An Outsider’s Guide to the 3-Day: If you’re new, what can you expect?

What is the 3-Day? It’s been called everything from “The Pink Bubble” to “Pinklandia” and more. Those who have walked or crewed or even seen the 3-Day experience each have their own feelings about the 60-mile life-changing journey. Those who haven’t can only look forward to the 3 days that lie ahead of them.  If you want a sneak peak of what it’s like to be a part of our 3-Day family (and who wouldn’t?), we are giving you a look from the outside in.

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On the 3-Day, you can expect…

To be challenged

For some people, training is the toughest part. For others, it’s fundraising. No matter who you are, raising money for a good cause and training for a good long walk, all while making new friends or working with existing ones, can be a lot to put on a to-do list. However, part of joining the 3-Day family is to challenge yourself! It’s in challenging yourself that you grow, find new strengths, and create a support system you’ll have long after you walk.

One tip is to identify what most scares or challenges you about the 3-Day, and really focus in on that. Stick to a training schedule and get a work out buddy to motivate you. Give yourself small fundraising goals and reward yourself when you hit them. Make new friends on your team by the end of the weekend. Whatever helps you, go for it and grow! Don’t forget that your coaches is an excellent resource for you if you need support in any way – you can find them on their Facebook pages, separated by walk, on these Facebook Event Pages, on our website at The3Day.org/Coaches or by calling 800-996-3DAY.

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To make lots of new friends

In speaking with coaches, walkers, and crew, everyone has a story of someone they have met and connected with on the walk. Some meet on training walks, others with a random tent-mate, at the dining table or along the route. The welcoming spirit is pervasive throughout the whole 3-Day experience, so lean in and go for it! Walk up to a stranger. Compliment someone’s shoes or tutu or team T-shirts. You never know, you could be meeting your brand new bestie.

To feel a whole lot of emotion

Yes, even those who claim to “never cry” might shed a tear or two, especially during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. That’s okay! Emotion is welcomed and encouraged at the 3-Day. You will meet survivors, people currently battling breast cancer, and people who have lost loved ones. Maybe you are one of those groups of people. Maybe that’s why you walk. No matter the reason that brought you to the 3-Day, you’ll likely get hit with all the feels on the walk – and we embrace it, because the 3-Day is healing.

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To be tired and sore

Walking 60 miles is no joke. No matter how fit you are, this will take a toll on your body. That is why it’s important to properly train, continuously hydrate, and pay attention to your body during each step. Also remember that there are Sweep Vans patrolling the entire route that can take you to the next rest stop, or camp, if you have walked as far as you can. We know you can do it, and we know you know yourself and just how far you can go. You got this!

To spread the love

Once you’ve walked the walk, you’ll want to talk the talk too. Tell your friends, your family, your doctors, teachers, dog walkers, book club, financial advisor, and anyone you can! Spreading the 3-Day love will help you recruit new team members, expand your fundraising list, and put smiles on people’s faces. You can also spread the love online by interacting with our community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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To come back again

One of the greatest part of the 3-Day is seeing people year after year, and often times in multiple cities each year. Once you get hit with the 3-Day “bug,” you’ll probably want to come back for more. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself signing up for your tenth walk before you even know it! We’ll be happy to have you back, and welcome you into the 3-Day family with open arms every time.

What else would you add to our list for people new to the 3-Day to expect? Let’s hear it!

Meet Your Michigan 3-Day Coaches

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Hey Michigan—are you ready? With just a little over two weeks to go, we’re preparing to give you the best 3-Day experience, which will be led by your amazing Michigan 3-Day coaches team. Get to know this rock star team who will be guiding your sixty miles of greatness!

Coach Gina Guerreso says she and her fellow coaches “are compassionate and dedicated with a little bit of spunk! Who doesn’t like a little spunk?”

We certainly do!

Especially when it comes in the form of Coach Gina, and her fellow Coaches Heather Snyder and Jennifer Hanskat.

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

Gina says, “Both Jennifer and Heather are so relatable as coaches. They pour their heart and sprinkle love into everything they do and ensure an incredible experience for our Michigan 3-Day participants.”

This dedication to the 3-Day began at different times and locations for all the ladies.

Heather says the 3-Day was “always something I wanted to do. Then, in the February of 2015, when a friend formed a team, I jumped on board. I started training ASAP and fundraising PDQ (that’s ‘Pretty Darn Quick’). I’m so glad I did! I completed all 60 miles with no injuries and raised $4500. After that, I was hooked!”

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Jennifer and her husband

Gina and Jennifer got hooked a few years earlier, Gina in 2004 and Jennifer in 2002. Then, in 2003, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she returned to the 3-Day in 2004. She has been walking and/or crewing since, joining our 3-Day staff in 2005. They make a key part of our Michigan 3-Day family! And they truly are a family.

“The love and support our 3-Day family gives to each other all year long is nothing to be taken lightly. We are a family, and like many families, we share the same values, passion and beliefs which propel us forward in our 3-Day journey,” Gina explained.

