Meet Our 2017 Seven-City Walkers

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Our 2017 3-Day events are all complete, and what an amazing year it was! Our 6,600 walkers and crew raised an impressive $14.3 million towards Komen’s Bold Goal! Throughout our seven events, and many miles, there were some familiar faces in each city. We had eight seven-city walkers who were with us on every event, showing all of us just how More Than Pink they are. We are giving those walkers some 3-Day love, and sharing their stories of why they walk.

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Marilyn at far right with other Seven Cities Walkers (from left) Shelby, Kelly and Jim

You might have seen Marilyn signature pink flower crown throughout this year’s 3-Days. Why does she walk? Let’s hear it from her.

“I started this journey in 2000 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Everything went right — my doctor suspected something amiss; I got a mammogram; it was suspicious; I was scheduled immediately for biopsy; the result was cancer; I had a lumpectomy and then radiation and here I am 17 years later — a thriving survivor! Everything went right for me and that is why I walk.

I am compelled to raise money for breast cancer research as there are so many who did not — nor will not — have my experience. So many die. So many live with Stage 4 and never know when their next chemo will be their last. As a very healthy 71-year-old woman, I find it my duty to be of service in this manner. I was given a great healthy life — I want what I have for all! My first walk was in 2011 in Philadelphia and have walked nine walks thus far and raised over $25,000 — it just seems like a very natural thing to have walked all seven walks this year to bring the vision of hope to as many as I can.”

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Ellen has been an avid supporter of Susan G. Komen for over a decade! This year she was proud to walk once again.

“I walk with the Susan G. Komen family because I know people that have been diagnosed fought and won; fought and lost; that continue to fight and live with metastatic breast cancer. I walk with the Komen family because I know families who have had the financial burden of treatment lifted through monetary help from Susan G. Komen, for women who were able to receive a free mammogram because of Komen monies. Susan G. Komen has been in the forefront on educating the general public both in the US and internationally. The funds we raise go to supporting Komen’s efforts to fund research, help those going through breast cancer treatments, fund mammograms, and raise awareness and educate. And that research will bring cures.”

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Jeryl was a sunshiny addition to every mile she walked on the 3-Day! Sixty miles a weekend, in time for her 60th birthday!

“2017 marks my sixth-year walking! This month, I turn 60 and in celebration I took on the challenge of walking all seven cities! What better way to celebrate than walking 60 miles seven times in honor of fighters and survivors and in memory of the angels that this disease has taken way too soon. The seven cities will be my 9th-16th Susan G. Komen 3-Day events.”

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June at left with fellow Seven City Walker, Kelly

Jeryl walked many of her miles alongside her new friend, June. June walks in memory of her family member, and for all the names she lists on her 3-Day T-shirts.

“I believe in the 3-Day walk and all that it stands for. I have made some amazing memories, I have met new and wonderful friends and with every walk I do, I am contributing to a great cause.

I started walking with my grandchildren’s other grandmother’s name on a t-shirt, In Memory of Kaye Duncan. To date, I feature as many as 40 names on my shirt. I add names to my t-shirt every year and this year, I decided I wanted to do more. So, I participated in all seven cities!

The experience of walking in the 3-Day is one that I wholeheartedly enjoy. The event is inspiring, uplifting and spreads a lot of hope to all the families who have ever been effected by this awful disease.”

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Two other friends who walked together this year were Kelly and Shelby; the birthday girls! Kelly explained why they both walked this year.

“This year I celebrated a milestone birthday. I decided to do something BIG, not for myself, but for a cause I truly believe in. So, I signed up to walk all seven cities!

In 2003, I walked my first 3-Day event in Los Angeles. I did it as a personal challenge. I didn’t know anyone who had breast cancer. I just wanted to see if I could do it. I trained, (not well enough), I fundraised, and I kissed my family goodbye for the weekend. At the time, I had no idea how my life would be affected by my experiences that weekend. I cried. I laughed. I met some amazing people. I became part of the 3-Day family, and I was hooked! […]

I can now list many family, friends and co-workers who are breast cancer survivors and some who were warriors. I walk for them. I walk for their loved ones. I walk for my loved ones. I walk because I can.”

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Shelby echoes those statements.

“This year I turn 40, so I’m celebrating my 40th birthday by doing something bigger than me. I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and fundraising beyond what I thought possible to help someone else and see an end to breast cancer.

I am lucky to be sharing this experience with my friend Kelly, who is also celebrating a milestone birthday, this year we are — 40 & 50 Walking 60!”

Karen Kay caught the 3-Day bug back in 2003, and since then she has walked dozens of times, including being a 5-time 7-City Walker! She is proud of every step.

“In the past 13 years, I have walked in 54 walks. This year, I walked in all seven cities again (this will be my fifth year in a row walking in all seven cities). To walk 420 miles seems like the least I can do when so many others aren’t able to walk at all. I want to walk — to make a bold statement and presence — to put an end to breast cancer forever and to support those who are fighting this disease and those who have lost loved ones to this disease.”

