Congratulations to the 2019 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Melissa Melson

For the 2019 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 2019 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Melissa Melson!

Her Team Captain, Janice Shore, raves about Melissa!

“The Hines Pink Pathers are so very happy that Melissa is receiving this award! Melissa is considerate and kind to all she encounters and is always willing to help with questions or problems, whether it is 3-Day related or not. Melissa really puts her heart and soul into everything she does including her commitment and dedication to the 3-Day!”

We got to know Melissa a little better, and learn more about the serious impact she has had on the Michigan 3-Day. When she was answering these questions, she didn’t yet know that she’d be our award winner!

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

I am not sure what it was. It was just a feeling truthfully. I had heard about it before and the end of 2011 on the radio and was inspired by the 3-Day message and ad. I heard the advertisement on the radio and I just felt like I had to sign up. I was stuck in traffic and it just felt like the right thing to do.

My mom’s mom had breast cancer probably 20 years prior but no one else had it when I first walked. Despite not really knowing people diagnosed when I first signed up, that was soon to change, and it turns out the 3Day was leading me right where I needed to be! My mom ended up being diagnosed right after the end of my first walk with stage 2 almost 3 breast cancer. The following spring a classmate was diagnosed at age 30 with Triple negative breast cancer, and she died 3 years later. Many more have been diagnosed over these last 7 or 8 years including my stepmom as well.  Watching then fight such a hard fight made me frustrated and I needed to do something. Unbeknownst to me, the 3-Day helped me find my way to help, my purpose before I knew I needed it.

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

The people I met on my first 3-Day became the family I got to choose. It was an amazing positive and proactive environment despite having a rough first walk. I didn’t train like I should have. I didn’t have the right shoes, and I didn’t know anyone really when I started. I was about 80 lbs heavier, but the happy pink bubble draws me back every year. I could have had blisters and sore muscles from head to toe, and I would still come back year after year.

It’s also the list of names I walk for that grows each year unfortunately.  More people need me. I feel like I need to raise money for those who can’t and walk for those who are unable to. This walk gives me a way to help, a way to deal with a feeling of helplessness to help my loved ones when I cannot cure their cancer or take their pain away.

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

Start early, do a variety of things, and join a team if you need the extra support to help, give you ideas, and they can help you train and be better prepared too. I send emails and reminders. Just because someone doesn’t donate this year doesn’t mean they won’t next year, or that their busy life won’t get them sidetracked and they forget.

Contact local businesses, talk to your job to see what you can do there. You can do online fundraisers where you can reach people outside your neighborhood or social circle. Try a lot of different things because what works for one community might not work well in yours. What works for your friends might not be as successful with the people you know, so broaden your reach and try a variety of types of fundraisers until you figure out what works for you.

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

Be prepared (train, good shoes, and focus on health going in) but also have fun. Don’t rush, stop and enjoy the pink roses lol. Enjoy all the beautiful people and the 3Day family. This is a pink bubble, that is unlike anywhere or anything else in the world.

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I was just on Channel 4 news, interviewed by Paula Tutman for a recently developing passion! I’ve always cared about the environment and animals and living creatures. I think pesticides that kill bees and pollinators are not good for us either and I can do something to help pollinators and the world we live in. I found out a way to help and started my own pollinator and environmentally friendly flower garden. It is over 15 ft long and about 4 feet wide and doing pretty well considering this is my first year as a gardener.

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

  • Do what you can, the best you can.
  • One step at a time.
  • I cannot tap out until Cancer does first.
  • Great shoes go a long way.
  • Health and hydration sure make life easier!

Congratulations, Melissa!

Meet Your Michigan 3-Day Coaches

Hey Michigan—are you ready? With just one week to go until our first 3-Day of 2019, we’re preparing to give you the best 3-Day experience, which will be led by your amazing Michigan 3-Day coaching team. Get to know these rock star women who will be guiding your sixty miles of greatness!

First, meet your newest Michigan guide, Coach Jen! Fellow Coach Gina describes her as kind, patient and says that “her passion for the 3-Day shines as she works with the participants.”

Coach Heather echoes that sentiment and “can’t wait for Jen to see how amazing the Michigan 3-Day community is!”

Coaches Heather and Gina know the fantastic Midwestern community well, and you might remember them from last year 😊. Gina says that Heather is the “heart of this 3-Day. She gives 1000% to make sure our walkers are supported, loved and successful in their 3-Day journey.”

