Happy Halloween from the 3-Day Awarewolves

What’s that? Do you hear that howling? Is it Halloween? Or is it…The Awarewolves?!

This amazing team is a staple on the 3-Day, and their costumes keep them Halloween-ready all year long! They walked with us in New England in September, but their 3-Day journey began long before that. It began when Linda Lafragiola was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, when she and her sister Kathi Elliot decided that breast cancer would not beat them.

Linda explains, “Since being diagnosed, I decided to raise awareness about early detection and how important it is. Participating in the 3-Day allows me to share my story and experiences with any and everybody, year-round.”

What began as a promise, and a walk, between two sisters, has now grown to a whole team! That team includes their very own Awarewolf, Kathi’s beautiful Siberian Husky, Nika. Nika joined many of Linda and Kathi’s early training walks and quickly became their mascot.

After one of those such walks, the sisters started sharing possible team names with Kathi’s husband, David and her daughter Paige. They were talking about how everyone on the walks jokingly asks if Nika is a wolf, and right on cue, David began singing “Werewolves of London.” Suddenly, the group was singing “Werewolves in San Diego” instead, in honor of their upcoming walk in California.

From there, they all talked about how their team mission was about awareness and early detection, in honor of Linda’s own early diagnosis. So, David came up with AwareWolves. Paige created the team logo. Kathi coined the tagline, “Don’t be afraid — Early detection saves lives”. Linda found the amazing hot pink wolf ears. But they each came up with their own signature howls! And from there, a team was born.

More of how their story and team began, in Kathi’s own words…

“Linda learned that she had breast cancer in 2011. Fortunately, it was an early diagnosis and the cancer was limited to a small tumor. She underwent surgery that summer, followed by six weeks of radiation.

Mid-way through her treatment a friend asked Linda to join her at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in San Francisco in June 2012. She thought, ‘60 miles in 3 days…if I can survive breast cancer then I can do that!’

As a sister of someone who is going through something like breast cancer, you try to find ways to be helpful. Driving Linda to radiation appointments was something I could do. When Linda said she was walking, I said, ‘Why not me too?!’ From then on, the drives to radiation became a time to plan fundraisers and future training walks.

Linda’s last radiation appointment was on November 1, 2011 and the next morning, we laced up our sneakers and started training. Several months later, we had logged more than 1,000 miles and raised over $5,000 dollars each – enough for two 3-Day walks. So, we decided to register for the San Diego 3-Day in November 2012, as well.

Clearly walking 60 miles is no small feat, especially factoring in inclement weather and hilly terrain, but any 3-Day participant will tell you that the aches, pains and blisters are worth it.

Linda says her first 3-Day in San Francisco was emotional, inspiring and eye opening. It really hit home.

She told me, ‘I met so many women and men whose lives had been touched by breast cancer. It was mind boggling! It helped me to go from feeling like a victim — saying why did this happen to me? — to actually doing something about it.’

Not long after completing our second 3-Day in San Francisco, Linda and I officially started our team, cleverly named…The AwareWolves.”

But that was only the beginning of so many amazing memories for their team and their sisterhood!

Since then, they have walked in nearly ten 3-Days in different cities, and their team has only grown in number and recognition!

“The AwareWolves pack has grown, just by the people we have met along our journey,” explains Linda. “Some of them are veteran 3-Day walkers and crew members. Some are first-time walkers who have joined us to see what it’s all about. Everyone loves our signature ears and I swear some people have joined just to rock the ears and howl with the pack! 😄 And, we’re ok with that! Our team is made up of people from all over the US and although we walk at different speeds, we know we are there for each other. 💕 We are known for taking our time, enjoying the event and everything that comes with being in the pink bubble.”

Though in the past the Awarewolves have been in that pink bubble for a few Halloween weekend walks, this year Linda will be part of a group costume, which is a Pac-Man theme, instead!

She and Kathi are gearing up to walk in San Diego in November, and even though Halloween might be in the rearview mirror at that point, you can expect some AwareWolves on the San Diego 3-Day trails. Just keep a pink ear perked up for their howl!

