Congratulations to the 2018 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, George Nummer

For the 2018 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, George Nummer!

Coach Heather says,

“George is an institution within not only the MI 3-Day but our community as a whole. Many people will say they know the mature gentleman with the walking sticks. When I say “community,” I mean the 3-Day as well as the local community where George can be seen walking many months of the year training for the multiple 3-Days that he is taking part in any given ear.

George is a man dedicated to saving lives. While he has many friends on the 3-Day, he is often found walking and talking with those he does not know…..he wants to learn their story and get their promise. The promise to get a mammogram….and possibly save a life.  He takes any opportunity to get out there and advocate….whether its volunteering to be the subject of a local news piece to get the word out to the masses, but just as important to him, meeting new people and getting their promise on each 3-Day he takes part in. 2018 will mark 40 walks for George!”

George receives his award at the Michigan 3-Day.

Want to know more? Let’s hear from Beth Northman.

“If you don’t think you can make a difference in your own small spot in the world, all you have to do is have a chat with George Nummer!  Truly a 3 Day treasure, George began walking in the 3 Day after September 11 because he wanted to make a difference and reach out to help others around him and he has done this over and over since he began participating in the event.  With is walking sticks in tow and a smile on his face George is an inspiration to all he comes in contact with.  I encourage you to spend a few miles with him on the route and hear his story; you’ll be glad you did!”

His friend Michelel Yelovina also raves about George.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than George. His determination and dedication leaves a lasting impression on all who meet him. But it is his relentlessness to the cause at hand that impacts the most. “Promise to…” two strong words…”promise to get a mammogram “ is what he asks those that walk with him to make.

For 49 out  of the 50 women that make that promise all maybe well, but for the one… for THIS one…George is a life saver. I don’t know how much more of an impact one can have on another persons life than having a hand in saving it! So thank you, my guardian angel , you deserve this and sooo much more! You have a special place in my heart forever!”

Now, let’s hear from the man himself! When George talked to us, he didn’t know he would be receiving this honor!

George says, “I was inspired by a speech by President Bush, post-911. He said if you want to help fight terrorism, start by helping your neighbor, help your community. A few days later, I saw an ad for the 3-Day. I thought, at age 70, I could never walk 60 miles in 3 days but I was curious so I sent for information. After I got the information and read about the Breast Cancer statics, I thought that’s pretty bad maybe I can do something to help and here I am at 86 and 40 walks later.”

We had to learn more…

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year? 

Knowing that I am helping breast-cancer patients and survivors, and particularly getting women to promise to get yearly mammograms, has bought me back year after year. I especially enjoy being part of the 3-Day community, making friends with fellow walkers across the country.

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success? 

Being positive in my fundraising, sending letters to all my family and friends, and not being afraid to ask for donations have led to my success. The worst people can do is say no.

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?  

It’s important to train well in advance. It’s best to train in all types of weather, as you may be walking the 3-Day in bad weather. And remember, it’s not a race. Take your time and get to know your fellow walkers, find out why they are walking. Enjoy yourself and have fun!

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I started walking in the 3-Day at age 70. The year I turned 75, I walked in every 3-Day event available—12 walks in 15 weeks. The hardest thing I ever did, but the most rewarding!

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?  

Always have a positive attitude. Before you can accomplish something you must first expect it of yourself. You can do most anything you set your mind to, just believe in yourself.

Congratulations to the 2018 Michigan 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Erika McKee

Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Milestone Award Winner; Erika McKee. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Michigan 3-Day camp show, we presented Erika with this special honor.

Erika is an amazing asset to the 3-Day family, and her story is a deeply personal one. Her husband and family say she is an “inspiration to our family and your dedication to the cause is awe-inspiring.”

Erika receives her award at the Michigan 3-Day.

Fellow walker Shelley echoes that, saying, “You couldn’t ask for a more loyal supporter of the 3-Day than Erika McKee. I have known her for almost 25 years and she is the most generous and caring person I know….Always putting everyone before herself. She is truly a special person and loyal friend.”