But we can’t forget Coach Gina herself! Coach Jen says Gina has been a wonderful guide for her first Michigan 3-Day.

“With so much experience on the Michigan 3-Day, Gina fills our crew members with knowledge, embodies the kindness that she asks of them and just puts a smile on everyone’s face.”

These are your coaches for the 3-Day weekend in Michigan, and they can’t wait to welcome you with the same love and support they have been sharing with each other (and all of you) for the last year.

But what can you expect from the Michigan 3-Day?

Lots of fun new updates, including a hotel campsite.

Coach Gina is especially excited for the hotel camp, saying, “Change can be exciting, and I look forward to seeing how our new ‘campsite’ adds to the already amazing spirit of the Michigan 3-Day!”

The hotel camp has LOTS to look forward to, including:

  • A comfy bed with fluffy pillows
  • Air conditioning (key with the Michigan summer heat!)
  • A LONG hot shower
  • A bit of night-time TV viewing (recommended by Coach Jen for relaxation!)

But those aren’t the only things that Michigan walkers will love. There are a few spots that Coach Jen wants everyone to keep an eye out for on the route too…

  • On Day 1, I look forward to walking by the Novi Senior Center where all the residents came out last year to cheer on our walkers. Everyone had so much fun! We’re expecting the same this year.
  • On Day 2, my favorite spot has got to be the Plymouth Town Square, where there will be a little extra pink in honor of our 3-Day walkers. All of the Saturday morning hustle bustle around Kellogg Park always makes Coach Heather smile, too.
  • Coach Heather also loves the awesome residents who come on out to North York Street on Day 3, and really “bring it!”
  • On the last day, Coach Jen looks forward to walking into Closing Ceremony at Ford World Headquarters. It will be pretty special this year because we will celebrate not only our accomplishments on the 2019 Michigan 3-Day, but all the success we’ve had over the years fundraising and generating awareness in the fight to end breast cancer!

These coaches know better than anyone how much work all our 3-Day participants put into the Michigan weekend, and they can’t wait to celebrate all your achievements.

Coach Gina says it perfectly.

“After 15 years and countless events, my 3-Day ‘why’ became much more personal over the past couple years and has renewed my energy in this fight. My own breast cancer battle brought surgeries, chemo, radiation, and my life is forever changed.

I am blessed because I had my 3-Day community by my side, and they lifted me up when I needed it most and got me to THIS moment. The 3-Day to me is a family; a family bound together by their passion, enthusiasm and drive to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.”

Your Michigan coaches count each other, and all of you, as part of their 3-Day family. And they are so hopeful that you will enjoy and make the most of this weekend.

If you need some last minute 3-Day tips, they have you covered there too.

  • Coach Heather says to drink LOTS of water…but also make sure to appreciate every moment with your friends and 3-Day family throughout the weekend.
  • Coach Jen says that if you haven’t yet met Michigan 3-Day walker George Nummer, this weekend is your perfect chance! She encourages participants to introduce themselves and spend a few minutes talking with him on event! He is such an inspiration and will participate in all seven 3-Day events this year.
  • Coach Gina brings it home again, reminding everyone to “Savor the moments. Every step, each interaction. As the saying goes, ‘It’s the little moments that make life big.’”

Here’s to a BIG weekend in Michigan with our 3-Day family! The coaches can’t wait for you…Let’s go

2019 Michigan 3-Day Route Preview

It is almost here! The Michigan 3-Day is next week, and as you get ready for the event, we have a preview of what you can expect on our first 3-Day of the year! We can’t believe the weekend is almost upon us, but your Michigan 3-Day staff and coaches have been hard at work all year long to plan a fun-filled weekend for everyone heading to the Great Lake State.

After getting great feedback on our route from last year, you’ll be happy to see some familiar sights, but we have taken extra effort to make this year even better than the last! That includes an updated experience for our Opening Ceremony and camp, both of which will take place indoors at the Sheraton Detroit Novi. We will be taking over three different hotels in the Novi area, spreading the 3-Day spirit far and wide.

You can follow along with us on Facebook to see the grand unveiling of what the new Opening Ceremony will look like, but Event Production Manager Melanie Toner thinks everyone will love the new set-up!

After the Opening Ceremony, walkers will start their 60-mile journey. There will be changes to the route as we walk in and out of camp, so that we can give our walkers a direct route in and out of the hotel, and Melanie and the 3-Day team are working hard to make those changes extra special.

