Congratulations to the 2017 Philadelphia 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner

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For the 2017 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re honored to be featuring 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. They have also supported the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, been making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2017 Philadelphia 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Stephanie Hartman.

This is her 7th year as Captain of the Youth Corps and 12th year participating in the 3Day. She has raised more than $1,400 this year!

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Where does she get all her 3-Day spirit? Let’s hear from Steph! When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!

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

I began participating in the 3-Day in memory of my mother.  I have been involved with the Race for the Cure since I was 8 years old (in Philadelphia, in Pittsburgh during college, and recently DC).  When I heard about the 3Day, I knew it was a way for me to do more and honor my mother’s death.

My mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer at the age of 33. She had a mastectomy after a mass was found.  She was 2 months pregnant with me. Further scans showed the cancer had spread throughout her body including her vertebrae, skull, and sternum.  She began chemotherapy when she was 10.5 weeks pregnant.  At 13 weeks pregnant, she had her ovaries removed after metastatic tumor deposits were found. She continued treatment for the duration of the pregnancy.  I was born premature but healthy.

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At the young age of 36, my mother’s battle with breast cancer ended.  I was only 2 years old.  My mother left behind her loving husband (my father) and 6 children (ages 2-16).

My first inspiration was for my mother, my sisters, my nieces, and myself.

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

I have many reasons for coming back year after year. Obviously, my initial reasons: to honor my mother and because I don’t believe any child should grow up without a mother, but as I have participated over the past 11 years, I have gained more and more reasons.

The 3-Day has brought me a 2nd family. When I first started the 3-Day, I thought breast cancer automatically meant death. I was afraid for myself and my family, and thought it was an inevitable future. Because I was so young when my mother died, I didn’t see her struggles or her strength as she went through treatment and still raised my siblings and I. Through the 3-Day, I have met so many strong survivors and fighters and I have been touched by so many stories.

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My most recent reason is my 6-year-old family! 😉 I became involved with the youth corps in 2011, the inaugural year in Philly.  Growing up without a mother, I immediately wanted to be involved with the youth corps to help support youth.  Through the youth, we have developed a very close knit family.  Since 2011, we have had 96 different yc members in Philadelphia.  Growing up, we never talked about my mom’s cancer or death.  I often felt alone in the grief of the loss.  I never want any of these youths to feel alone.  I keep in contact with every member.  We have reunions and get-togethers every year. These youths and their families keep me coming back year after year.  I have made bonds with the families, and have added more and more reasons to my list of fighters, survivors, and angels.

Of these 96 youth, 20 have walked AT LEAST 1 event, 7 have crewed including 5 that have served as leaders on the youth corps, and a handful that have come to camp to volunteer as camp angels.

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

I have been very fortunate to have family and friends support me through donations over the past 11 years. Most of my most successful have been group fundraisers with the youth corps. We have held coin drops, beef and beers, set up tables at craft fairs, and most recently have helped to run a baseball invitational.  My nephews are members of a travel team in Towamencin, PA. The Towamencin Travel Baseball teams host a breast cancer invitational to raise money for the cause. Over the past few years, the youth corps has been very fortunate to help at the event by gathering raffle baskets before the event and by selling raffle tickets, 50/50 tickets, and merchandise at the event.

As a team, we surpassed the $150,000-mark last year. The youth corps has been very creative with their fundraising. They have organized triathlons, bike races, dance classes, self-defense classes, and in school fundraisers.

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

Before event: Train. Train. Then train some more.  (I have not trained for any of my walks. I said I was going to and have advised other too, but “I’m a runner so I don’t have to.” Haha… Quickly did I learn that running and walking are not the same thing at all!)

On event: Have fun! You have already done the hard part. You have already raised over $2300…. This weekend is a celebration! Make lots of connections with others. Talk to them – tell them your story and ask for their story. Don’t hurt yourself trying to do all 60 if your body needs a break. Crossing the finish line on Day 3 is amazing – so pace yourself and enjoy the weekend! You need to be able to walk and function at work on Monday.

After event: 1- Sign up again! J 2- Keep in touch with those you connected with. We are all family!

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What’s a fun fact about you?

It may come as a surprise, but I am a demi-god molded from clay and given life by Zeus. That’s right, I am WONDER WOMAN!

Okay… so maybe I’m not Wonder Woman but I do like to think I have boundless energy and am able to save the world.

All of my favorite ‘jobs’ involve children.  Aside from my day job of inspiring and teaching middle schoolers in Philly or past jobs of social work or nannying, I constantly surround myself with children.  I am the proud aunt of 7 nephews and 3 nieces (2 of whom live in Hawaii).  You can often find me cheering them on while they play various sports, building LEGOs, or acting like a kid on some crazy adventure.

My newest amazing adventures have come at the hands of a smart and silly 4-year-old. I have been very lucky to have found a new ‘job’ in helping the love of my life raise his beautiful daughter.  (Yes, I now know every word to every song in Moana…)

It’s no wonder that I jumped at the opportunity to captain the youth corps in 2011! So, maybe I’m not Wonder Woman, but I think spending my time with all the kids in my life make my life even more special than being a demi-god.

