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.

Congratulations to the 2019 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Betsy Sears

Please join us in congratulating our 2019 San Diego Milestone Award Winner; Betsy Sears! 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 Betsy with this special honor.

Betsy has been walking in the 3-Day since 2005, most often alongside her friend and team captain Lindsey Bock. Lindsey captains their team, The Ta-Ta’s from KC, and says the whole team is “blessed” to have Betsy on their team.

Lindsey says, “Betsy is so deserving of this recognition for her contributions and commitment to the 3-Day because she is SO busy with her job (she travels all of the time), visiting New Jersey to see her sweet granddaughters and spending time with her adorable Corgi dogs and husband, she STILL makes it a priority to fundraise for the 3-Day. She is an inspiration to all who know her and a loving, caring, sweet, funny and amazing person!”

Their fellow teammate, and Lindsey’s mom, Caryn Firebaugh echoes Lindsey’s love for Betsy, saying, that she “is such a special person and important part of our team. She blesses us on each step of our 60-mile adventure!”

Now let’s hear from Betsy in her own words…

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

My inspiration was friend and current team captain Lindsey Bock. She was moved to join the walk after an aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. She invited me to walk with her. I walked that first 60 miles in memory of my mother-in-law who died of breast cancer many years ago.

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

The diagnoses of friends and family members continues to motivate me – and the desire to make even a small difference with the funds our team raises. I am so inspired by the hundreds of other walkers “all in” for the same reasons.

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

I have the most incredibly supportive and generous friends, family and clients . . . AND my employer, Quest Diagnostics, that has a phenomenal matching program.

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

High quality socks and good walking shoes are very important components of a successful blister-free 60 miles. But the most important element is the camaraderie with amazing team members who love and support each other (and like to talk about food, recipes, and fun facts for 60 miles!)

What’s a fun fact about you?

Early in my career in the clinical field, I drew blood from both Bess Truman and Faye Dunaway.

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

You can persevere through any pain and discomfort; it’s not cancer. Despite any hardships in life we might endure, there is always someone worse off who needs our support and encouragement.

Congratulations to the 2019 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Pat Spring

Please join us in congratulating our 2019 Dallas/Fort Worth Milestone Award Winner; Pat Spring! 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 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day camp show, we presented Pat with this special honor.

It is certainly well-deserved! Pat is a much loved member of our family, and her dedication to the 3-Day in unparalleled. Her friends say she loves Chardonnay, the outdoors and her dogs. She also “will run circles around everyone” during her 3-Day training.

 

We learned more about her 3-Day story, and the secrets to her fundraising success, from Pat herself. When she answered these questions, she didn’t know she’d soon be our Milestone Award Winner!

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

In 2006, I was an 11-year survivor, having been diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 49. My good friend, Kay, was diagnosed and underwent a mastectomy in May of ’06.  I kept seeing the 3-Day promotion on TV and every time, I would tear up! I talked Kay into signing up and then had no choice except to sign up myself! We walked in Dallas that year and then in Boston in 2008. I was hooked!

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

This year will be my 14th walk and I will turn 73 shortly after the Dallas/Fort Worth event – that’s not really old compared to some of the other folks, right? I have two daughters, three granddaughters and a daughter-in-law whom I love dearly. I am determined to do what I can to change the future for them if at all possible! I am the fourth generation in my family to have had breast cancer, and my daughter-in-law’s mom is also a survivor, so you can understand my motivation! The fabulous results of the Susan G. Komen Foundation work is what brings me back year after year. The advances in treatment and early discovery have been so encouraging! There is absolutely no possibility that I can stop as long as I am able!

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

My fundraising success comes from a fabulous network of friends and family! Just ask! Facebook Fundraising has been phenomenally successful, and I am blessed to have several teachers in the family who sponsor PINK OUT WEEK at their schools, with the fundraising results being contributed to the 3-Day in my name. I live in a small community, so we don’t have a lot of businesses to call upon for donations, so these alternatives have worked well for me. I send out letters every year and have at least a 90% response! Old school – snail mail! You have to appeal to the targeted age-group. E-mails work better with the younger crowd!

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

Train, train, train! I use the training app and follow the schedule as closely as possible! Get fitted for shoes at a running shop and buy the best shoes you can afford!  Got to take care of those feet!

What’s a fun fact about you?

I love to water ski, and my dream is to hike the Appalachian Trail – soon! LOL! Running out of time!

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

The most important lesson the 3-Day has taught me is that we are stronger than we realize, and we are capable of helping so many others.  By our dedication to the cause of eradicating breast cancer we can give women hope and the knowledge that others care deeply for them! We CAN make a difference when we come together!  I love that we can!