Never Giving Up: Meet Nikki S., Former AVON 39 Walker

Nikki (left) and her Aunt Lynne

“My aunt was a mother figure to me.  She had a huge hand in raising me, teaching me right from wrong, explaining all the joys of being a woman (lol), and so much more. She was my biggest supporter, my biggest fan, and wasn’t afraid to tell it how it is. Honestly, I don’t know how I would’ve turned out if it wasn’t for having her and my uncle in my life.”

Many of our 3-Dayers have lost loved ones to breast cancer, but that never makes hearing their stories any easier. It just adds to the motivation, focus, and determination to finding a cure. No one knows this better than Nikki S., who has been both a 3-Day and AVON 39 walker in the past.

She will be returning to the 3-Day this year in memory of her aunt and godmother, Lynne. Having walked in Boston in the past, Nikki knew she could not hang up her walking shoes after the AVON 39 left her home state, and so will be journeying to Philadelphia this September to walk for a cure. Coach Tisho is already “so excited to introduce her to the rest of our family,” and Nikki echoes that excitement as well.

“I am excited for the opportunity to continue to support the cause. Even with AVON no longer being offered, I needed to continue walking in my Auntie Lynne’s honor.”

Lynne’s husband, Nikki’s uncle

Her Aunt Lynne was first diagnosed with breast cancer when Nikki was young, and watching her courageous fight inspired Nikki to first join the 3-Day when she was in college.

“Being a stupid college student, I was pretty confident that I could walk the 60 miles without training AND wearing sneakers I had bought the week before. Funny, huh?! I made it through the first day and a half, until I couldn’t walk through the blisters anymore. I had to shuttle back to camp and call my aunt to come pick me up! We had a good laugh, and she was still proud of me for raising the money, supporting the cause, and trying.”

A few years later, Lynn’s cancer had progressed to metastatic stage 4, found in her lungs and throughout her bones. Nikki began walking the AVON 39 in Boston for Lynne. Sadly, in 2016, Lynne lost her battle — and Nikki lost her dear aunt.

Nikki and her uncle

When asked to describe the importance of the 3-Day, and breast cancer walks, she recalled memories of those tough times.

“Watching my Aunt’s health quickly deteriorate; Hearing her wish she could just go back to work and have normalcy; Having her there to listen to my “bad days” and offer advice, while she never complained about her treatment; Wanting more time and more of her advice; Seeing my Grammy and Grampy lose their first born; Watching my Uncle grieve the loss of his ‘bride’ after their 28 years of marriage and a lifetime of love; The heartbreak that my daughter still goes through, missing her Auntie.”

It is heartbreak that motivates Nikki and keeps her working towards a cure.

She’ll be heading to Philadelphia as a Super Fundraiser (she has raised more than $20,000 in total over the years for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® and the AVON 39) and has a unique success strategy to reach her fundraising goals.

“I would like to surpass my fundraising from last year. I had organized and hosted a very successful comedy show fundraiser, and hope to do the same this year.  It was a great experience, and a great way to attack my fundraising goal.”

We are honored to welcome Nikki back to the 3-Day family this year. Alongside Nikki, we walk for Auntie Lynne. We will never give up.

“We can do more together” Meet Lenore C., Former AVON 39 Walker

lenore III

Lenore (in blue) with her teammates

This year, our 3-Dayers will see some new faces on walks across the country. That is because we are going to be welcoming walkers from AVON 39 into our pink family — and what a welcome addition they will be! Every new participant, from AVON 39 or any other source, is another warrior in our fight against breast cancer.

One new walker who has already joined the 3-Day® is Lenore C., who, along with some of her past AVON 39 teammates, will be walking the Philadelphia 3-Day. Lenore was born in Philly, and her family still lives there, so she is especially excited to be returning home for a cause she loves.

lenore walk

“I’m excited to walk for freedom from breast cancer in the town that freedom built, and to be cheered on by (sort of) a home crowd.”

And how does she feel about making the switch from the AVON 39 walk (a two-day, 39-mile breast cancer walk that ended in 2017) to our 60-mile 3-Day? She is taking the new challenge on with enthusiasm and motivation!

Lenore

“When I saw Susan G. Komen was reaching out to AVON 39-ers, I felt a kinship and felt welcome. We are all in this together, after all. I have always known we can do more together than we could ever do alone. We can cure this thing! I’m walking so that one day, soon, daughters and sons will wonder what was breast cancer the same way they wonder what the heck we’re talking about when we mention rotary phones.”