Heather, who is the newest member of the team, echoes that sentiment, saying, “Jennifer is a “get it done” personality. She will offer to help, take on extra tasks, and make it happen. Then Gina is always comforting, compassionate, and the soft touch on the team. But clearly she is a “can do” little spirit as she leads hundreds of crew and volunteers. I’m lucky to have been accepted into this awesome circle of women!”

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches pause and pose on event with other staff members.

What else propels them? All three coaches love music (Heather especially recommends “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit for your walking playlist), a good dance party or sing along, and bright colors! All three would love to have the superpower of flight, but Jennifer would also choose the power of invisibility or being able to “be able to heal, both physical wounds and emotional wounds.”

In her new home state of Michigan, Jennifer recommends stopping by The Library and Buddy’s Pizza. However, if you need a chocolate fix, she says you have to visit Twelve Oaks Mall and the Sanders store! All the coaches have serious Michigan pride, but still have some far-off destinations on their next vacation list.

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Jennifer and her husband when they finished the Philadelphia 3-Day in 2014.

Heather has Fiji and a future birthday spent in Italy on her list, while Jennifer wants to plan an extended visit to Australia. Gina has her eye on Europe, with Italy and Spain at the top of her list!

Before they can jet off though, they are working hard to have the Michigan 3-Day all ready for their tremendous walkers and crew! Stay tuned for more memories from the coaches this week on the blog, and be sure to follow along with them on Facebook too!

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

A 3-Day Family Affair: Mother’s Day with Heather Morse

Some moms will spend this Mother’s Day weekend at brunch or the spa, on a vacation with their families, or even by simply taking the day to sleep in and relax. For others, including mother and 3-Dayer Heather Morse, this Sunday will mean a town-wide canning event to raise money for her long-time 3-Day team “Cup Crusaders.” Luckily, Heather wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Joined by her family, including three sons aged 16 to 29, Heather will once again be supporting the 3-Day this year, and that includes on Mother’s Day.

Being a mom has shaped much of Heather’s experience with the 3-Day family, including speaking at 3-Day camp in San Diego last year.

“My sons didn’t know I was doing it until that night, but I thought it was important for them to see. I wanted them to see what I was capable of. I wanted them to see the inspiration, and the hope and why it was so important to me.”

That was evident in her speech, where she broke out her 3-Day journey into steps. She walks her initial 8,000 steps for her boys, because they come first in her life. The following steps are for all the other children’s parents who have the disease and everyone with loved ones who are fighting.

“I wanted it to be more impactful and inspirational, but put a little humor in it. I even talked about lunch where you laugh and cry and talk with people. You can feel alone when you have this diagnosis, but ever since I’ve done the 3-Day I’ve had an outlet and a support group to not feel so alone.”

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Her first breast cancer diagnosis came before her involvement with the 3-Day, but once she was re-diagnosed, Heather realized it was something she had to do. She started off by crewing, and then joined a team to walk those 60 miles. After the first few years, her youngest son joined the Youth Corps to support her and last year, all three of her sons walked side-by-side with her as she continues to fight Stage IV breast cancer.

That diagnosis was the original reason she became a part of the 3-Day, because she wanted to meet others also battling Stage IV. She was looking for a “little hope” from a new support system, and the one she found has also become a support group for her boys.

“It has made me feel so proud, and I was so happy that they were getting an outlet as well. It makes me happy for them to see so many cancer survivors, because it gives them hope.”

20170509_122911Hope and passion are something Heather and her family have in spades, as is evidenced by their increasing involvement in the cause. This involvement begins, and continues, with fundraising.

Though her family was involved with her fundraising efforts “since day one,” that fundraising has grown and evolved over the years. In addition to her annual Mother’s Day canning event, Heather and her team also fundraise on their personal social media channels, at local restaurants, and with a motorcycle barbecue.

“We do a motorcycle ride every year where people pay to be part of a guided motorcycle ride, and then there is also a whole BBQ with live music and vendors. We’ve done it for a few years so almost everything is donated, and we raised around $3,500 last year. Then we had a few local companies do a $1,000 match as well, so we end up making even more for our team!”

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The key, she says, is to look professional, and take your fundraising as seriously as possible.

“You need to have posters and signs and dress in pink and present yourself well. Really try to look as legitimate as possible!”

It is the fundraising aspect that makes the 3-Day truly unique in Heather’s eyes.

“It’s amazing the people that you meet and how they touch your lives,” she says. “This raises so much wonderful money, and so much awareness for Stage IV. When you do the fundraising, you meet a lot of people. You touch a lot of people, and they touch you. You learn their stories! And then on the 3-Day you become a family.”

Morse is, of course, lucky to always have her own family on event with her. This is what she is looking forward to most for 2017; seeing her sons walk and captain the Youth Corps again. She can’t wait to watch them succeed along with her friends and breast cancer survivors.

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These wins, and positive successes, are part of what keeps her going year after year.

“The biggest thing in the world, and one of the ways you survive, is keeping your psychological part of your body healthy.  If you keep your mind healthy, that helps keep your body healthy. Being positive and keeping busy and active, I think plays a direct role in your physical health.”

That’s why you’ll see Heather out and moving with her family this weekend, and this coming 3-Day.