Burt’s Bench: Meet Burt L., 3-Day Walker

There is a bench on Day 3 of the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. It’s a beautiful bench, as far as benches go, with a shiny, smooth steel construction, and elegantly turned legs. It’s seated on a platform of river rocks, overlooking a fountain framed by trees. The hundreds of 3-Dayers who walk by this bench in Curtis Park may think it’s just a bench, but to 23-time participant Burt Lipshie it’s more than just a bench. This bench is the last place he talked to his cousin before she died of breast cancer.

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Burt’s cousin Judy is “my dearest, sweetest cousin in the whole world. Breast cancer killed her in 2004.”

It seems like a twist of fate brought Burt to the 3-Day. “A month or so after she died, I’m sitting in my office in New York, and Judy is everywhere. She’s just everywhere. It’s a hard thing to describe.”

Burt sent an email to Judy’s daughters, saying, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m having a Judy day today.” They wrote back and said they were not surprised, because they were, too. Why were they having a “Judy day,” other than dearly missing their mom?

Their answer to him: “We think our mom is proud of us because we just signed up to walk the 3-Day.”

Burt knew immediately that he would support the 3-Day. “I told them that I would donate… and I thought about it for two days. And then, I thought, no. They can’t do this without me. I’m going to do it too.”

Just two days later, Burt was signed up for his first ever 3-Day. “I had to find some way to fight back. This is the most meaningful way to fight back.”

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There was just one slight problem – the girls had already named their team “Juju’s Girls.”

“We changed the name to ‘Jujus Girls (And boy).’ We walked San Diego that year and I haven’t stopped. This is walk 23.”

What was this special woman like? Judy was “feisty.” Burt refused to tell her age, joking that he could hear Judy from heaven exclaiming, “Burt! What?! You’re telling my age?” She was the type of woman who was dying of breast cancer, but still taking care of her 91-year-old mother. Judy lived in Dallas most of her life, so Burt had plans to meet Judy at the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. But by then, she was too sick to do it.

Towards the very end of the 60-mile route, Burt took a break from walking. “I’m sitting on the bench and I called to see how she was doing, and we talked for about five minutes. An hour later I got the call.”

To Burt, the bench in Curtis Park isn’t just a bench. It’s a tangible memory, a place that marks the devastation of this disease. It’s a place he visits every year before he walks sixty miles in the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, an event that he’s raised more than $208,000 for. It’s a staggering sum that has no doubt helped countless men and women fighting breast cancer. By now, Burt is well-loved by all his fellow walkers and member of the 3-Day Crew. As Burt walks in his neon pink shoes and pink Yankees hat, walkers call out to him, “My man!” slapping high fives and posing for pictures.

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The bench is symbolic to all of us, because many places in the world become like Burt’s bench, marking the last place and time you talked to somebody you love.

When Burt comes to the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, “It’s the first thing I do. I walk up Turtle Creek and I go up to the bench. And I sit on the bench for a little while, and I cry a little bit. And then I come back.”

Burt comes back because in this fight against breast cancer, you must always come back. You may be angry and grieving and devastated, but you must come back. Because, together, when we return to this fight, we are holding steadfast in our promise that we will never give up. And one day, Burt will sit on his bench and know that thanks to him and the help of people like you, more people like Judy will be saved.

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Join us for the next Komen 3-Day webinar: From Reducing Breast Cancer Disparities to Achieving Health Equity

Join us as Susan G. Komen® continues our 3-Day webinar series. Komen believes that where you live should not determine whether you live and we believe that all women should have equal access to quality breast health care. We are committed to closing the gap in access to high-quality health care to ultimately end breast cancer disparities. We will discuss why this commitment is such an important part of Komen’s Bold Goal and how we are working in communities across the United States to save lives.

This webinar will be hosted by:

  • Amber Livingston – 3-Day Specialist
  • David Vaught – Komen Research Grants Manager
  • Shyrea Thompson – Senior Advisor to the CEO for Special Initiatives at Susan G. Komen®

The webinar will be 30 minutes long and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Invite your friends, family and donors to participate and learn more about how the money you raise helps support Komen’s mission.

WEBINAR TOPIC: From Reducing Breast Cancer Disparities to Achieving Health Equity
DATE: Tuesday, November 8
TIME: 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CT
REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR TODAY: Click HERE to Register

Hope to see you there!

2016 Atlanta 3-Day Opening Ceremony Speakers—We Are the 3-Day

This morning, we celebrated the start of the 2016 Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day with a lovely and inspiring Opening Ceremony. Walkers ready to take the first steps of their 60-mile journey were joined by crew members and supporters as everyone renewed the shared promise of ending breast cancer forever, one footstep at a time.

We were honored to welcome some special Atlanta 3-Day participants to the stage as part of the Opening Ceremony. These men and women shared their own inspirations—both heart-warming and heartbreaking—for being part of the 3-Day. #WeAreThe3Day

Roslyn Konter – My Sister img_6171 “I walk for my wonderful sister-in-law, Sherry Konter, who would have been 62 this year had she not been taken by this insidious disease almost 16 years ago. I also walk for my mother, Bobbie Pollard, who was a 36-year breast cancer survivor when she died at almost 85. I’m Roslyn and I AM the 3-Day.”

Jake Stefan – My Friend img_6175 “Why do I crew? Well, simply put, it is because I walked 60 miles once, and y’all are crazy! But really. I crew for you, all my 3-Day friends. You are fighting the good fight to put an end to this nasty disease. You are fighting to protect my family, my friends, and me. I’m Jake and I AM the 3-Day.”

Mary Sorrel – My Family img_6170 “Fifteen years ago, when a friend who had recovered from breast cancer asked me to walk with her, I didn’t hesitate for a minute. My father died of liver cancer and my brother-in-law had recently died of a brain tumor. All these miles later, I’m still walking, and while we haven’t found a cure, we know so much more than we did. Just last year, my husband was successfully treated for prostate cancer. I believe that if Komen can unlock the cure for breast cancer, it will lead to breakthroughs for all cancers. I’m Mary and I AM the 3-Day.”

Megan Blair – My Mother img_6178 “I walk because breast cancer threatened to take my momma from me when I was only 18 years old. I walk because there was a time when she couldn’t. I walk because now… she can! I walk because of her strength, relentless courage and because of her fight. I walk so that my babies will never have to know what it’s like to fear losing their momma to breast cancer. I’m Megan and I AM the 3-Day.”

Angela Baldwin – My Children img_6165 “I walk in honor of the many friends who have fought and won their battles against breast cancer. I walk in memory of the loved ones that have been lost. I walk so that someday, my children will never have to fear losing a loved one to cancer. I’m Angela and I AM the 3-Day.”

Kurt Grainger – My Wife img_6166 “I’m walking for two reasons. First, it helps my late wife, Gail, complete her bucket list. When she was told her breast cancer was terminal, she set the goal to walk in EVERY 3-Day city. Atlanta is the last one on her list. I also walk for my daughter, Britain Grainger. We have to find a cure. I’m Kurt and I AM the 3-Day.”

 

Together, we are strong. Together, we can defeat breast cancer. Together, we are the 3-Day.