Amy and Alison: Two A+ Examples of 3-Day Crew Awesomeness

We’ve said it many times before, but the sentiment can never be overstated: the 3-Day absolutely would not be possible without the hard work put in by our dedicated, all-volunteer crew. “Extraordinary” is a word we really could use to describe any 3-Day crew member, but as National Volunteer Week continues, we’re happy to be able to shine the spotlight on a pair of crew members whose commitment truly sets them apart.

Amy Nadeau and Alison Glancz come from opposite points of the country, but they share something in common: they are both incredibly passionate about being part of the 3-Day crew, and have both been fixtures on the 3-Day for over a decade.

Amy lives in Dexter, Michigan with her husband Mark, and the two of them first became part of the 3-Day in 2006, a year after Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. “When I finished my treatment, Mark and I were just beginning to think about how we could give back—or maybe ‘pay it forward’ is a better term—for the advances that made my recovery possible. I saw a commercial for the 3-Day, we went to a Get Started Meeting and the rest is history!”Capture

Alison, who hails from Atlanta, also attended a meeting at the beginning of her 3-Day journey: “I went to a meeting in 2005 as a sorority representative on UGA’s campus. I saw the video and knew it was something I had to be a part of, so I signed up that night. I guess 23 events later you could say I’ve become addicted.”

Alison Glancz

Alison Glancz

You read that right: 23 events for Alison; she walked her first three years and has crewed multiple events—20 total—every year since 2007. “Crewing honestly means the world to me. While I enjoyed walking, I LOVE crewing. It’s an opportunity for me to give back to walkers who come back year after year and devote themselves to an amazing cause. The crew is its own family, it’s just a giant reunion on event. What’s not to love?”

Amy’s 3-Day resume is equally impressive; both she and Mark have crewed the Michigan 3-Day every year since 2006, and Mark also walked in 2015 to celebrate Amy’s 10th year as a breast cancer survivor. “We chose to crew because we wanted to focus on serving the walkers. It’s a way to say thank you for what their efforts have made possible for me and all those who did and will come after me. I firmly believe that I would not be here today, if not for the advances made possible by the 3-Day and other events like it.”

Crewing the 3-Day means long hours and hard work, so making the commitment year after year to volunteer as crew members is remarkable in itself. But so often, crew members like Amy and Alison go above and beyond by spending months fundraising leading up to the 3-Day, in addition to working their tails off for 4 days at each event. Crew members are not required to raise money for the 3-Day, but that hasn’t stopped Amy and Alison.

“Mark and I fundraise, even as crew members,” Amy shared, “because winning this fight can’t happen without funding, and being a crew member rather than a walker does not change that need. We aren’t shy about asking people for their support–sometimes repeatedly–and we always use our personal story to illustrate why this is so important.” Together, Mark and Amy have raised over $100,000 since they first started with the 3-Day in 2006.

Mark and Amy Nadeau

Mark and Amy

Alison’s feeling about fundraising as a crew member is right there with the Nadeaus. “I’ve raised over $52,000 in these 11 years. So crazy! When I switched over to crew back in 2008, I still wanted to contribute, and my goal was always to raise the $2,300 minimum, just like the walkers. I wanted to have a similar impact. Each year my goal just kept increasing, and I learned not to be afraid to ask anyone and everyone.”

Who could say no to this?

Who could say no to this?

When I first reached out to these two ladies, I wasn’t aware of any connection they had with each other, and they each didn’t know that I was in contact with the other, so it was a delightful surprise when, coincidentally, Alison sent me a photo of her with Amy! Turns out that their paths crossed for the first time on the 2015 3-Day in Michigan. “Alison was captain of lunch in Michigan last year and I was on her crew,” Amy told me. Alison added, “It was my first event there, and everyone (especially Amy!) welcomed me with open arms. It was an amazing event, and I’m registered for it again this year.”