She, and three members (so far) of her team, Team Transformation, will be making the journey from New York to Pennsylvania in pursuit of this goal. They are excited to join the 3-Day family, and have already begun training and fundraising together. Lenore plans to raise at least $5,000 but secretly has a goal of hitting $7,500.

How is she working to hit that goal? She’s doing it with teamwork!

Team Transformation has been combining training and fundraising with fun, local events in their community. “Bake sale, walk. Grocery store setup, walk. Talent show, walk. Joy of Walking class then a walk.”

lenore Transformational seminar

When they can’t walk together, they even FaceTime as they train separately. Anything to keep the family feel of their team alive. If she has to walk alone, Lenore listens to audiobooks to stay motivated, and gets in training whenever she can, be it early morning, late night, or even at lunch. After years on 39-mile weekends, she knows that training will be more important than ever for the 3-Day.

She is following the “your goal will become your warm up” mentality, using social media and apps to track her training while she breaks in her walking shoes, stretches her muscles, and gets ready for one of her favorite weekends of the year.

lenore smile

She walks, and will keep walking… always. For herself, and for all the warriors and More Than Pink® people in her own life.

“Geri, my stepmom, 15 years a survivor, is More Than Pink! My mom, Jean, one of the strongest, most compassionate women I know is More Than Pink! And following their model strength, so is their daughter: I am More Than Pink! Ariel and Shya Kane, with their support for seeing the brilliance in all people, are More than Pink!”

We are so happy to welcome Lenore, Team Transformation, and all our future 3-Day family members to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day family with open arms!

 

Debbie S. is More Than Pink — Meet a Survivor & New 3-Day Walker

debbie avon

As our 2018 3-Day season draws closer and closer, we are welcoming past AVON 39 walkers into our 3-Day® family. We want to show them the 3-Day love, because they are a wonderful addition to our cause and they are More Than Pink®.

Debbie S., will also be a proud member of our survivor and those living with metastatic breast cancer community when she joins the San Diego 3-Day in November.

Debbie was officially declared cancer-free in 2005, and since then has been an active crusader for a cure for breast cancer, as well as a staunch supporter and inspiration for those undergoing their own treatment.

survivor

She participated in her first AVON 39 while still bald from her own treatment, and has walked in six AVON 39’s since then. She has also spoken at a breast cancer charity event in Los Angeles, A Cause for Entertainment, and was featured in Avon’s commercial last year. To say she lives to be a part of the fight against breast cancer is an understatement.

“It is so important to keep walking and raising funds for research and awareness! This is what is going to ultimately help cure this disease! Everyone knows about the strides that organizations, such as Susan G. Komen and Avon, have made and I am often asked why other cancers don’t do the same things. My answer is always: They should, you should! Raising funds and awareness is the most important thing!”

cake

That is why Debbie knew she could not hang up her walking shoes in 2018. She had to keep going, and was excited to join the 3-Day family. Her excitement extends towards fundraising, which she says was one of the things that drew her to the 3-Day in the first place.

“I’m actually most excited about raising more money and walking with others who are doing it for the same reasons I am: a cure! I’m always excited to show everyone how you can beat breast cancer and persevere. Nothing can stop us if we are determined!”

She is determined, in fact, to raise $25,000 this year alone, and has already raised almost $3,000 in the first 24 hours after registering. Though she says she began her fundraising journey with “The mentality that the minimum was enough,” she soon realized that “It is never enough! With every walk, my goal is to beat my last walk!”

Debbie Stone

How does she do it? With the same passion and exuberance that has stayed with her throughout her breast cancer journey. She starts via email, sending messages to everyone in her address book (whether she knows them or not!) as well as to any emails she can collect from friends and family. She begins emailing at least six months before her walk, also using social media to kickstart her efforts.

After that, she sends reminder emails to everyone who has not donated on the first of each month. As the event approaches, she will kick it up another notch.

“About two months before the walk, I will start sending it every two weeks. The last month, I will send it every week and eventually daily! I break them all down! They all give! I also upload my letter, with my story, to my personal page for the walk.”

photo.jpg

Simple, but effective, is her approach, and one that has shown great success in the past. This is not just how she approaches fundraising, but how she approaches life in general.

“Being a survivor means everything to me! It means that being strong and having a positive attitude goes a long way! It means I can assure others that they can survive too! Because I am proof!”

If you see Debbie on the 3-Day route in San Diego, say hello and share a hug! She is walking solo this year, but can’t wait to meet new friends and share her story and dream of a world without breast cancer.