Congratulations to the 2017 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner

2015 Head Shot Beach

Please join us in congratulating our 2017 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner; Julie Copaken! The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the San Diego 3-Day camp show, we presented Julie with this special honor.

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She is the Team Captain for The Keepers, and her teammates are not surprised she is being presented with this honor. They have only the best things to say about her! Their testimonials include…

“Julie is one of the most generous, enthusiastic and dedicated people I have ever met.”

“Julie has a warm, enthusiastic, infectious spirit that the carries with her in everything she does. Her passion for life and the people she loves is admirable.”

“Julie stands out as a leading fundraiser. She has consistently been a top fundraiser for the Philadelphia 3-Day and is currently 3rd in lifetime funds raised across all participants. Julie will walk San Diego this year and we are happy to recognize her significant contributions!”

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They also shared some fun facts about Julie! Did you know that she has an identical twin sister who is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon or that she has a collection of over 5000 shark teeth?! What a fascinating 3-Dayer!

But now let’s hear from Julie herself. When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!

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

I participated in my first 3-Day event in 2005. I was an Associate Brand Manager on the Motrin brand team, and I was responsible for the brand’s national sponsorship of the 3-Day — yes I designed and funded those water bottles some of us still carry with us, and made sure there was plenty of Motrin along the route to help with our sore feet and muscles! As a national sponsor, I was asked to speak at the Philadelphia event, and thought there was no way I could address the crowd unless I had been out there fundraising, training, and ultimately walking the event just like the people I’d be addressing. While I did not have any connection to breast cancer when I started this journey, I was hooked after that first event.

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

First, when I started fundraising, I realized just how many people I know who have been touched by breast cancer. My mom’s friend, my friend’s mom, my colleague – they were all survivors. And then, too many people shared how they had lost a loved one to breast cancer. And then, I started thinking about all the women in my life — my three sisters, my mom, my friends, my aunts, my cousins, my colleagues. One in eight is a staggering statistic, and it just became important for me to do my part. For the record, I hadn’t yet learned that men could be affected by breast cancer too…

Then there was the actual event. From the music at opening ceremony, to the people you meet along the way, to the powerful closing ceremony – it’s addicting. One of my favorite moments – in my life, not just my 3-Day experience – was year one, night two. We’d walked about 26 miles on day 1, and 20 miles on day 2. Needless to say, we were exhausted. But then a band started playing after dinner, and something crazy happened.

We all started dancing on those weary feet and legs of ours, and we danced the night away — we being several hundred women and a few brave men. It was just one of those moments…Truly amazing.

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Fast forward to Year #4 (2008) when the 3-Day took on new meaning for me. In August 2008 my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I wore a t-shirt that year that read “4th year walking for boobs everywhere, first year walking for one particular pancreas.” My mom and aunt came to watch me cross the finish line. My dad couldn’t make it – the chemo was taking too big a toll at that time. He died two months later, four months to the day from his diagnosis. Cancer is ugly. And losing a loved one to cancer is awful. I won’t write more about it, because words are not sufficient to describe the loss. If you could see me now as I write, the tears on my cheeks might paint a better picture.

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Then came Year #5 (2009), when I learned that my friend Mary was a breast cancer survivor. I hadn’t known; she’d been in remission from the time I had met her. But, the cancer was back. In a way I feel proud that I had been working to help find a cure for her, even before I knew her. So Year #5 again took on new meaning. My t-shirt read “5th year walking for boobs everywhere, first year walking with a heavy heart.” I walked in support of Mary, and in my dad’s memory, in an effort to find a cure for all cancer, so that fewer people have to suffer the loss I feel every day.

Then fast forward to Year #8 (2012), when the world lost Mary. I hate cancer. So, I walk…
And, funny enough, I no longer walk with anyone I knew pre-3-Day. My teammates are also a BIG reason I come back year after year. Each is an amazing woman I’ve met along the way – Maryanne, a 9-year survivor/thriver who I met around Mile 10 in 2012, and Libby, who lost her mom Brenda to breast cancer in 2012, and who Maryanne and I met at Open Ceremonies in 2014. I can’t wait to see who we might meet along the way this year to add to our team for next year!

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

I guess it’s several different things. First, I ask just about anyone I can think of. I build on my list year after year, scouring my email to see who I’ve sent emails to or received emails from. And, for the most part if we’ve exchanged emails, you’re added to the list – a list that is well north of 600 people today, and results in approximately 200 individual gifts/year across the three organizations for whom I raise money (one of which is Komen).

Second, I ask again, and again, and again, and again. I send “Friendly Reminders” to bring my request back up to the top of potential donors’ inboxes knowing that for many people like me, emails can “get buried.” Then I send “3-Weeks Until the 3-Day” and “3-Days Until the 3-Day Fundraising Deadline” reminder emails. I supplement those emails with Facebook posts.