Amy and Alison looking cool

Amy and Alison looking cool

So what’s next for these two? As you might have guessed, their 2016 schedules will include more memories made crewing at the 3-Day. Amy and Mark will be in Michigan again this year, Amy on Camp Services and Mark on Gear and Tent. Same goes for Alison: “I will definitely be in Atlanta, in my usual Camp Services role. People know to look for me in my crazy costumes at camp every year! As of now, I’m also planning to be in Michigan and Philadelphia, definitely on the road.” We couldn’t imagine these events without them.

It’s difficult to put into words the effect that the 3-Day has on a person, whether they be a walker or crew member or some combination of both. Amy and Alison stand as two examples of people who embody a belief that you can’t help but share once you’ve felt the 3-Day magic. Alison sums it up perfectly: “I honestly can’t imagine my life without the 3-Day. I’ve seen a lot of things in 23 events, but one thing always stays the same: this is the most amazing, brave, beautiful, strong group of people I have ever met.”

 

Buzzing by Pit Stop 1 with Crew Captain Steve

On Day 1 the Michigan 3-Day, pit stop 1 is buzzing: from the contagious energy of fresh walkers just over 2 miles into their journey, to the excited and energized crew, to the beautiful weather shining down on the first 3-Day of the year. At the entrance of the pit stop, a friendly and familiar face greets each and every walker: “Hey, how are ya? What’s buzzin?” The welcoming smile of this person only grows more enthusiastic with each new walker, no doubt because every walker who sees him and his “jugs” laughs almost immediately upon sight.

MrBooBee

Steve, “Mr. BooBee”, at the 2014 Michigan 3-Day

Now, let’s be clear: on a breast cancer event, we can say “jugs” as a euphemism for breasts, but in this instance, we actually mean jugs – empty water jugs, the tip of each embellished with a fuzzy bee, googly eyes, pom-poms, and all. Welcome to the hive: this is pit stop 1, a BEE-utiful bumble bee themed pit stop, complete with fearless leader and crew captain Steve Z., a six-year supporter of the 3-Day. Steve was a self-proclaimed “walker stalker” for two years, supporting his fiancée as she walked. “Then I couldn’t take it any longer and HAD to join,” he said. “I walked the following year and crewed pit stop 2 the year after that.” He was promoted to crew captain last year, a role he’s returning to this year.

How did Steve hear about the 3-Day? “I really got brought to it by my fiancée, Barb. She has such a passion for this event, it’s infectious. She has two cousins who are survivors, my mom is a survivor and she and I have walked for Team Suze Cruise, where Sue has been an inspiration to so many.” Like so many other people involved with the 3-Day, Steve is struck by the numbing truth is that we all know somebody affected by breast cancer. “When I walk into the Remembrance Tent every year, I am so saddened, but steeled to fight breast cancer. To see the devastating effect it has on not only the person with the disease, but also their family and friends…. It’s heartbreaking.”

Some members of the BooBees at Michigan Pit Stop 1 at the 2014 3-Day

Some members of the BooBees at the 2014 Michigan -Day

We heard about Steve because of some amazing feedback about him from his fellow crew teams, and also because of the incredible kindness he (like all crew members) demonstrates to the Michigan walkers. “I’m very lucky. I have a great crew, who are friends more than ‘co-workers’ really. I have been lucky enough to make many friends here at the 3-Day. They make me a better person and captain,” he said. “I try to get to know each crew member, find their strengths and weaknesses, and work to their strengths, while supporting them with things they might need help with, always remembering that not everyone can do everything. It’s kind of that whole theme of this year’s crew message of ‘Inclusion.’ We ALL bring something to the party, so use those strengths to progress forward.”

While talking to Steve, it’s obvious that his leadership shines through compassion and the ability to understand a diverse group of people. Steve honed these skills in the army. “I was an Infantry Drill Sergeant, and at the Closing Ceremony, even an old drill sergeant gets misty.” (You’re not alone Steve – we think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t get misty at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 3-Day!)

