Participants on the 2013 3-Day in Boston, Cleveland and Chicago made this year’s 3-Day journey with mixed emotions, knowing the event would not be returning to their city in 2014. Our 3-Day coaches and event staff felt the same mix of joy and melancholy as they walked or supported our last events in these three remarkable cities. They share their love, gratitude and messages for the 3-Day participant community below.
Somewhere on the latter half of a draining and hot Day 2 on the Boston 3-Day, I wandered into Pit Stop 4. There was Becky, frustrated by an aching knee. Not an uncommon problem after so many miles, but like all those who attempt the grueling 60 miles of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, there were layers of stories in her walk that never first appeared on the surface. It was only later that her reflection on the experience stopped me:
“I lost my mom to breast cancer 12 years ago. Everyone who knew her knew how she could light up a room when she walked in. Everyone always commented on her smiling eyes, and I am lucky to have had those eyes smile upon me.”
“And so I have chosen to follow my heart, to make a choice, to join an amazing team of women, to do something about it, to accept support, to FEEL the pain, and to walk. So here I am now, several days after finishing the Boston 3-Day. I have to be honest, I wasn’t exactly prepared for this, physically or emotionally. I wasn’t ready to hear all of the stories of love lost, to see survivors walking beside me, to have strangers look me in the eye with such love and gratitude for what I was doing and say ‘Thank You’ and to feel so physically defeated that I didn’t think I could take another step. I also never felt alone. I felt the closest I have to Mom in the 12 years that she has been gone, and I know that what I was feeling this weekend was love. Thousands of strangers — walkers, crew, staff, cheerleaders — united for one cause. So we don’t have to endure another life lost, another heartbreak, or another child left behind. We believe in the cause, and we believe in each other, and we believe that this fight is worth all of the pain that we endured. I met some amazing men and women this weekend, and there is no doubt that they will be in my heart forever. This is only the first of many 3-Days.” – Becky G, Woodstock, CT
When the women said, “This is The General,” I had to ask. “Gwen here works as an access nurse at Mass General for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients” her friends responded. Gwen M, from Boston, has been working in a key position at The Gillette Center for Breast Cancer, caring for women at a time when there are unanswered questions and an unknown future.
Gwen is surrounded by a solid group of wild women on the Susan G. Komen Boston 3-Day and by chance I was photographing in Cambridge on Day 3 at a cheering station when Gwen waltzed in. She immediately pulled Nancy P. (an original member of their team “Wild Women Originals” and cancer survivor) out of her wheelchair and waltzed with her!
Thank you Gwen for your inspiration, warm smile and dedication!