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Our only male seven-city walker is Jim Hillman, who many walkers recognize on every event for his big smile, welcoming hugs, and all his picture-taking! He has walked 56 times and raised more than $150,000 for the 3-Day so far!

“Why do I walk? I believe the answer is clear. I walk because I want to see an end to breast cancer, and the devastation it causes. I walk because I don’t want my wife, my daughter, my sister, my nieces, my family and friends to deal with it… ever! To borrow from Susan G. Komen: ‘We walk because we must. We walk for the cure!’

Someday we will make one final walk, a walk of celebration that breast cancer has been defeated, a cure has been found. We will all walk together, with our sign saying, We walked for a cure! The cure has been found! I look forward to that day of celebration, the day breast cancer becomes past tense.”

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Christa Cannon also signed up to be one of our seven-city walkers this year, but sadly lost her battle to breast cancer before she could walk. We carried her in hearts, and with Smokey T Bear, through all our 2017 events. In addition, all our seven-cities walkers wore Christa’s name on their credentials on our final walk in San Diego this year. They walked in her honor.

When she signed up in early 2017, Christa has this to say about her 3-Day journey.

“I began my journey with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Chicago, August 2013. I was walking as a breast cancer survivor that year after having been diagnosed in June. I carry a banner with me each day that I walk with the name of loved ones lost to breast cancer.

Shortly after that Chicago 3-Day I was diagnosed with breast cancer again. It was the last thing I would have ever expected to hear from my doctor. More surgery, more chemotherapy and more blood transfusions followed. In early 2014 I was declared cancer free and I decided to walk in two 3-Days that year.

The cancer free feeling didn’t last long as I was again diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2014. Triple negative breast cancer is what I have and there is no known cure at this time. I am committed to finding a cure for breast cancer and I refuse to let this disease win.”

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Thank you to all our walkers, including this amazing group, for a phenomenal year. We can’t wait to have you all back in 2018 and for those of you who walk once or twice or more, we are a family and can’t wait to see you out there again next year! Register today!

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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5 Ways to Talk a Friend into Walking with You

Did you know you can already register for the 2018 3-Days? There is no time like the present to sign up to be a part of our 3-Day family, and get moving towards your own goals for next year’s events.

You never walk alone on the 3-Day, but those 60 miles are all the more fun with your bestie beside you! Start talking up your friends to see who will walk with you next year!

Get started now to give all your team members as much time for fundraising and training as possible. If you are planning to grow your team this year, it is also the perfect time to start asking new recruits to join you. There are plenty of ways to talk someone through the great impact of the 3-Day and encourage them to join the cause.

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Tell them they’ll make a difference: This one should be a great opener, especially for anyone who has been personally affected or knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Susan G. Komen® has plenty of infographics and information explaining how all of your fundraising money is put to good work, but you can also see it first hand at any of the 3-Days. When you walk, you meet survivors, their families and many others who are or have felt the direct impact of the money raised by every 3-Day walker.

Tell them they can raise the money: Fundraising is one of the topics our coaches and team captains get asked about the most.  Not everyone is comfortable asking for monetary support, even for a cause as important as ours. However, there are plenty of different ways to effectively fundraise, including letter or email writing campaigns, bake sales, charity events, selling homemade goods and more! New walkers receive lots of support from their teams, their coach, and our online community as well. We will help you find a fundraising plan that works for you, and do all that we can to help every walker reach their fundraising goal.

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Tell them they can go the distance: Another obstacle some people have to overcome is the prospect of walking all those steps. Very few people walk 60 miles in a weekend when they’re not on the 3-Day, so it can seem like a daunting task. Luckily for anyone with reservations, we have your back. With a fully supported route, including Sweep Vans that can pick up walkers and take them to the next rest stop, you only have to walk as far as you can!

Tell them there will be laughter: Is the 3-Day a lot of work? You bet your pink tutu it is! But it is also a whole lot of fun. From sharing stories on the walk, to themed rest stops and lunch tents, to dance parties and glamping, there is no shortage of smiles and laughter on every one of the 60 miles. This is an especially good approach for those who are afraid of potential monotony of walking for 3 days in a row, or who don’t know as many people on your team. No matter who you know, you will always have a friend on the 3-Day.

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Tell them they will gain a family: One of the best parts about the 3-Day is that you become part of a family. Beyond your team, or those who share tents near you at our camp site, you will leave your 3 days with us as part of something larger than yourself. For anyone who has participated in charity events in the past, reminding them of that feeling of family you get when you’re all trying to accomplish something together will be one of the easiest ways to encourage them to participate. It will also probably help you feel reinvigorated for your own training and fundraising goals.

How have you convinced people to join your team?