Third, I make it interesting, funny, personal, and if appropriate, competitive – you never know what’s going to be the thing to make someone decide to donate. An example of funny – I have created a “Health of Benevolence” report tracking fundraising efforts over the years and “donor type” (including Family, Family Friends, Philly Friends, and ex-boyfriends, which always gets a laugh).

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An example of personal – including a poem I wrote about my experience of my father’s final days/moments, or sharing a list of everyone for whom I walk (both attached). An example of competitive – if I’m in the running for Top Fundraiser or close to a goal, I share that…people like to help you cross the finish line!

Finally, I follow up to ensure those who can have submitted their matching gift requests. It’s an extra step, but according to my records, I’ve raised nearly $75,000 for Komen in this way since 2010, when my company (Johnson & Johnson) started matching employee gifts 2:1 for Susan G. Komen 3-Day.

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

Do the training. Walking 60 miles is harder than it might seem. And bring an air mattress. The ground is hard! But then, enjoy every moment. Bring some pink flare. Take time to meet people along the way and share your story. Cry if you need to. Someone will comfort you. And then laugh often. And, don’t forget to hydrate and put Vaseline between your toes!

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What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m an identical twin. We look a lot alike and it’s always fun when we’re together. Oh, and I’ve taken up a new hobby! I moved to Florida 3 ½ years ago, and I started collecting sharks teeth! I have found nearly 6,000 of them in the last year and a half!

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

Finding your passion and giving yourself to it can be so rewarding in ways you may have never imagined – whether it’s the sense of progress in the fight, the sense of accomplishment in achieving a goal, the network I’ve been able to maintain through my yearly fundraising efforts, or the amazing friends and 3-Day Family I’ve gained along the way and the memories we’ve created together over time… I feel so lucky for all of it…

 

Congratulations to the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day Award Winners!

At the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day earlier this month, we were pleased to recognize some of our outstanding Komen 3-Day participants with special awards given out in camp.

Top Fundraisers

We recognized the top individual, crew and team fundraisers for the Philadelphia 3-Day® in camp on Friday.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners top fundraiser crewFor the second year in a row, Priscilla Rawlins (sweep team) was the top crew fundraiser in Philadelphia, raising $5,793 this year, and an incredible $60,075 over her seven years with the 3-Day. Priscilla is a member of Team Girlapalooza, which also got a special team recognition in camp for passing the $1 million in team fundraising this year (they’ve been a team since 2008). As for Priscilla, when she’s not participating and fundraising for the 3-Day, she coaches softball, loves Nationals baseball, and is obsessed with her FitBit.

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Team captain Vivien (left)

The top fundraising team in Philadelphia was Breast Friends of Pennsylvania, which, with 79 team members was also the largest team on the Philly 3-Day this year. Team captain Vivian Vega-Schoch, along with her two 2016 co-captains, was recognized for the team’s amazing $145,619 fundraising total (though team members were quick to point out from the audience that they had actually surpassed $146,000 since we had last checked their fundraising total!). In their four years as a Philadelphia 3-Day team, Breast Friends of Pennsylvania has raised over $478,000.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners top fundraiserPhiladelphia’s top individual fundraiser was Riley Weston, a member of team Faith Girlz, who was participating in her fifth 3-Day this year in Philly. Riley raised a remarkable $22,553 this year, and over five 3-Day events, has raised a lifetime total of $86,555. Riley will proudly tell you that she believes that miracles exist, that fairy tales come true and that prayers can change outcomes, and Inside her petite frame beats a big heart, as she asked her Philly 3-Day family to send their own powerful healing thoughts to her best buddy, her dog Cleatus.

Heaps of thanks go out to all of the Philly 3-Day walkers, crew members and supporters who helped bring the Philadelphia 3-Day to $2.7 million in total donations.

Milestone Award

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Philly coach Joanne (left) presents Candice with the Milestone Award

In Friday’s camp show, we also honored the Philadelphia 3-Day Milestone Award winner. This award is given on each 3-Day event to one participant who has an extraordinary history of involvement with the 3-Day. Philly’s Milestone Award was given to Candice Kiss, from The Pink Angels.

Candice has been part of the 3-Day family for 9 years, and the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day marked her 14th event. During her time with the 3-Day, Candice has raised over $105,000, and in addition to the 3-Day this globe-trotting walker has also participated in Komen Race for the Cure® events in Egypt and Israel and the Marathon for the Cure® (half marathon) in Phoenix, AZ. But it’s not just breast cancer events that draw her to the far corners of the globe: a new-found interest in genealogy recently took Candice on an exploration of the Azores, an archipelago of 9 volcanic islands off the coast of Portugal. Wow!

