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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Meet Ian Glenn, Twin Cities Route Safety Captain

 

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All photos via Ian Glenn

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we wanted to make sure to recognize all the men, whether they are fathers or not, who make up our 3-Day family. One such amazing guy is Ian Glenn, Twin Cities Route Safety Captain, husband, father and all-around super 3-Dayer.

When Ian began dating his now-wife Missy in 2005, she was already a 3-Day walker, and she brought him into the 3-Day family. Year by year, Ian became even more involved.

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“After a few years of being the Day 1 chauffeur, I joked with Missy that the only way I’d seriously consider participating was if I could ride my motorcycle on the event as a crew member. She didn’t miss a beat when she told me that the safety crew had bicycles and motorcycles on it. I knew that she was always excited leading up to the event, and had nothing but good things to say about it after, so I had no choice but to try to get on the route safety crew.”

After Ian joined the safety crew, the whole family started getting involved, beginning with their oldest son Gaven and now including their daughter Alex, both of whom are in the Youth Corps.

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“I think it’s fantastic that the event is accessible to all ages, and we can include our kids in something that is bigger than us, and bigger than our family. It has been a good lesson for them that working for the greater good, and giving of themselves in service to others, is incredibly rewarding. I think too, that it has gone a long way for us to have something shared amongst our family, something that will continue to bring us together year after year, no matter how old the kids get.”

Whether they are walking or volunteering or crewing, Ian and his family know the true value of the 3-Day crew, and want others to join them this year!

“As a longtime crew member, I can say that volunteering your time on the crew is vital to the success and atmosphere of the event. Having crew members smiling, and cheering, and being there to support the walkers when they’re tired, and their feet hurt, and they’re hot, it just makes their day. We’re there to support the walkers on their journey and let them know that they’re appreciated, and we support what they’re doing. The can-do attitude of the crew makes the hard work not so hard, and even fun.”

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If you want to walk those 60 miles though, the Glenn family won’t be the only ones cheering you on. Ian says that no one should be nervous about starting their 3-Day walking journey.

“I think making the leap as a walker is scary, but incredibly rewarding. There are lots of resources in your participant center on training, and packing, and general help. If you reach out on social media, you won’t find a more caring, supportive group of people to meet and go on training walks, or fundraising tips, or even shoe recommendations.”

That support and community have extended beyond the online community and into their lives.

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“Many of our longtime friends we’ve met on the 3-Day and continue to have contact with them all the time. It’s a physical and mental challenge, there’s no doubt, but with the right support, a new walker can do it, and have a great time too.”

It’s more than just fun and family for Ian. Though his three days and many miles of service are an investment, he does them gladly, to make a difference for his family and beyond.

“It’s a satisfied feeling that is hard to put into words. After the long weekend, and the work is over, I find myself renewed every year, and I am reminded that despite everything that is going on in the world, there are lots of great people who care about big causes, and have committed to support them any way they can.

The walkers and other crew give me way more every year than I feel I give back, but I think the feeling is mutual, and that’s why I keep coming back.”

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Don’t count the Glenn family out of their involvement anytime soon either! There are more Glenns to come as 3-Day volunteers and walkers.

“Our almost 9-year-old is practically counting the days until he can apply for Youth Corps. It’s rewarding  to see that enthusiasm from all our kids for something that doesn’t directly benefit them.”

 

 

Bringing Your Bestie to the 3-Day is the Best

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A best friend is a powerful thing. They make you laugh, support you when you’re down, challenge and drive you to be better, and sometimes know you even better than you know yourself. All this, and more, makes a best friend a pretty perfect partner to have at your side on the 3-Day.

Bring your bestie, and this year could be your best 3-Day yet! If you need more convincing, we have stories from coaches and walkers about how their besties brought them into the 3-Day family and helped them take those extra steps to get through all 60 miles. We also have several promotions this month that can bring you and your besties to the 3-Day in style. Read on for inspiration, information, and smiles!

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Stephanie Jo from Facebook  – “Walking with you got me through, Jessi Wendland! We were walking for 2 amazing Julies [my aunt Julie & her mom Julie].”

Tisho Jessop, Philadelphia Participant Coach: “My BFF got me started on this whole adventure! In January of 2008 she called me and said “I keep seeing these TV ads for a 60-mile breast cancer walk. Is that something we should do?”

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Judith and I have been friends since 1988. We were roommates after college, we were each other’s Maid/Matron of Honor and we both have a connection to breast cancer. Both of her grandmothers had it (one passed from it and the other was a survivor who passed of another cause). When Judith called me I was in the midst of losing my Aunt Barbara, who died about 5 weeks later.

We went to a Get Started Meeting and ended up forming Team BFF to walk the 3-Day that October. It was such a bonding experience and we loved every minute of it. 11 events, 9 years and $27,000 later I’m still an avid 3-Dayer and I will always be grateful that my BFF knew this would be a healing and passion-finding event for me.”

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Faren Ann from Twitter: “One of my favorite walking friends shares a birthday with me (next Monday!) I am so happy she is part of my life bcuz of #the3day!”

She also later shared that her friend Laura “is bringing some great friends to Philly who I am looking forward to loving as much as I ❤️ her!”

Julie Bagel, also from Twitter, had a similar story! She and Faren connected when she shared: “Small world, because TWO of my favorite walking friends share a birthday! 😉 xoxo”

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Gayla Cruikshank, Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach: “I hosted a Walk & Talk recently where I met up with Jeri Cliff (front left) with Angels for the Cure along with her daughter, Khristy and granddaughter, Bailie.

Jeri decided after the 2016 Michigan 3-Day that she would “retire” and hang up her 3-Day walking shoes. That was until her granddaughter, Bailie turned 16 in March and was finally eligible to participate as a walker. Bailie has been supporting and cheering for her grandmother for the past five years from the cheer stations. She let her mom and grandmother know that she wanted to walk this year. When the VIP Slumber Party promotion was launched, Jeri figured this was a perfect opportunity to “come out of retirement” and walk with her daughter and granddaughter for their first event.”

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If you haven’t heard of our Slumber Party promotion, don’t worry, there’s still time! Now through April 19th, if you recruit two new walkers to register for the 3-Day, you earn a VIP Slumber Party or two-night hotel stay. The VIP tent sleeps four people, so there is plenty of room for you and your best friends. It comes with comfy blow-up mattresses, phone chargers, specialty 3-Day pajama bottoms and more! Talk about a best friend glamping weekend!

To learn even more about bringing your besties to the 3-Day with you, we will have a special Facebook Live chat with Coach Gayla this week! On Thursday, April 13th at 10:00 a.m. Coach Gayla of Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day coaches will talk with Jeri, Sue, and Rhonda as they share their tips and tricks for growing your team, getting ready for the 3-Day, and all the fun promotions we have going on now. Don’t miss it!

What are some of your favorite memories of the 3-Day with your best friends? Share in the comments!

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