Health on the Hill: Komen Advocacy Summit Recap by Jesse Kornblum

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Provide us an overview of your experience during the Komen Advocacy Summit.

The 2018 Komen Advocacy Summit is best described as the most beneficial roller coaster ride of my life. I had no idea what to expect. I started the first day nervous about the responsibility that I was given. I am extremely driven to make a positive change to help prevent and cure breast cancer, but the pressure I put on myself to make this trip as impactful as possible made me nervous. I worried I was not the right person for the job.

When the conference started, I found myself seated at a table labeled “Colorado” and was so excited to meet others from home that are advocating for the same things. Everyone started to show up, and I quickly learned that the Colorado crew was fantastic, and we became fast friends. These people were fighters, not just in their personal battles with breast cancer, but in our local communities. All of them were experienced advocates for breast cancer research funding and legislation. I knew that I needed to follow their lead and learn as much as possible. All my nervous feelings changed to excitement. I learned a lot and was given all the tools necessary to hit Capitol Hill and have a meaningful conversation with our elected officials. I fell asleep that night still feeling the overwhelming power of the group as well as shared our excitement for our day on the Hill.

On day two, I woke up once again feeling nervous. I was thinking about the opportunity in front of me and the impact I could have. I didn’t want to let anyone down, especially the cause itself. We had an additional pre-meeting and again, my nervous energy changed to excitement. We loaded onto the buses with the tools and knowledge needed to make a change.

As we approached our first meeting, all my emotions were fighting each other, but excitement prevailed. Once we sat down, I watched the group of experienced advocates go to work. Hearing their stories and seeing how they made the presentation to our representative gave me the confidence that I could do this and there was nothing to fear. From that meeting on, I had fun presenting our data and asks to the representatives. I could answer their questions, and felt confident presenting a case for budget increases and bill sponsorship. As the day went on, we were having such great engagement in our meetings that we were running behind, so we had to divide and conquer. The group was confident that I could conduct a meeting independently. I initially disagreed, but felt relieved and empowered after my solo mission turned out to be very constructive. The representative was very responsive to my presentation.

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That is the moment I told myself that I would not only fight breast cancer through fundraising and participating in events, but would take a much larger role in advocacy. My toolbox now has another amazing power tool that can be used to fight breast cancer.

The third day was an exciting ending to this wild roller coaster ride. We heard from some amazing people who are fighting breast cancer personally as well as people who have devoted their careers and their lives to the fight against breast cancer.

What these people shared with us made me feel empowered and optimistic for the changes we fought for on Capitol Hill. But while these small wins should be celebrated, it is still not enough. Now that I am home, I have not stopped thinking about ways I can be an advocate and how I will continue to help in the fight against breast cancer.

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What was the most impactful part of the Summit?

There were two parts that were extremely impactful:

  1. The team of people I was with from Colorado had confidence in me to conduct a meeting independently with a Colorado representative. This was when I realized I could continue fighting breast cancer with advocacy by taking it head on.
  2. Seeing all the people coming together, despite travel headaches, to take on Capitol Hill to divide and conquer this fight against breast cancer.

Explain your day on Capitol Hill.

My day on Capitol Hill was amazing. I was overwhelmed by the history of the places I was walking, and the power that exists within the walls of Capitol Hill. The day was filled with meetings where we discussed specific topics with either the Member themselves or with a staff member. We had a meeting with every Colorado representative’s office, making it a busy day of running around the Capitol. After every meeting, I walked out feeling that the topics we were discussing and the things we were asking for had be received well and had value to the representatives and their staff.
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What surprised you about the Summit?

How much impact can be made in such a short period of time. Also, I was surprised to how easy it was to talk to the representatives and their staff as I was worried they would be intimidating to talk to prior to the Summit.

What can we do so everyone has a voice in government?

Educate everyone on the ease of contacting their representatives and the respect you will be given, even if just sending an email. If everyone knew how that their voice will be heard and knew how to reach out, I feel they would take the time to do it.

How can others get involved in advocacy?

Writing emails and making calls, as they are received by the representative’s office. There is also a lot of advocacy that is needed locally in every state, so if you want to become an advocate for the cause, I recommend becoming an advocate on Susan G. Komen’s website and keeping an eye out for opportunities to make your voice heard.

What does advocacy mean to you?

Advocacy means change. The education that you can provide to your representatives while being an advocate is the fuel for greater change.

