For us, four of the most special days of this year were our 2021 Virtual Kick-Offs. On these four days, we gathered together virtually on the original date of the 2020 3-Day events and celebrated all the things that make the 3-Day so special. We shared videos of special guests cheering you on, took part in a 3-Day-themed scavenger hunt, and celebrated each mile walked together. We heard from incredible survivor speakers and learned fundraising tips from our fundraising challenge winners, whose stories are all linked below.

Most of all, we loved seeing every photo shared, every mask selfie taken, and each word of encouragement typed.

Was it the same? Absolutely not.

Will we treasure it forever? Absolutely.


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