“I can honestly say that the forced marches I did with my troops are every bit as hard as the walk for the 3-Day. Sixty miles in three days is a pretty damn impressive thing to accomplish. I’m proud to be a part of this event and organization,” Steve says, smiling, as he continues to cheer on walkers entering his pit stop. Steve’s contagious energy is drawing walkers into the hive like a beautiful flower, and as smiles erupt around him and his jugs, the spirit of the 3-Day shines through.

Crew members at Pit Stop 1 are all smiles handing out snacks bright and early today on Day 1 of the Michigan 3-Day.

Crew members at Pit Stop 1 are all smiles handing out snacks bright and early today on Day 1 of the Michigan 3-Day.

David of Cleveland Cleavage and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Community

Those who know the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® know that above all, the Komen 3-Day is a family. New and returning participants alike are greeted with open arms, warmly welcomed into a bold community that is bravely fighting breast cancer with passion, drive and stamina. We caught up with David G. and several of his Cleveland Cleavage teammates, to learn more about what the 3-Day® means to them.

David and his Cleveland Cleavage teammate Tina head to the lunch stop on Day 3 of the Michigan 3-Day.

David and his Cleveland Cleavage teammate Tina head to the lunch stop on Day 3 of the Michigan 3-Day.

David’s friendly blue eyes twinkle as he recounts his numerous 3-Day events; all told, David has raised over $24,000 in the 11 3-Day events he’s been a part of (nine as a walker and two as a crew member). David became involved in the Komen community in 2005 by participating in several Race for the Cure® events in Cleveland with Nancy, a decades-long friend who was battling breast cancer. David decided to walk the 3-Day for her and several other people in his life who were lost to cancer. “I decided to surprise her in 2010 and told her that I was going to be doing the 3-Day. She was over the moon happy. I did it in July of 2010 in Cleveland, did the final Race for the Cure with her two months later, and then about three weeks later she took her final turn, after a ten year fight. I walk for her, and for my grandma, my best friend, my neighbor. I’m walking for them all,” said David.

Like David, his new Cleveland Cleavage teammate Rachel K., from Macomb, Michigan, also has a very personal connection to the cause. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Rachel remembers those she’s walking for as a way to keep her inspired on the route. “I always remember the reasons why I’m walking. Don’t forget, because those people are cheering you on. That’s what gets me through.” Rachel walked the 3-Day once before in 2008. (Fun fact: Rachel joined the Cleveland Cleavage team after seeing the team’s photos on Instagram!)

In addition to Rachel, David was joined this weekend in Michigan by several other members of the Cleveland Cleavage team, and his face lights up as he describes his love for Cleveland. “Born there, raised there, lived there my entire life. I love Cleveland!” While the team’s name is inspired by the Ohio city, the sixteen members of the team (including one Youth Corps member) are from all over the country, including Michigan, California, Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia. “We’ve got half the country represented,” David jokes.

What does this bunch think of walking Michigan, even when their team names boasts an allegiance to Cleveland? “I could almost throw a rock at Michigan from there,” David says of Cleveland. “I’m blessed to still be so close to an event,” he said. “I’m driving to Philly and flying to San Diego, so distance won’t deter me.” He adds, “Plymouth was the most awesome cheering station I’ve ever seen.” That’s saying a lot, from a guy with David’s level of experience.

David and Jodi, a member of Cleveland Cleavage

David and Jodi, a member of Cleveland Cleavage

David’s love of the Cleveland community also echoes in the way he’s successfully raised funds over the years. David describes his fundraising efforts as creative and local, including several types of events like bowling parties and wing nights. “I just try to come up with new things,” he said.

It’s a pleasure talking with David and his teammates, and before we know it, their lunch break has ended and they’re ready to keep moving. I know that with the Michigan 3-Day Closing Ceremony just a few hours away, this may be the last time I see David on this event, but I smile knowing I’ll spot his tall, smiling personage in more 2014 3-Day cities. His parting thoughts? “Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the people. Enjoy the atmosphere. If you walk all 60, great. But you’ve already done the hard part by fundraising to get here. And that’s where you help the cause. The walk is a celebration of that.”