3-Day Ways to Make the Most of a 3-Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend can seem like a bittersweet time because it means that summer is coming to a close. The weather is slowly changing, kids are going back to school…and the 3-Day is on the horizon! After two wonderful weekends in the Midwest in August, we are gearing up for our fall events and getting more excited by the day. With lots of preparing to do, you need to take advantage of every spare minute you have! Here are some simple ways to make the most of this upcoming long weekend, and any spare day you have before you get ready for your 60-mile weekend.

1-2-3 step your way through!

This one should be simple to check off your to do list: go for a walk! You have plenty of time to get team training in, take a solo walk or even grab your family to come with you. You can take a few shorter walks every day or go for a long walk on your extra weekend day. You can also check to see if there are any training walks already organized to join walkers in your area! These are a great way to make friends or grow your own team.

Connect with your teammates

We often share tips for building your 3-Day team, but don’t forget to take time to connect with your teammates once they agree to join you. You’ll have plenty of time to chat over your 60-mile journey or weekend of crewing, but before then, it helps to build a really strong team community. This is a deeply personal endeavor for many people, so organize a group breakfast or afternoon coffee meet-up and start a dialogue. Talk about your 3-Day journeys and remember what brought you all together in the first place. As fall weekends get busy, you’ll be able to look back on this time together and smile.

Fundraise on Facebook

Social media is a simple and low-maintenance approach to fundraising, and you can do it right from the comfort of your couch! Though you can use multiple avenues for fundraising (here are some more ideas!), you should definitely start on Facebook. Did you know that 3-Day participants who have a Facebook Fundraiser, on average, raise $500 more than participants without one? The power of this online fundraiser is a great reason to be active on Facebook!

With just a few clicks from your 3-Day Participant Center, you can set up your Facebook Fundraiser and start inviting all your family and friends today. Then, set up reminders as your 3-Day draws closer. Don’t let people forget!

Catch up on your research!

Since Labor Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial start of the fall season, we know that lots of 3-Dayers will be kicking their preparation into high gear starting in the next few days. To help prepare you for whatever your fall goals might be, we have some awesome blog posts to give you guidance:

We hope you all have an amazing few days planned, and we can’t wait to kick off our fall walks in New England next week!

The A to Z’s of 3-Day Teambuilding

No one ever walks alone on the 3-Day. Even walkers who start off solo end up being welcomed into new groups and paired with other solo walkers, so they are supported and loved every step of their 60-mile journey. The other, larger reason for that is we have so many amazing 3-Day teams on all our walks. Big or small, teams keep each other moving and motivated all weekend long.

So, if one of your goals for the year is to grow your team, or you’re having trouble getting some long-time walkers to come join you once again, we want to help! Here are our A to Z Tips for building your team, recruiting new team members, and making sure you’re surrounded by all your favorite people on the 3-Day this year.

  • ASK: We are starting off with the obvious one here because it truly can be something people struggle with. You won’t know if someone is interested in joining your team unless you ask them! Don’t be afraid! The worst thing that could happen would be that they say “no.” And then you’re no worse off than when you started.
  • Be a teammate as well as a team leader. Every team needs a captain, but never forget that you’re part of the team too! Take time to focus on your own 3-Day journey so that you can fully enjoy this process.

  • Co-Captains (Lean on them!): Coach Sharyn says that as a Team Captain of her team, “A String of Pearls,” she makes a point of making sure everyone knows who their teammates are. She also introduces her co-captains and leans on them when she is most busy. When everyone knows each other, everyone always has a good source of information and a support system.
  • Delegate: You can’t be expected to do all the teambuilding all on your own! Work with your other teammates, or even ask your local coaches to help find people who might need a team.
  • Encourage bonding between your existing teammates. This will create friendships that are sure to last long past the 3-Day weekend. This will also increase the reach your teambuilding efforts have.
  • Family and friends: They’re the most likely to want to join you on a 60-mile walk so if you haven’t asked them yet, now is the time! Also, remember that just because you’ve asked them in the past, it doesn’t mean their answer is final. It might not have been a good year for them, or they might have been previously unavailable. 2019 could be their year!
  • Go slow: Don’t feel the need to recruit 10 new team members in a single week! It will only leave you frustrated. Take it slow and grow your team as you can.
  • Have a plan: Give yourself small deadlines and tasks that you can easily work into your existing schedule. Making a long-term plan will make it easier to hit your teambuilding deadlines.

