2021 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Recap

The 2021 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day was two years in the making. With lots of planning and pivoting and Covid protocols and safety measures put into place, the Komen 3-Day family finally reunited in beautiful San Diego this past weekend! And what a beautiful and magical three days it was. Grateful and excited participants, volunteers and staff took over the city of San Diego after a two-year hiatus and picked up right where we left off in November of 2019.  

Day 1 

Friday morning was cool and hazy as walkers, filled with excitement, started to make their way into the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Thousands of people decked out in their pink outfits, pink accessories, and even pink masks eagerly gathered for the Opening Ceremony. The crowd was buzzing with elation and anticipation as the ceremony began, freely waving ribbons in the air. We heard from participants whose lives were affected by breast cancer, highlighting how Komen’s four pillars of research, care, community and action have played a role in their personal experience with breast cancer.

Our survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led us out on the route to signal the start of our 60-mile journey together. A parade of pink took their first steps on the route, passing Dog Beach and continuing into Del Mar Village.

A tunnel of cheerleaders and walker stalkers greeted walkers as they passed by one of our favorite neighborhoods on the route! Their eyes widened as they passed through the pink-hued bubbles from the bubble machine and welled up as they felt the love from the Del Mar community. Passing through a huge arch of bright pink balloons with pink bras scattered around the building next door was one of the highlights of this spot along the route! 

Walkers then stopped for a quick snack at the second pit stop along Torrey Pines Beach, posing for photos on the lifeguard towers before heading up the infamous Torrey Pines Hill. At the bottom of the hill, walker stalkers cheered boisterously and held signs with words of encouragement. Walkers certainly earned their lunch at Kellogg Park after trekking up the steep hill! 

One of the most beloved spots along the route is the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, where walkers watched the seals down below sunbathing on the rocks. Walkers stopped to pose for photos at this fan-favorite destination.  They made their way through the quaint neighborhood of Bird Rock, where a handful of shops and boutiques were handing out goodies. This was a perfect spot to take a break and admire the colorful mosaic benches scattered throughout the neighborhood!  

Later that day, walkers made their way past Fanuel Street Park and then into camp, buzzing with excitement to pitch their pink tents! Smiles across their faces emerged as they crossed off their first 20 miles. They ended the day with full stomachs from dinner and yummy desserts, some settling into camp overnight, and others heading off in shuttle buses to local hotels. They ended the day with full stomachs from dinner and yummy desserts, the perfectly sweet and tart lemon bars were a favorite among walkers!  

At camp, walkers picked up mail from friends and family as well as legacy pins they had earned. ecoATM provided highly coveted battery packs that walkers used to charge their phones at camp and Natura Bissé provided refreshing mists and samples to try throughout the weekend. There also was a ShopKomen tent with clothing and accessories available for purchase, our sweet mocktails and munchies, and massage chairs provided by Bank of America.

Our Friday night activities officially kicked off as the last walker made his way into camp and raised the flag. Afterwards, the Bingo Boyz took the stage for a night full of bingo, prizes, and lots of laughs! 

Day 2 

At our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, we celebrated our top fundraisers and awarded them with donations toward their 2022 3-Day fundraising provided by Bank of America. These participants raised an astounding amount of money this year that is helping us get that much closer to a world without breast cancer. 

Afterwards, walkers headed onto the route for Day 2 as they passed over the bridges of Mission Bay and crossed into Ocean Beach, enjoying the views of the water as the sun peeked out from behind the morning marine layer. 

The San Diego bike cops grooved with and greeted walkers into the Sunset View Elementary pit stop before stopping to take photos at picturesque Sunset Cliffs! 

After walking along the stunning ocean-front streets of Sunset Cliffs, walkers made their way to lunch at Bonita Cove where a multitude of walker stalkers and furry friends cheered them on. At lunch our Halfway Celebration welcomed in walkers as they passed through the metallic silver and pink streamers. The DJ cranked up the tunes and gathered a large crowd of hyped-up walkers, crew and youth corps for the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Wobble.” 

They walked through the quaint town of Mission Beach and back along toward camp at Crown Point Shores. On the last mile of the route, the first-ever Memorial Mile featured photos of loved ones who had lost their battle with breast cancer. Quietly and solemnly, walkers made their way back to camp, many with a lump in their throat and tears on their face, as they walked by the beautiful photos of those for whom we walk.   

This led us into the Honor Ceremony later that night where we were reminded of why we walk, why we fundraise, and why we commit to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.Three participants shared their personal stories with us about the people who motivate and inspire them to walk. At the end of the ceremony, we turned to those beside us and told them about who we walk for, sharing stories, memories, and hugs with strangers who quickly became family. And then we solidified our commitment by lighting our candles for those we’ve lost.  

