Why I Walk: Amber B. from the San Diego 3-Day

You may have heard about some magical traveling pants on the big screen, but the group you really should get to know is ‟The Sisterhood of the Traveling Boobs,” including Amber B. She has been participating in the 3-Day since 2003 and finished her 16th 3-Day in San Diego this fall. Since her first walk, her mom, aunt, and friends have joined her on and off throughout the years. But Amber participates no matter what!

It has become her passion, and she loves putting the work into her training and fundraising to make every year better than the last. That includes her plans for 2020 and continuing to recruit new team members to her cause. She will continue to walk until a cure is found. She’s sharing some of that passion with us by sharing her story, and her best tips for newcomers.

How have your 3-Day experiences changed over the last 16 events?

I’ve participated 12 times in Dallas/Fort Worth and 4 times in San Diego.

I slept in the pink tents at camp for the first 12 years and really enjoyed that. I’ve walked through 100-degree heat and rain. I’ve done it all!

Overall, the camaraderie and organization has been amazing over the years. I was a part of the Camp Services Crew in 2009 as a first-time crew member. I really enjoyed it, but quickly figured out my passion was walking.

In the summer of 2016, I was in an accident and broke my neck and sternum. My overall goal was to heal well enough to attend the San Diego 3-Day in November because I had already raised my money. I talked the doctor into taking my halo off on Tuesday so that I could fly to San Diego on Thursday for the event. I had to wear a collar 24/7 for several months but I got the approval to travel (see photo above). I met some wonderful walkers on the flight who were supportive and checked in on me throughout the weekend. I ended up walking 21 miles that weekend, even though most of it was a mile here and a mile there. It was just so wonderful to actually be ‟normal” for the first time in months and knowing I had made a difference, even in my condition, was so good for my soul. As taxing as this event can be on the body, knowing what I was doing for others is what got me through. After that year, I spoke with a couple of ladies I went to high school with, 20-25 years or so ago (but who’s counting) and they decided to join me the next year in San Diego. I got them hooked as well and they’ve been with me ever since! Each year my team averages 2-10 people, and we’re all connected in some way.

What are a few of your top training tips? 

I do have to say that just walking and getting in shape overall was the best advice I received. Starting early and getting some good socks and shoes is also key. Use the new mobile iPhone training app, too! I used it last year and it was really helpful! Plus, the year-round training walks are always fun and a great way to get to know other walkers.

How about any fundraising ideas?

I’m lucky to have a small group of people who donate to me every year. I worry I annoy people because I’ve been asking for donations for 16 years, but people are still so generous!

As a team, we do a lot of events, restaurant fundraisers and football pots. I’ve had bake sales during the lunch hour for the last several years at my office that are also extremely successful. This year, we’re going to have a tailgate fundraiser at a Ranger game and we’re thinking about having a concert or golf tournament as well.

No matter what, just ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. So, write letters, email or ask in person. You’ll be surprised at the responses. The worst they can say is no!

What was it like in San Diego this year?

I had a team of six this year, including my aunt who is a 14-year walker and my mom, who walked with me for the first time in 10 years. So, it was wonderful! The weather was beautiful, the community was fantastic, and the support was amazing

I loved the route as well! I liked the changes that were implemented this year and crossing that final bridge on Day 3 was really beautiful.

What are your plans for 2020?

I’ve already signed up for San Diego next year! Plus, I’ve already talked to a couple of people who may walk with me. When they asked me why I walk, I told them it’s not only for the obvious reason — that one of these days we WILL find a cure for breast cancer — but that it’s also good for our mental health.

For three days we’re all the same and the love we share with hundreds of total strangers, plus the community, is unheard of. It may be physically difficult, but it’s mentally rewarding and refreshing.

Why should everyone #Commit3Days and walk the 3-Day?

First, I know we will ultimately find a cure for breast cancer and give people a chance to prolong their life with the clinical trials and medical treatment they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Also, the event itself is life changing. For three days, everyone is the same religion, same sex, same size, same color, same everything. For three days the world’s regular problems are gone, and your heart is filled with hope and love. Yes, there is a possibility you’ll be so sore you can hardly lift your legs to step up onto a curb on Monday, and you may have blisters between your toes or lose toenails, but for three straight days your heart is filled with love.

Where else can you go to see a little boy standing on the side of the road with a sign that says, ‟Thank you for walking for my mom,” or a 25 year old woman holding a sign that says, ‟What you’re doing saved my life”? Random strangers thank you for walking and offer you food and drinks just because you’re doing something nice for a wonderful cause. Businesses decorate their exteriors in pink and offer discounts to participants. I can honestly say in the last 15 years I have never come across an unkind person. It makes you believe in the world again, and in this day and age, this is definitely needed.

Join Amber on the 3-Day in 2020 by registering to join us now at The3Day.org! Right now, through the end of January, we are offering $20 off registrations, no code needed! We can’t wait to reunite with all of you on the 3-Day next year.

Why I Walk: How Mark S.’s 3-Day Training Supported His Health Journey

“I know that there are probably very few others on the 3-Day who will understand my excitement to finish 60 miles while battling my illness. I know there are many others who are battling other challenges like mine.”

The 3-Day is an amazing accomplishment for anyone who participates. The fundraising, training, and walk weekend itself push many people out of their comfort zone. Mark S. knew he would be one of those people when he decided to join the Philadelphia 3-Day this year. But Mark also knew that getting out of his comfort zone would be a very good thing!

He was diagnosed with MdDS, Mal de Debarquement Syndrome, in 2016, and has been experiencing a variety of health issues since then.

