We all commit to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day ® for a reason. Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer, and Deana’s story is no different. She signed up to walk the 3-Day in 2015, after her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fast forward to 2019, and Deana was eight months pregnant, but that didn’t stop her from walking the 3-Day in Dallas/Fort Worth. Read on to learn more about Deana’s commitment to the cause and what her unique experience has been like.
How did you get involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day ®?
I got involved with the 3-Day the year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She opted for a double mastectomy because cancer runs in her family. I was her support person for the first three weeks following surgery. I saw the pain, the struggle, the fear and wanted to do something to honor her fight. I knew the 3-Day would be tough, but I knew that if she could get up every day and fight breast cancer, I could walk 60 miles.
How many 3-Days have you participated in and how many/what cities are you signed up for in 2022?
The 2022 season will be my eighth year participating (I still walked in 2020, despite the event being canceled because of COVID). I’m currently signed up to walk in all four cities for 2022, but will definitely be walking in Dallas/Fort Worth, since that is my home.
What motivated you to walk while pregnant, and what was that experience like?
In 2019, I was eight months pregnant during the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. So many people thought I was crazy to walk while I was pregnant. But I knew that I needed to walk for my baby’s future, my future and my mom’s future. It was an amazing experience! I had approval from my OB to walk short distances and then could sweep as I needed to. The sweep vans were a hoot! They were all on the lookout for me, as well as all the walker stalkers, especially the Team Steps stalkers. I was not in any big rush, so I spent extra time at pit stops and lunch to chat with other walkers. Many said that I motivated them to keep going. For the 2021 season I was also pregnant again, but was too close to my due date to walk and had concerns from my OB, so I cheered the team on from my car.
How is the walking experience different while pregnant?
The experience while pregnant was definitely different from my other walks. I trained equally for pregnant and non-pregnant walks, but completely knew that doing the whole 60 miles on foot would not be best that far into my pregnancy. We definitely didn’t need a baby born on the route — although Medical would have had members on hand with experience! I camped out during non-pregnant walks, but definitely couldn’t do that while pregnant. I usually don’t sweep all three days, and just power through with teammates. I loved being able to walk leisurely and sweep while pregnant — it was nice to talk to so many walkers. Finding out why they were walking motivated me to keep going. After one meal in the tent, we had donut holes left over. So I started making little sleeves of donut holes to have in my bag while out on the route. I never knew how much a small pack of donut holes could light up faces of fellow walkers, but it did, especially on Day 3!
If there are other pregnant women out there considering walking, what words of encouragement or advice would you give them?
If anyone is pregnant and wanting to participate in the 3-Day, talk to your doctor of course, but if they’ say it’s ok — go for it! If you are on a team, let your teammates know and be sure to seek out the sweep vans, just in case! Take your time and watch your feet; the cracks on the sidewalks would most definitely send you to medical if you tripped. If I came up on a section with limited sweep access or no sweep access, I used caution and listened to my body before proceeding. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, more so than a normal walking hydration routine. Most importantly, enjoy the Pink Bubble and all aspects of it! Embrace the journey, whether on foot or wheels.
How did you come up with the idea to print phrases of the 3-Day promise on maternity shirts?
I’ve always teared up during the 3-Day promise, especially “We lay down or footsteps for this generation and the next.” When I became pregnant, I knew I would be walking or riding in the sweep vans and needed something comfy to wear, while also supporting the Pink Bubble. One of my team members created the design and put it on a shirt for me. It was very symbolic for me, as the words went across my tummy, where the next generation was growing (my Baby Roo as everyone referred to the baby — we didn’t find out the gender until the baby was born— a little boy. My little Roo).
We all have unique stories and reasons why we join the Pink Bubble and commit to the cause. Why do you walk? Let us know in the comments.