More love came from her parents Dave and Deanne, “We are proud parents of Erika. She has always excelled in work, academics, and helping others. She walks each year for breast cancer awareness as many have survived (including her Mother) and many have lost to the disease.”

Want to learn more about the amazing Erica? Let’s hear from her! When she answered these questions, she didn’t know she’d be getting this honor!

What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?

My mother, Deanne Nelsen.  The toughest woman I know.  At age 58, she was diagnosed with heart disease.  After 4 unsuccessful angioplasties, she underwent Open Heart Surgery.  After recovering from that major surgery and rehab, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Thankfully, she caught it early and was able to beat it after a lumpectomy and radiation.  She just celebrated her 80th birthday this past year!

Once my mom was through all of that, I was beyond thankful.  I felt strongly that I had to do SOMETHING to give back.  I heard about the 3-Day and told my husband about my “crazy idea”.  He didn’t even blink, and instantly responded “I’ll walk with you”.

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year? 

The first year, our weather conditions were horrible.  We had extreme heat and thunderstorms during our first night (and we were evacuated into a school in the middle of the night, for safety).  And, I was only going to do this ONCE!  After all, between the training and the fundraising, it was a huge endeavor.  But, the energy of the event and the incredible people that I met drew me in right away.  Somewhere early in Day 3 (in 2004), I started talking to my husband about “next year”.  He looked at me and said “We haven’t even finished the 60 miles yet.  Isn’t that like talking about the 2nd baby, when you’re still pregnant with the first?”  I laughed and told him that I knew it would be another big undertaking, but after that first experience, how could I not come back?  I mean, all I had to do was WALK!  And in doing so, there were SO many people I could help.

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?

The first year, I wrote letters to everyone I knew – friends, family and friends of my parents.  After all, we were celebrating her surviving breast cancer (and heart disease).  Donations flooded in and we raised $10,000 in 2004.  But, when I decided to walk again, I knew I had to get creative.  After all, how could I keep asking friends for donations, year after year?  So, I came up with the idea of a Silent Auction.  I canvassed local businesses for donations and hosted a huge party at our house.  We just hosted our 14th annual Silent Auction – and most of our friends can’t wait for the event every year.  We’ve even added absentee bidding to the event – for friends who can’t make it in person, but still want to participate in the bidding/donate to the cause.  Since 2004, our family has raised approximately $115,000 for the Cause.  And everyone around me knows that I am far from done!

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?  

Walk at a comfortable pace (it is a LONG walk, not a race) and stretch often.  First time walkers often walk far too fast on Day One and pay for it later.  Do not rush to get to camp.  The experience is about the walk itself.  Enjoy the route, talk to as many new people as you can, listen to their stories, share yours.  The people you meet will truly change your life.  The 3-Day is 3 days of how the world should be – kindness, friendship, love, compassion.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I love playing sports and rarely sit still.  Although I spent most of my childhood as a competitive swimmer, I now play volleyball in the winter and golf in the summer.  However, I found my absolute passion at age 38 – Ice Hockey.  I traded in my childhood figure skates to hockey skates and absolutely love the sport and the camaraderie of hockey team.  (Perhaps it was always in my blood though – my mother, my inspiration for walking in the 3-Day, played college hockey at the University of Toronto, in the late 1950’s).

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?  

My experience on the 3-Day has truly changed my perspective in life.  There is so much we can do as a society, together, to help and support others.  I think one of the best by-products of my involvement is the impact it has had on my children.  They are now all involved in the event and each one of them understands the importance of community and giving back.  We only hope we can spread this spirit of giving on to others.

A beautiful 3 days: 2018 Michigan 3-Day Recap

Friday morning, as the sun rose into a dusty blue and orange sky, hundreds of walkers, crew, and volunteers gathered at Walled Lake Western High School to kick off a 3-Day celebration in the fight against breast cancer.

We heard from people living with metastatic breast cancer, survivors, and watched our 3-Day family carry flags of our four pillars of strength upwards onto the stage. We shared the names of our loved ones lost in remembrance.

As the music swelled, we embarked on our first several steps. Our first pit stop was with the BooBees on the shores of Walled Lake.