That, combined with weight gain over the last few decades due to a variety of reasons, led Mark to need — and want! — to make a change in his physical fitness.

“I read that walking helps reduce MdDS symptoms. I had tried walking for exercise many times to try and lose weight before MdDS, so walking seemed like a good option for me. When I first started walking, my limit was ¾ of a mile in 20 minutes. It took another 20 minutes after the walk for my MdDS symptoms to decrease to their “normal” levels. After all my training, I now walk 3 miles in 45 minutes during my lunch break, and the time it takes for my MdDS symptoms to recover from my walks is substantially shorter.”

While he was working on his fitness, Mark decided to join the 3-Day to really jumpstart his progress.

“Walking 60 miles for breast cancer research seemed like the perfect match for my goals. There is no way I could have undertaken this challenge when I was at my heaviest; I could not even manage to walk an entire mile! I imagine the depression, anxiety, and helplessness I often experience with MdDS are some of the same emotions someone has to conquer as they fight breast cancer. But we can all do this!”

Mark began participating in 3-Day training walks, as well as extending his own personal walks. That, combined with healthier eating habits, helped him lose more than 100 pounds!

All of that work culminated in October, when Mark began his first 3-Day in Philadelphia. We caught up with him after he crossed the finish line with a big smile on his face, and he told us how much those 60 miles had meant to him…

The 3-Day weekend was an amazing experience! It was emotional for me personally at the start and of course at the finish. Here I was, challenged to walk even one mile for exercise in early 2018, yet starting a 60-mile journey in October 2019. I never thought I would be at this point where walking this much would be part of my regular daily schedule.

During the walk, it was incredible to talk to others. I met a man who was married for almost 50 years before his wife lost her battle. There was a young mother who just recently finished her final treatment who was walking with her mother. I passed a woman who just had knee surgery four weeks prior but was giving the journey her best. There was a man in an orthopedic boot determined to participate in all 3-Day events this year. The stores were inspiring and will stick with me forever.

I also can’t forget about the Crew! The kids in Youth Corps who truly get what it means to serve others. The people who take the time to decorate the inside of a port-a-potty (I even had to take a picture of the inside of one!). The Safety Crew who made sure walkers were safe. There were so many people giving of their time to make these three days possible!

My walking journey is not finished!

We love seeing walkers like Mark accomplish new goals and reach new heights on the 3-Day and we’re honored to be a part of their wellness journeys.

2019 San Diego 3-Day Wrap-Up

We could not have asked for a better weekend to finish up our 3-Days for 2019! The West Coast brought sunshine, perfect walking temperatures and tons of community support to the San Diego 3-Day this past weekend.

Friday dawned bright and cool as we started our walk at the Del Mar Fairgrounds once again. CEO of Susan G. Komen, Paula Schneider, and our Bank of America partners, delivered inspiring speeches before introducing local participants to lead our Opening Ceremony. Survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led our walkers out into the sun and onto the route.

The start of Day One took walkers through the city of Del Mar, which always comes out in full force to support the 3-Day. Cheerleaders, local businesses and even the Toast Lady lined the streets to cheer walkers through their first few miles of the day.

After Del Mar, walkers made their way up and down the hills of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. With amazing views of the ocean, this reserve is always a favorite for photos and was lined with cheerleaders and well-wishers. From there, we made our way through the University of California San Diego campus and on to our lunch site at Kellogg Park.

Once again, walkers were beach side, and they enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine! We also met our San Diego 3-Day Youth Corps, who gave us a preview of their Honor Ceremony speeches. We left lunch inspired and ready to take on the afternoon. Walkers then made their way through La Jolla before coming home to our campsite at Crown Point Shores. The sun set as our last walkers came home, and our 3-Day family was complete at the end of Day One.

Day Two began with our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, where we honored top San Diego 3-Day fundraisers, as well as our Milestone and Local Impact Award Winners. It was such a fun and celebratory way to start Saturday!

From there, walkers made their way through San Diego with stops at Ocean Beach and Robb Field before we came to lunch at Bonita Cove. It was a sunny and spacious spot for our Halfway Celebration! Mark led everyone through our final halfway dance for the year, and then the San Diego Police Department led in further celebratory dances before lunch closed.

Saturday afternoon passed quickly, and soon our walkers were back at camp at Crown Point Shores. Our last walker kicked off our final Honor Ceremony for 2019. This ceremony honors all of the reasons we commit to this cause, including members of our San Diego community, survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer. We then raised candles to the night and renewed our promise to continue to walk, and fight, for the cures for breast cancer.

On our final day of the walk, we said goodbye to our beautiful campsite and spent the day walking through downtown San Diego. From Mission Beach Park and Bonita Cove to a cheering station at Sea World, walkers had plenty of time to enjoy the California sun and surf. Right before lunch, walkers conquered the infamous Juan Street Hill! More community support cheered everyone up the hill, and everyone made it to the top with smiles and hearts full of accomplishment!

Then we had a quick lunch stop before finishing our 60-mile journey at Waterfront Park. Our finish line festival was quite the celebration, complete with live music, games, and medals from Bank of America.

And then our 2019 3-Day season ended with an amazing Closing Ceremony, complete with one final dance party as the sun set on the West Coast. Our 1,900 walkers and 325 crew members had a lot to celebrate: they had raised $5.7 million in the fight against breast cancer!

San Diego, you and your community were amazing hosts for our final 3-Day of the year! Thank you all for your support and love and dedication to our cause. We can’t wait to see you in 2020!