After nine years away, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day returned to the Windy City! Though some things have changed, the Pink Bubble spirit was as alive as ever. Here are the highlights of each day of our journey.
The excitement of the first day of the 3-Day is undeniable. Pink Bubble energy consumed the Marriott Marquis in downtown Chicago as we began our 60-mile journey with the Opening Ceremony. Chicago 3-Day host, Cati Diamond Stone, and emcee, Kimberly Reinika, welcomed our breast cancer survivors. Each survivor represented different milestones and walked down the middle of a sea of walkers. We heard from members of Susan G. Komen and Bank of America before being led down the Mohawk Flooring pink carpet to start out on the route.
Heading out from McCormick Place, the first part of the route was beautiful walking along the Lakefront Trail, taking in all the views of Lake Michigan. We then jutted west into the city to walk along the Magnificent Mile. It was after lunch at Waveland Pacific Field where participants felt the community’s support as a local Walgreens handed out free stuff including t-shirts, pens, sparkling water and other goodies. But the excitement didn’t stop there!
Next up was a fantastic photo-op: Wrigley Field! The atmosphere was incredible since there was a home game happening as we passed, with many Cubs fans walking along the streets and in surrounding restaurants and bars ― some of whom cheered on walkers as they entered the last half of their day. We made our way back towards downtown for the last pit stop at Maggie Daley Park.
Ending the day back at the Marriott Marquis, walkers and crew gathered in the ballroom to relax in Bank of America’s massage chairs, be refreshed by Natura Bissés mists, and shop for 3-Day merchandise at the ShopKomen store. We ate dinner as the Friday night programming started, playing games like Junk in the Trunk and Cup Stack, and a few participants joined in Karaoke.
As always, we began Day 2 with our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, celebrating and thanking all of our top fundraisers from individuals to teams (stay tuned for a special blog post about all of these amazing participants)! We then headed out to the Chicago suburbs via bus to explore the different sights that Chicago has to offer! Starting in Oak Park, walkers were able see some of the beautiful and historic houses built by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright! Passing by over a dozen homes, poses were struck and pictures were taken.
Next, we ventured toward Dominican University where Pit Stop 2 was located. It was a warm day, but the big shady trees offered relief and a relaxing spot to refuel on snacks and electrolytes.
Making our way through River Forest for lunch, we crossed through the halfway arch, celebrating completing 30 miles and dancing our hearts out to “Walking on Sunshine!”
Leaving lunch, we headed into Forest Park, passing by more of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses and the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. The last mile of the day was our Memorial Mile, where we honor those who have lost their battle with breast cancer. It can be an emotional mile, but it also gives us strength to keep going, because it serves as an important reminder of why we walk.
The buses returned walkers to the hotel, where mac and cheese was waiting along with the amenities on main street. We began our Honor Ceremony with stories from our Chicago Youth Corps, where each member told us why they commit to the 3-Day at such a young age, and what it means to them to be a part of the Pink Bubble. We heard from three participants who shared their own stories, and how the 3-Day has impacted themselves and their loved ones. Pink luminaria bags were distributed at each table for walkers and crew to write messages to those they walk for, and we lit our candles and placed them on our hotel windowsills.
Exiting the Marriott Marquis to go out on the route for the last time, walkers started Day 3 by touring through South Loop, Chicago. This included walking through Millennium Park and seeing the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, otherwise known as “The Bean.” Light drizzle and Pit Stop 1 followed shortly after, for the third but not final time, at Maggie Daley Park (but there were no complaints, as this was a beautiful site)!
The photo ops did not stop there, as we walked over the Chicago River not once, but twice before lunch! After our final lunch together at The Noble Academy with views of the Chicago Skyline, we made our way to Oak Street Beach and down the Lakefront Walking Trail towards Navy Pier.
Crossing over the Chicago River for the third and final time, we reached the final stretch, and walked through a path of cheering friends, family and other walkers and crew into our Finish Line Festival next to Soldier Field. The Chicago Youth Corps sang, cheered, high-fived and clapped for individual walkers and teams, taking photos to commemorate the end of this amazing 60-mile journey.
Our Closing Ceremony started as soon as our last walker crossed the finish line with the route safety crew, raising our flag to indicate that all walkers had made it in safely. We raised our shoes for our survivors and thrivers (those living with breast cancer) and raised our commit flags for those we dedicated our 60 miles to. All in all, we had 1,200 walkers, 250 crew members, and countless donors who contributed to the $3.7 million raised for the Chicago 3-Day in the fight against breast cancer.
We had an amazing weekend in Chicago after being away from this city for the last nine years. Our walkers, crew, volunteers and donors have made this event possible, and we will be returning to Chicago in 2023. Registration is now open at The3Day.org. We hope you’ll join us!
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