After walking out of the hotel, walkers will cross over Interstate 96 and head North to Walled Lake and into Novi. Keep an eye out for our first cheering station of the day and then an amazing photo op at Pavilion Shore Park.

After this you can look forward to some new route stops, but we will still visit all the amazing Michigan towns that have been such great hosts to us in the past. That includes the quaint neighborhoods of the Walled Lake community that embody the lake culture of the Mitten state!

Then, we will finish our day back at the new hotel camp.

Melanie says, “You can expect the same elements of 3-Day camp and your night with your fellow 3-Dayers that you’ve loved in the past! It will just be spread over two floors. Although we are moving camp from the outside, the move indoors creates a new and exciting atmosphere with all the comforts of home! (indoor bathrooms anyone?)

The first floor will hold our Opening Ceremony, and following the ceremony, the space will transition into your 3-Day Dining Room for the rest of the weekend. It will include the all-new 3-Day Lounge brought to you by Amgen, complete with charging stations, giveaways and frozen yogurt! And back again this year (to everyone’s delight) is a fan favorite, the Bank of America massage chairs. Also be sure to visit the 3-Day store, get your 2019 Michigan pin and buy a 3-Day “wish you were here” postcard for to a loved one! Don’t forget to bring stamps.

Then on the second floor there will be the medical team, a Manduka stretching area, our Youth Corps area and more! It will be a space for connection, community and a chance to refuel”

Ann Love, another member of our Michigan Event Production team, echoes this excitement, enthusing, “I am very excited to see the hotel portion of the event come together. The hotel has been really supportive, and I think everyone is going to love what we’ve put together!”

Day Two will start with the Bank of America Breakfast of Champions for our Top Fundraisers. Usually honored on Friday at Camp Show, this recognition will now take place before we leave camp first thing on Saturday.

Day Two we will head south through Novi again, and then into Plymouth where we’ll pass by the Plymouth Historical Museum. We will spend much of the rest of the day in Plymouth, including visiting Kellogg Park, where the familiar Pink Fountain awaits and walking along the Ann Arbor Trail Road and then into Northville, another historic Michigan community.

At lunch on Day Two, we will reach the halfway mark of our walk… and we’re going to celebrate! Enjoy special photo opportunities, a local DJ and more excitement. This new celebration will take place at all of our 3-Days this year, and we are especially excited to debut it in Michigan.

One of Ann’s favorite parts of Day Two is that it will be a shorter route, thanks to the new hotel camp location. We have heard your feedback about Day Two being a bit long and taken that into account this year.

Day Two will end back at camp with an all-new Honor Ceremony. This special addition will include stories from walkers, crew, Youth Corps, and more. You’ll even have a chance to share with the world why you commit 3-Days.

Melanie says that our Day Three route is very similar to last year. “We know people loved it, so we didn’t want to change that feeling!”

The day will start with a short bus ride to an elementary school in Livonia. Then much of the day still takes place in Dearborn, including a pit stop at the Dearborn Historical Museum. This is just one of the fun destinations right in the heart of downtown Dearborn. York Street in Dearborn is especially supportive of our walkers, coming out in full force to cheer them on. Also keep an eye out for gorgeous views of the Rouge River near the end of the final day of walking.

Other highlights to look forward to on the route throughout the weekend are:

  • Walled Lake
  • Cheering stations in downtown Plymouth
  • Ford Field in Dearborn
  • Hines Park
  • Downtown Northville (Ann especially love the historic homes)

After 60 miles, our walk will once again finish at the Ford World Headquarters. This has been such an iconic and special spot for our Michigan 3-Dayers, and we are honored to once again be able to finish our journey there.

Instead of having a separate Participant Finish Area and Closing Ceremony site, we will have one celebratory Closing Festival area. So, all the excitement can be in one giant space! There will be live music, crowd games and prizes plus even some line dancing!

When the last walker arrives, we will immediately begin the Closing Ceremony. The Closing Ceremony will be like what you have come to expect in past years, but with some new festive additions.

The celebration will be for everyone, regardless of when you finish! Plus, having the Victory Area also hold Closing Ceremony means there will be less walking after you finish your 60-mile journey! Which we know our walkers will love 😊

All in all, we are looking forward to showing off many new additions to the 3-Day this year and kicking off our 2019 3-Day season in style.