But it’s Candice’s history with the 3-Day that earned her the Milestone Award. Her friend and coworker Elizabeth said, “Candice is the consummate business professional, extremely conscientious and dedicated. These traits extend to her personal activities as well. Her dedication to the Susan G. Komen® organization and breast cancer awareness is awe-inspiring, as each year brings a greater level of hard work and new activity. Her bright personality never wanes and offers hope to others around her. I consider myself lucky to be one of Candice’s friends.” Another friend and fellow walker Sharyn had this to say about Candice: “I’m so excited Candice will be recognized for her dedication and passion. I met her years ago, when she either volunteered or worked for the Komen Affiliate. Fast forward to our mutual friendship with Bridget [a friend who passed away in 2013] and that’s where her passion, and love for her really shined. She is a tireless fundraiser for this cause. She is quiet, unassuming and humble. She’s one you want in your corner.”

Congratulations, Candice, and thank you for your years of dedication to the 3-Day community. We’re sure glad we have you in our corner.

Local Impact Award

The Local Impact Award is a new award for 2015, and is being presented to a participant in each 3-Day city who has been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day in their community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees are participants who go above and beyond with things like leading training walks, attending local events, supporting the local 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference in their 3-Day community by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

On Saturday in camp, we presented the Philadelphia Local Impact Award to Joanne Faccenda. Joanne is the captain of J-Walkers for the Cure, and has participated as a walker and crew member in 19 events over her 10 years with the 3-Day, not only in Philadelphia, but also the Twin Cities, San Diego, Tampa, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Cleveland and Atlanta. She has raised a total of $23,645.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog philadelphia award winners local impact award

Joanne has been involved with the 3-Day since 2006, after she lost a friend who was only 40 years old to cancer. She quickly became a vocal 3-Day advocate and has been essential to leading many fundraisers over the years, including ones for new walkers she befriends simply to be a source of support. Joanne has been known to travel long distances to help her fellow 3-Day walkers, and her friend Dawn told us, “Joanne makes a huge impact on other 3-Day participants. She is very encouraging and a wealth of information to first time walkers.”

Joanne’s J-Walkers teammate Maria said, “She’s everyone’s teammate. If she’s walking, you’ll never walk alone. If not, she might be hanging out a window ready to help you into her decked out, very inviting sweep van.” Joanne’s friend Astrid agreed, saying “She is one of the most caring people I know. She always puts everyone in front of herself.”

Join us in congratulating and thanking Joanne for her extraordinary commitment to the Philadelphia 3-Day. And thanks, as always, to the entire Philadelphia 3-Day family for another spectacular year.

Congratulations to Bob H., the 2015 Twin Cities 3-Day Milestone Award Winner

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Twin Cities 3-Day camp show, we presented Bob Howard with this special honor. Bob is walking in his ninth 3-Day® in the Twin Cities this year, having previously walked seven times in Arizona and once in Philadelphia.

When asked what first got him involved with the 3-Day, Bob responded, “It’s actually a little embarrassing, but the first year I walked was essentially on a dare. I had a friend who had done the 3-Day, and I said ‘I can do that, heck it’s just walking…’ Boy did I have a lot to learn!” While his initial motivation to take on the 3-Day was lighthearted, Bob’s real inspiration came two years later when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was then that it took on a whole new meaning for me.”

Bob and Coach Stephanie at the Twin Cities 3-Day

Bob and Coach Stephanie at the Twin Cities 3-Day

In almost a decade of walking in the 3-Day, Bob has raised more than $55,000. He credits his fundraising success largely to his work family. “I work for a company that matches donations every year. I’m really very fortunate, to work with people who are so giving.” And what if someone doesn’t have such a generous network through their jobs? Bob assures them that generous people are everywhere. “I always tell people who are trying to get donations to ‘JUST ASK!’ Everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer, and most people are happy to give what they can to help put an end to this disease.”

With Bob’s history of giving his time and energy to the 3-Day, it’s hard to believe his answer when we asked him what brings him back year after year: “It’s sort of a selfish thing. Aside from the event being very emotional and rewarding, it just makes me feel good. When I read about the advances that are being made in breast cancer research and treatment each year, it makes me realize the importance each of us plays in putting an end to this disease. When I see the survivors and hear people’s stories, I feel that we can make a difference.”

Just in case you’re not already inspired by Bob’s great attitude, we think you’ll like his advice to his fellow 3-Day walkers: “Enjoy the walk, look around at things while you walk, just enjoy the moments. When I feel I cannot walk another step, I think of the reasons I joined the 3-Day, I think of how much suffering so many women who have had this disease have gone through, and the pain they must have endured, and somehow I find that my pain is nothing and then I find the energy to keep walking.”

Bob, your energy, passion and dedication are truly moving. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for the amazing mark you have left on the 3-Day community.