What You’ll Find on the 3-Day Pinterest Page

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Pinterest is a constantly updating source of fun, ideas, and support all year long. As part of our social media community, it’s a platform we love sharing ideas and memories on to keep the 3-Day spirit of love going the whole year long. If you haven’t checked out our Pinterest page, now is the time. Here are just a few of the things you will find on our boards…

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Fundraising Ideas

You probably already know that your coaches, fellow teammates, and this blog are great sources of fundraising ideas, but we also have even more fundraising ideas on Pinterest! You can never have too many sources for inspiration, and our Pinterest page is especially great for craft and culinary ideas. Feel free to tag us in your favorite pins on Pinterest as well, to let us know when you see any ideas you love online.

Inspiration

From quotes that will lift you up when you need a motivating boost, to The ABC’s of the 3-Day, if you’re trying to show a future teammate just why this cause means so much to you, we have it on our boards. We work to keep you inspired all year long, because you keep us inspired each and every day!

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A Fashion Show

Need ideas for your 3-Day outfits? Want to wear something extra fun on your next training walk? Check out our Best Dressed board for inspiration – and some laughs! There is lots of pink style there to make you smile.

Knowledge

We share Breast Cancer Facts, many of them directly from Susan G. Komen, to keep you informed and provide you with information that you can use in your fundraising letters. There are also facts and infographics about healthy eating, stretching and more, to make sure you are training safely and effectively.

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Memories

After every event, we add some of our favorite photos to our Pinterest page, organized by event city. That makes it easy for you to bask in the memories of 3-Days past, and remember the magic of the Pink Bubble. We also have special boards to share The 3-Day Experience and memories of our amazing crew!

What do you want to see more of on the page? Tell us in the comments!

 

Black History Month Highlight: Margie W., Atlanta 3-Day Walker

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Meet “Miss Pink” – Margie W., who represents the 3-Day all year long; not just in her pink wardrobe, but in her sparkling enthusiasm. She has participated in fourteen 3-Day events since 2005, raised more than $32,000 (not including all the donations she has made to teammates over the years), and promotes the 3-Day spirit in every step of her life, not just those she takes on her yearly 60-mile journey.

Margie told us her story, her goal, and why it’s so important for the African American community to participate in the 3-Day. As we celebrate Black History Month, we also celebrate Margie and her vital message.

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Because she lost her favorite cousin to breast cancer, and because her sister is now a more than twenty-year survivor of the disease, Margie encourages everyone she knows to be on the lookout for early signs of breast cancer, to get their mammograms, and work to make every difference that they can.

“As an African American woman, it is so important to me to walk.”

And walk she does! When the 3-Day came to Atlanta in 2005, Margie says she was “over the rainbow” about making that sixty-mile journey. She has walked in other breast cancer walks, and has walked the 3-Day in other cities, but she keeps coming back to the 3-Day.

“When I started, I told myself I was only going to walk three years and I was going to be out of there. But I became addicted! I keep telling my donors it’s going to be my last year, but then every year, I call them again and say, “I lied. I’m walking again!”

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At almost 67 years old, she has been walking through knee pain for the last few years, but is going through treatment to try and walk this year if she can. But no matter what, she will crew. And she’s already begun fundraising!

“I already have $600 in my book. I am always raising money! That way, I can be there no matter what!”

For people who need help hitting their fundraising goals, Margie has plenty of ideas, but her #1 tip is simple: Just ask.

“ASK. ASK. ASK. I keep donation letters at work, in my car, in my purse. Anytime someone tells me I look pretty in my pink, I ask them! I’m always ready. I take whatever they give me. I could be in line at the grocery store, and if someone says something about all my pink, I tell them about the 3-Day.

I also used the 3-Day app last year. I sent out no letters, but I used the app and I was amazed! My thing is, you cannot just sign up, and throw fundraising on the back burner. You have not because you ask not. Ask!”

Her team, Tutu’s for Tatas, has also used fashion shows and a “Breast Cancer Mustang” event to help raise money. They were one of the first teams in 3-Day history to hit the million-dollar mark, and that’s thanks to dedicated fundraisers like Margie.

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She always donates to her teammates and fellow walkers who are struggling to meet their goals, and accepts any donation, no matter how small. That includes donations that are less than a dollar!

“The smallest donation I ever had was 37 cents. I was on a 12-mile training walk, and I stopped to use the bathroom. A little girl named Megan stopped and talked to me, and I told her I was walking for breast cancer. And she gave me thirty-seven cents, so I wrote a check for that thirty-seven cents and sent it in.”

To her, every cent, and every step makes a difference. Because she knows that all that work goes to helping people in need.

“It’s about seeing the symptoms, getting your mammograms. [..] There is a lot of help here! There are so many charities and help. That’s why people like me walk so hard and work and fundraise!”

She says that, “by the grace of god, I’m not a survivor, but I am a supporter” and she wants to support Komen’s Bold Goal as long as she can.

So, if you see her in Atlanta this year, give Miss Pink a big hug, and thank her for all her hard work.