As our crew friends in yellow buzzed around making sure we were hydrated and fed, we posed for pictures against the beautiful lake. We walked on, enjoying the beautiful greenery and flowers of Michigan’s flora, and ended up at Pit Stop 2, a crowd favorite for the weekend. Senior citizens from a retirement home came out to cheer on our walkers and drum, and many of us posed for snapshots with wonderful elders who reminded us at every turn how proud they were of us.

Our community came out in full support and cheered us on at the Novi Ten Shopping Center, and then we stopped for lunch at Meadowbrook Congregational Church at mile 10.3. Knowing we had 8.1 more miles to go, we charged onwards, stopping at two more churches for pit stops at miles 13.8 and 15.5, and then we rounded out our last few miles with another amazing cheering station at the Briar Pointe Shopping Center.

Finally, we walked into Camp at Novi Middle School, finishing out a joyful 18.4 miles, posing for pictures, enjoying spa waters in the lounge, the Bank of America massage chairs, and celebrating our top fundraisers and award winners. Then, we curled up in our cozy pink tents, ready to build up our energy for an amazing Day 2.

The temperature was rising, but we began Day 2 heading towards Thornton Creek Elementary for our first Pit Stop at mile 3.3. The popular Cass Benton Park was the site of our Pit Stop 2, and walkers took in the beautiful rolling green hills, enjoying the scenery but maybe not the elevation.

Birds flew overhead and butterflies fluttered around all through the park, accompanying us as we walked toward the Plymouth Cultural Center, where we took a well deserved break for lunch at 10.9 miles in. The highlight of the day was the popular fountain at Kellogg Park, dyed pink just for us. We all posed for photos at the fountain and took in the sights and sounds of the farmer’s market also going on at the same time.

We charged through the vibrant business district to Northville Downs, the site of our Grab and Go B at 16.2 miles, and by now, the heat was feeling sweltering.

Making sure we were all hydrated and stretching, it was onwards, to Pit Stop 4 at mile 19 at Thornton Creek Elementary, and then finally, to mile 22.3 back into camp, where again, we cheered in our last walker.

The Camp Show kicked off another ’bout of inspiration and hope for us walkers and crew; especially in hearing from Tony, a male breast cancer survivor living with metastatic breast cancer (joined by his daughter Amanda, a first time walker!). His positive and poised speech reminded us all of why we fundraise, why we train, and why we walk: to one day live in a world free of breast cancer. We headed to our pink tents one last time, ready to emerge from them inspired and determined for Day 3.

Day 3 arrived quickly, bringing some extra heat and humidity just so that our walkers and crew could prove they were even more awesome than they already knew.

We took a bus for a quick ride to Kennedy Elementary School in Livonia, then headed out, enjoying miles of cheering stations to our first pit stop of the day at mile 3.3 at Franklin High School. From there, it was onwards to Pit Stop 2 at Wallaceville Field, where we enjoyed the shady parts of the path and admired the tall, green trees.

We also oohed and aahed over the Rosedale Gardens Historic District, packed with beautiful pre-historic World War 2 brick colonial and English cottages.Then, we walked through the always-beautiful N. York Street, where residents adorned the sidewalks with bra garlands and decorations, misting us with cool water, handing out popsicles, sharing THEIR stories of survivorhood and loved ones lost, reminding us again – at every step – why we walk.

From lunch at York Park where the crew was delightfully themed Under the Sea, we rested in the shade, and gathered our remaining strength for the final five miles of the day.

The last few miles took us through the city of Dearborn, the home of Henry Ford, and marched us towards the Ford World Headquarters, where our family and friends waited to celebrate our joyous victory.

As our crew lined up and walked into the Closing Ceremony, walkers followed, with our survivors marching in right behind us. As the music swelled, tears filled our eyes as we passed the Memorial Flag on to seven-city walker Heidi, ready to be carried victoriously in to Twin Cities in just a week and a half.

Michigan, thanks to you, we raised a staggering $1 million in the fight against breast cancer. We will NEVER give up!

Click here to view all of the 2018 Michigan 3-Day photos!