Day 3 

On the morning of Day 3, walkers woke up to one of the most beautiful orange and pink sunrises emerging over the water at Crown Point Shores as they lined up at the start line to finish their 60 miles. We all took a moment to appreciate the beauty that San Diego had to offer and be thankful for the weekend of sunny skies and warm weather. 40 miles down, and 20 to go. 

Walkers made their way through Mission Beach to the first pit stop at Belmont Park and passed by Sea World. After passing this San Diego staple, they walked to Old Town and conquered Juan Street Hill! We watched as a pair of walkers hiked up the hill and embraced each other at the top with tears filling their eyes. It was an emotional moment, witnessing the strength and determination that is within each of the people in the Pink Bubble.  

After the journey up Juan Street Hill, walkers had lunch at the beautiful Pioneer Park in Mission Hills. Our crew was there with the biggest smiles and made sure everyone received delicious wraps and salads to fuel them along the remainder of their walk. Walkers rested on Mohawk Flooring’s SmartCushions as they enjoyed their lunch under the shady trees before heading to the medical tent for massages! 

Walkers stopped at the Walgreens cheer station in Hillcrest for snacks, drinks, and were elated to be offered anti-inflammatory gel to help them on their final leg of the journey! 

At the final pit stop in Balboa Park, the crew was ready to serve up drinks and snacks as the sun beamed down in the afternoon. A cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow was there to welcome walkers into the “Pirates of the Cari-bosom” themed pit stop. Crew certainly dressed to impress for the theme, complete with everything from pirate hats to eye patches. One walker stalker and his talking pet parrot, Emmy, even came out to cheer everyone on! 

It was an emotional end as walkers crossed the finish line into Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. Many walkers Facetimed with friends and family who could not be there with them as they walked through to the end.  

Walkers and crew were excited to receive their finisher medal from our National Presenting Sponsor, Bank of America as a symbol of their incredible accomplishment. Our 2021 3-Day season ended with one of the most memorable Closing Ceremonies that honored survivors, walkers, crew, and Youth Corps. The crowd of pink was set against a stunning view of the downtown skyline on one side and palm trees lining the street on the other. Together, we continued the tradition of raising our shoes to salute breast cancer survivors and those living with breast cancer, filled with so much love for our 3-Day family and for those we walk in honor of. 

Our 2,300 walkers, 250 crew and 180 20-mile walkers celebrated as we recognized the incredible accomplishment of the $9.2 million raised in the fight against breast cancer!  
 
From the moment the event started on Friday morning, through the very last seconds of the Closing Ceremony on Sunday evening, we were surrounded by love, hope and kindness. There were endless moments of inspiration. And it was a constant reminder of the power of this incredible community.  
 
While we revel in the accomplishments of the 2021 San Diego 3-Day, we can’t help but look towards 2022 when we’ll have the opportunity to come together in New England, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego.  
 
Congratulations and thank you! 

Jason C. shows us how to extend GRACE to others and ourselves, on the 3-Day and beyond

Continuing our “Word of the Year” series, this month Jason C. shares his story, and how he has found GRACE in the 3-Day community.

Tell me about your 3-Day experience.

I have walked in a bunch of 3-Days! Every one of them as special as the one before. My 20th walk was New England in 2019. Over the years, I have walked in San Francisco, Michigan, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Dallas/Fort Worth multiple times. I signed up for 3-Day Nation 2021.

What is your 2021 word of the year?

My word of the year is GRACE.

Why is that your word of the year?

The reason I chose the word grace for my word of the year is very simple. I am working on giving more grace as I know we are all dealing with difficult times. Sometimes strangers or loved ones need a moment of grace when something comes out wrong, or a situation becomes intense. I am working on being patient and giving grace. This includes with myself. I have found that can be a very difficult one to manage. We all need to allow ourselves a bit of grace to help manage these difficult times with our heads held high.

Why do you participate in the 3-Day?

I started participating in the 3-Day when my late sister Sharla was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt like it was an impactful way for me to help support the breast cancer community locally and support the funding for research to eradicate this disease. My surviving sister Shelva and I lost Sharla back in 2010, after four courageous years battling for her life and her kids. The pain and burden is still in my heart, knowing that there are other families who are going through a similar difficult time. I promised myself I would keep this goal and intention in my life until I see it through. My late husband Gregory Trogstad, my mother, my sister and brother-in-law and so many of our other family members all keep walking until there is a cure.

What does the 3-Day family mean to you?

The 3-Day family is my family. We have a 3-Day team that has been as large as 22 walkers and crew, and as small as just two of us (due to work/life happenings). Every walk has been a blessing as I get to spend three days in the pink bubble with friends and family, all of us loving and supporting each other. Our 3-Day team was named after my sister, but it was just the beginning. Our family has blossomed and developed into multi-city and multi-state team members. The best part is that on every walk we meet new family members and share stories, laughter, and tears. It makes it worth all the effort. We are so blessed to have one another, and for that I am so grateful.  

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day?

