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.

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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.

Let’s Talk About Glamping

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Did you know that people have been glamping for centuries? Although the word itself didn’t enter our vocabulary until around 2000, the first noted example of “glamping” was in the sixteenth century, when the Scottish Earl of Atholl prepared a marvelous experience in the Highlands for the visiting King James V and his mother. The Duke raised lavish tents and filled them with all the provisions of his own home palace.

Well, if it’s good enough for a monarch, then it’s certainly good enough for our 3-Dayers!

For the two nights you spend with us on the 3-Day, we like to think we take camping up a notch. Yes, you will be sleeping in our signature pink tents, but there is so much more to our glamping lifestyle than that! You will also experience the excitement of being surrounded by hundreds of your 3-Day friends, the fun of our activities to help you stay fresh and ready for the next day of walking, and of course, the deliciousness of our breakfast and dinner feasts.

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We also recommend that everyone stop at our special Remembrance Tent, where you can take a moment to reflect on those for whom you walk. It’s a more somber and emotional spot in our 3-Day camp, but certainly one that helps keep many 3-Dayers find new strength and motivation throughout the three days.

There is also the 3-Day Lounge with special treats and drinks, plus spots to spend some quiet time with a magazine and a comfy chair, take a picture with friends, and check the 3-Day Post Office to see if you’ve received mail from a loved one at home and pick up a Sweet Treat if a kind supporter treated you.

This all sounds pretty great, right?

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If you want to take it up another notch this year, we also have a special opportunity for a truly VIP Slumber Party experience at our 3-Day camp.

If you recruit two first-time 3-Day walkers by April 19, we’ll arrange for you to have a VIP slumber party together on the event. What will that include? You will have a glamorous large tent that sleeps up to four people, complete with air mattresses and pillows. Add in phone chargers and camp chairs, and you’ve got a pretty cozy set-up! Still not enough? You’ll also receive souvenir pajama pants to take home for each member of your party (up to 4). Check out The3Day.org/Refer for all the details.

If you don’t want to stay at camp, you can choose a reward of two free nights at a 3-Day host hotel for the Friday and Saturday of the event, instead of the slumber party.

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Bonus! If the first-time walkers you are recruiting also live outside one of our 3-Day markets, they’ll get a free plane ticket,if they register by April 19 with discount code BYB17. Visit The3Day.org/Bestie for more information about that offer.

Glamping just received an upgrade. What are you waiting for?

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