Our 2023 Denver 3-Day Milestone Award Winner is Julie J.!
Affectionately known as Alaska Julie, this is her 32nd 3-Day over the past 14 years, raising a grand total of $90,400.13. Her friend Melissa describes Julie as “one of the most giving people that I know and my ray of sunshine when I need it. If she sees someone in need, she jumps to their aide and makes whatever they are going through just a little bit better. I love that I can call her my friend.” Her friend Heather says that Julie is “the kindest, most selfless person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” and that “she is always there to support her fellow 3-Dayers with words of encouragement or much needed advice.” Discover all that makes Julie an embodiment of the 3-Day.
What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?
In 2006, I was living in Arizona and saw a commercial for the 3-Day. At the time, I didn’t know anyone who had gone through breast cancer, so I wanted to learn more. I was at a point in my life where I needed to do something to make a difference, so I signed up to walk with a friend who later opted out. Without a walking buddy, I went to a “Get Started” meeting and met someone who told me to call Liz, her team captain. I didn’t think I could be on a team because I spent my summers in Alaska and couldn’t train with my teammates year-round, but I soon found out how wrong I was. Liz kept me engaged while I was away and when I got back to Arizona after my summer in Alaska, I met the team and walked with them for the first time. It taught me that you can be part of a team no matter how far you may be from one another. You can even be part of more than one team! I am currently on BC Babes and Team Walking On, depending on the year and city we’re walking in.
What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?
My first year, I said I’d do one 3-Day and be done. Boy was I wrong! The joy of walking is meeting new people and hearing their stories. I once met a woman who was walking with her drainage tubes in, and at that moment I decided I was walking until there were cures. Also, there is the joy of the “Pink Bubble” and how we are changing lives. We know that we all have a huge community to reach out to for advice, strength, prayers, laughter, and that they will let you cry in their arms.
What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?
Ask everyone. Ask them more than once. Think outside of the box. Living in Alaska, doing a group (team) fundraiser isn’t an option for me, so I do burlesque to earn money to go toward my fundraising goals. At the burlesque shows, they announce where my money goes and remind people to get a mammogram. Other than that, I once did a 5-mile Alaska run for women and said I would wear a full corset that I designed if I raised $100, add a wig for $150 and a tutu for $200. I raised $100 so I wore the corset for a 5-mile run, causing someone else to donate $200 because they couldn’t believe I did it! Do they not know me? Plus, I attend all the fundraising webinars that Coach Molly does and I learn something new each time I join.
What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?
Enjoy the journey! Talk to people to learn their why and tell them why you walk. Also, take a sweep van! You’ve already raised the money and awareness, and your goal is to walk out of the Opening Ceremony and into the Closing Ceremony. The rest is fluff. Stop and smell the roses! Participate in the evening activities, which are very fun and are a great time to meet and reconnect with walkers.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I do burlesque and I’ve swam with sea lions, even though I don’t swim. I’ve also done the Polar Bear Jump in Seward, Alaska during February, where the water temperature was warmer than the air temperature. I emcee races dressed in costumes and sing the National Anthem. In fact, I once sang the National Anthem dressed as a zombie and somebody donated $100 because they couldn’t believe I did it. Once again, do they not know me?!
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?
To listen to my body and do what is needed during the walk. I know we are not alone, that each step we take and each dollar we raise is making a difference, and that each person’s journey is different. I’ve learned that I will keep walking till there is a cure. I couldn’t do the walk without the support of all those who donate and send me mail, the coaches, my amazing teammates and all those in the Pink Bubble who radiate love and energy 365 days a year.
Julie’s friend Tanya says that her “knowledge of the 3-Day, commitment to finding the cures and her eagerness to be of assistance when/wherever she is needed is truly immeasurable. Julie’ s infectious smile and upbeat demeanor portrays the epitome of the 3-Day. Sprinkle on Julie…Sprinkle on.”