Grace is a word that connects in my mind to the 3-Day on the difficult days. There are so many trying times in the world currently. And for those having to go through chemo and radiation during a pandemic, I cannot imagine the frustration. Allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling, and learning/growing from it, is grace. Have grace with yourself to accept that you are doing your very best for today, and know you will get back up and do your very best again tomorrow.

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?

TAKE… IT… ALL… IN. From the crazy fundraisers to the occasional training walks when you really aren’t in the mood to do one. Those times are a chance to laugh and have community with a likeminded person focused on helping in some small/big way to change the world. Being able to share my sister’s story and her courage helps me by being able to share about what an amazing person she was, but also how lucky I am to have had her as a sister. Sharing the memories keep her close to my heart and my mind.

We want to know: How are you showing GRACE to others and yourself, on the 3-Day and in your life? Check back next month for the next blog post in our “Word of the Year” series.

Lori M.’s 3-Day Story and Connection

Lori M. is no stranger to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. She has completed three 3-Day events, and is currently training for her fourth. This one is different though, as she comes back to the cause after an 11-year break. What happened during those 11 years, and why walk again now? Read on to find out more about Lori M.’s incredible story.

I have done the 3-Day three other times, all in Chicago. The first two times were done with my mom. Our first and second time was in honor of my mom’s husband’s first wife and daughter who both battled breast cancer and lost the fight. In 2010 I walked with three other ladies; our team was “cops for a cure.” I have been a 911 dispatcher for 16 years for my county, and at that time, one of our own was battling breast cancer: Flora #139 from the Portage Police Department. Flora is currently 11.5 years cancer free. She is still a police officer and continues to “fight like a girl.” In 11 years, two childhood friends of mine, one who is a single mom and one who is a very young friend, who both mean the world to me, are currently going for radiation once a week.

In August 2018, my husband, Mark (but everyone calls him Randy), was diagnosed with leukemia. He was the love of my life, childhood sweetheart and best friend. We started living a little more after that, we always loved going and doing things, never sat still, and enjoyed our vacations. We started taking more pictures and going more places. The only times we weren’t together was when we were each at work. We have three beautiful sons and daughters who have given us three grandchildren: two boys and a princess.

Our world took a gut punch again on December 31, 2020 when Mark was admitted to the hospital with Covid. He lost his battle on February 13, 2021 after fighting for six weeks in the hospital. I, along with my children, mother in-law, and a few family members, were fortunate in being able to be with him when he passed. We will be welcoming our fourth grandbaby in December (a baby girl). She’ll be named after her papa in heaven; Randi will be her name.

To say my days have been difficult is an understatement. In addition to taking care of my mom, my days are full of work, kids, and life. I am busy, consumed with trying to just go through life day by day. I didn’t find time to mourn, miss him, to have alone time to just focus on myself. I just kept thinking I need to get away, to think. I tried a vacation with some friends…that didn’t work. I then started seeing more ads for the 3-Day. I got to thinking about it, ignoring it, seeing more ads, ignoring them. Then I pulled up the Susan G. Komen Facebook page and tried ignoring it again.

I finally pulled up the page, looked at it, prayed and thought, “ok, maybe.” Then things started falling into place. I looked at my work calendar because I thought “oh, I’m probably working” (good excuse to say no). Nope, I am off work that weekend. I did a lot of praying, talking to myself, maybe trying to talk myself out of it. I registered and committed to raising the money and walking 60 miles again while not being in shape, 11 years older, and an emotional wreck.

I made contact with Coach Tisho; I had a few questions for her. I think I was hoping she would tell me something I didn’t like to give me an excuse to back out. I didn’t tell anyone that I had signed up, I kept it to myself. I did a lot of praying, planning, searching myself. I knew from previous walks I would have time to myself since I wasn’t walking with anyone this time. I could walk, think, talk to God, finally be alone in my thoughts, talk to my husband. I knew there would be no distractions. I knew I’d be surrounded with survivors, strong women and men on a mission. I wanted to watch them and be inspired. I told God, “If you want me to do this, I need to hear from you, loudly…I need to know this is something I’m supposed to do, not me running from life clear across the country.”

August 5, 2021, I walked into church; only the third time in seven months. It has been difficult to go without Mark. I walked in, sat down next to a cousin and they started playing “Nothing Else,” the same song I played daily for six weeks, the same song I played as my husband took his last breath. As our preacher began to speak, he told the story of Peter being commanded by Jesus to get out of the boat and “WALK.” The message I got was loud and clear: GET OUT AND WALK. I went home, posted about my Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day walk, spoke about how this all came about… and the donations started coming in. 

Within five days, I passed the amount needed and have raised my goal to $5,000!!!!  

I’m inspired by women who have battled and survived breast cancer. I’m looking forward to flying across the country, pushing myself, and being surrounded by strong men and women all on the same mission.

Walking 60 miles in three days is hard, but it’s STILL easier than breast cancer.