  • Include Crew and 20-Mile walkers in your teambuilding efforts, too! Coach Tisho loves recruiting ALL members of the 3-Day family to her teams, so she wants to remind other teambuilders not to forget the Crew and 20-Milers.
  • Just keep at it! It’s all about the follow-up and the reminders. In a busy world, staying in touch with potential teammates will keep the 3-Day top of mind for them.
  • Know the details about the event so you can share with your potential teammates. Talk to your coaches and find out where the ceremonies and camp are as well as any details that are available. It might just spark more interest to get someone registered!
  • Leverage every contact that you have. You never know who might want to join the 3-Day! Your tax accountant could be a breast cancer survivor or maybe your kid’s swim team coach loves long distance walks. Everyone could benefit from a little 3-Day love in their lives ❤️

  • Make teams within a team! If your team gets larger, break your people up so they can focus on what they do best. Have the super fundraisers on call to help other teammates or tap those with big social circles to recruit new team members.
  • Never stop sharing your passion about the 3-Day. It might just be the inspiration someone needs to join you. Coach Gayla swears by passion and enthusiasm to help you achieve all your 3-Day goals 😊
  • Organize happy hours and social events with friends, then talk to them about ways they can be part of the 3-Day. As a 3-Day walker, crew member, 20-mile walker, volunteer, private cheer station, or even as your walker stalker. Even if you don’t add any new team members, you’ll have a fun night out with your pals.

  • Personal connections are great, but you can also take recommendations from other people! Your best friend’s mom might want to walk, or your neighbor’s sister. Expand your reach!
  • Questions are a great way to start a teambuilding meeting! Coach Gina says that for a “welcome meeting” she asks people to give one word that describes their leadership or one word that describes what the 3-Day means to everyone at the meeting.
  • Rock on 🤘 Coach Gayla recommends painting rocks with words like #Commit3Days and The3Day.org and leaving them along trails and sidewalks as you do your next training walk. Add your team name or Facebook group so other walkers can find you! People will see them as they pass by and you might get a new team member you never even knew.

  • Social media is a simple way to stay connected, especially if you have team members in other cities. Create a team Facebook Page (Coach Liz loves this idea) and keep in touch all year long.
  • Training walks are key for making lasting connections. Coach Gayla says that for every training walk you host; you should ask your teammates to bring someone who hasn’t walked the 3-Day before.
  • Understand that “not right now” doesn’t mean “no.” Keep people on your radar for future years or other opportunities to support the 3-Day in the future.
  • Vacations are fun, so make it about that! Reach out to your out-of-town friends and family and invite them to spend a long weekend with you on the 3-Day.

  • “Why” is important! Coach Gina encourages her team captains to find out the reasons why their team joined the 3-Day. What is your “why” for being part of the 3-Day?
  • X-plain your mission and the difference the event has made in your lives and the lives of others. Showing the impact that the 3-Day has not only had on your community, but your own life, will encourage people to join your mission.
  • Yearly Events help make a big difference in your team’s fundraising efforts and are also a rallying cry for new members to join. Coach Sharyn’s team throws a big fundraiser on the four days of the Memorial Day Weekend every year and invites her whole team (now up to 26 people!) to participate if they’re able.
  • Zero to 10 Questions. Coach Liz asks every knew team member to provide a question or two that they want to know about their fellow teammates. Then she starts a chain email so everyone can get to know each other and find common bonds. It’s all about making new friends and expanding your 3-Day family 😊

What are the best ways you’ve found to recruit new team members? Tell us in the comments!