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

Not to be afraid to open. Not to be afraid to accept help (I’m still not good at number at this!), and – We are family!

Open up: I have met so many amazing people of the years that I have come to know as family. I am one to want to help others and to hear other’s stories. I have learned to open up more and have enjoyed talking about my mother and my initial reason for doing the 3-Day.

Accept help: I am still learning. As a walker, in both Philly and Michigan, the lovely crew have made sure that I care for myself even when I have been trying to help others. J As YC Captain, I luckily have amazing leaders (and youth) on my team that have made sure I take care of myself on event.

We are family: I have met some amazing people over the years. Life is not always a straight path that can be planned for. It is often winding with crazy ups and downs, and some plateaus in between. We are a family. These amazing people you have met will be there for you through the good and bad, and you will be there for them.

On behalf of all of us walking, crewing, and supporting the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, thank you Steph. We can’t wait to see all your pink 3-Day spirit on future events!

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.

Celebrating Incredible Kids: The Susan G. Komen 3-Day Youth Corps

March 15th is Incredible Kids Day, and we know a group of kids who can be described as nothing less than incredible: the Komen 3-Day Youth Corps! These courageous kids apply, are selected, and have to fundraise at least $500 to join us on event. While they’re on the 3-Day, their tasks can range from anything to helping pass out lunch to cheering on the tired walkers. On the 3-Day when you see a flash of yellow, you’ll no doubt see smiling kids, perking up everyone around them. On Saturday in Camp, our Youth Corps gets up and shares the compelling reasons why they wanted to be involved. This moment is no doubt always filled with a few tears and big smiles.

We asked our Facebook community to share a few stories about the Youth Corps they know and love. Please join us by sharing your own special Youth Corps story in the comments, and let’s give a round of applause to these incredible, caring kids!

Julie Jokinen The Youth Corps is amazing! In Philly as I was walking to the restroom at breakfast the kids were at their tables still a little bit sleepy. I yelled “Good morning, Youth Corps.” I got a small response so I said “You can do better than that!” so I yelled again and they all jumped up and yelled good morning.
As we were leaving to start day 2 one of the girls came up and handed me a ribbon; she said that they were given ribbons to give to someone that inspired them. She said I had the energy they needed that morning and she wanted to return the favor. Whenever I saw her the next two days, we would hug and check on each other.

 

Mandie Reid My son, Aiden Daly, was a first time Youth Corps member in Philly last year and it truly changed him (for the good) and changed me. I was a walker and was approached on numerous occasions throughout the event advising me of how Aiden was so kind, compassionate, helpful, sweet, etc. and not to mention how he really made walkers laugh and smile at times when they needed it the most. Additionally, I was told what a great hugger he was. Now, I know that he is all of these things but it was simply confirmed when my awesome pink family continuously told me so. Oh, and not only did he help my fellow walkers but he helped me when I couldn’t walk due the severe blisters on my feet on day 1 and he even put my tent up. Having him experience the 3-Day has allowed him to become even more understanding, loving, and empathetic. He now is interested in applying for not one, but at least two events this year because he wants to make a difference. He also now considers the 3-Day his family. Thank you to all for this.

 Photo Courtesy of Mandie Reid

 

Dan Love It really was a special opportunity for our son Josh to be a part of the Youth Corps for the first time last year. As long-time participants, mom and dad would be away for the weekend in years past. Now he understands the power, beauty, and awesomeness of the event.

 

“His tent area felt just like home… stuff everywhere,” said Dad, Dan Love. (Photo Courtesy of Dan Love)

 

Linda Simons On day 2, I was sitting on the ground all alone at lunch on the Philadelphia 3-Day last year when this wonderful young man from Youth Corps came over and sat down to join me so I wasn’t alone. An incredible young man! Then two other Youth Corps members joined us. It was the sweetest moment of my weekend! We all had a great talk and I shared my story with them. I will be a 16-year survivor in August and it will be my 7th walk! Youth Corps members are so important and what an awesome experience for them all! Youth Corps ROCKS! Great job! Hoping to see you again this year, Justin!

Photo Courtesy of Linda Simons

Sherri Hallman My niece Bailey Winter was on Philly Youth Corps last year. The route had been changed to include a huge hill in Manayunk. Bailey found us at the pit stop right before the big hill on Day 2. She showed her Mom a “special” ribbon that she was supposed to give to someone who inspires her. Her Mom said “Oh are you going to give it to me?”. Bailey replied “No” and she got up and walked over to ME, pinned her ribbon on me and told me that I inspire her! I kept looking down at that ribbon the whole way up that hill and I kept on going until I reached the top! I just kept looking at that ribbon thinking “Well, I have to keep going because I can’t inspire my niece to quit!”

 

Knowing that the Youth Corps are our future makes us feel proud and grateful. See more stories from our 3-Day community here! Want your child or an incredible kid you know to be a part of this life-changing event? Hurry, applications for the 2017 3-Day Youth Corps end on March 15!