We Crew for MaMa Tutu: Meet Ken and Kris Kauker

The sign says it all!

Eight family members. More than 30 events. Walkers, crew, youth corps, walker stalkers. The Kauker and Lawrie families have the 3-Day running through their veins. And that includes Ken and Kris Kauker. Most Philadelphia 3-Dayers know them as the TuTu Brothers and remember their fun outfits and wide smiles as they ride by while on the Safety Crew.

They are just a small part of a true family movement to support the 3-Day’s mission, in memory of their mother, Julie Kauker (MaMa TuTu), who passed away from inflammatory breast cancer in 2011. With Mother’s Day this Sunday, Ken and Kris are giving us a deeper look at their family’s dedication to the 3-Day, and the love for their parents that started it all.

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Meet the Kauker/Lawrie family (TuTu family) members…

Our family of five was always a close family. We did everything together: family camping on the weekends, participating and watching sporting events, vacations to local destinations, working behind-the-scene at our local community theatre and even performing as a colonial family at local historic sites.

Thankfully, many of those things we still do. And yes, still as a family. At the head of the family were our parents. Mom and Dad (MaMa and PaPa TuTu) were involved with everything the family did. No one family member would ever end up being the only one. This goes for everything we do. If one of us is involved, we are all involved.

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And then in 2006, everything changed…

When our Mom was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, she wasn’t the only one getting ready for the battle. We were all involved with every aspect of the treatments, doctor’s visits, hospital stays and everything else that goes along with it. She didn’t go anywhere alone. Someone was always there taking notes, holding all the paperwork, asking all the questions and anything else we could do to make things a little easier.

Things moved quickly through chemo treatments, surgeries, and radiation treatments. We describe the days after a diagnosis like riding a roller coaster. There were the days of climbing the hills. There were the days of flying down the hill. There were the days of screaming around curves. There were days of being turned upside down. There were days when all we could do is hold on and scream in fear. But, like with all rollercoasters, the ride came to an end.

With the help of countless doctors and countless nurses, Mom was given a clean bill of health and the road to recovery was complete. And just like riding a rollercoaster, we laughed and were joyous that the ride was over.

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From there, the family began to move forward…

With everything behind us, it was a radio commercial that sparked the realization to pay it forward and the medium in which to do it. The commercial was for the Philadelphia 3-Day that would be taking place in October. It was this commercial that pushed our family into the realm of the 3-Day family.

And they never looked back…

Our 3-Day family has been with us since 2008. They’ve been there when we needed them and when we didn’t know we needed them. They were there when our Mom passed away and again 10 months later when our Dad passed away. They provided the light down the dark passages that cancer and losing someone forces you to go down. Every city that we’ve crewed has welcomed all of us with loving, open arms and made us a part of their family.

The Philadelphia 3-Day may be our home event, but when it comes down to it, the Crew is a part of every walk, no matter what city it takes place in.

That means our family is always part of the 3-Day, no matter where we are.

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Spread the love this Mother’s Day to the special women in your own life! You can share a personalized love note with your mom this Mother’s Day and Susan G. Komen will then share one with a mother facing breast cancer. komen.org/withlovexoxo

Crew Heroes: The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Medical Team

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The 3-Day could not happen without the tireless work of all our crew members. They are up before the sun rises, working hard to make sure that every part of the 3-Day, and every participant on those 60 miles, has the best and most inspiring experience possible. One integral crew team is the Medical Crew, who support everyone all weekend long.

This team provides medical assistance and evaluation for minor injuries, at pit stops along the route and at camp. The treat all kinds of issues, including sunburn, allergic reactions, abrasions and lacerations, dehydration, hyponatremia, asthma and some respiratory problems, hypo- and hyperthermia, and blisters. While most walkers make it through the 3-Day without medical issues, it’s comforting to know that there’s a crew of professionals there to help us if we need it.

Janette, one of the leaders on our Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Medical Team, and a Parker University Clinical Faculty Doctor-Associate Professor, says that consistent and dedicated service is what the 3-Day Medical Crew prides itself on.

with Dr Keith Johnson - 12 yr vet of DFW Komen

“Some of the Medical Crew are available 24/7 and that is an amazing feat! I am honored to be in that tent with so many dedicated professionals.”

Some of those in the tent with Janette are her 12-15 interns, assisted by 10-12 staff doctors, who all come from Parker University. Interns are required to apply and are then chosen for the 3-Day team according to their level of skill with sports-related injury and an essay to the selection committee indicating why they want to serve. Janette loves serving with her team, and thinks being a part of the 3-Day is such an important experience for her young interns to see how much good the medical profession does in the world.

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“Exposing young interns to this life-changing event has been such an eye-opening experience for me. The interns are literally changed-forever over the 3-Day, and to be present to help, assist and observe their transformation has been life changing for me also.

“Being one of the lead Doctors serving the Medical Team is a huge responsibility to say the least. We are all so very serious that the care we give is the absolute BEST possible.”

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Aside from the professional development and inspiration that she gets from the 3-Day, Janette also loves connecting with the walkers, hearing their stories, and helping them achieve their goals. On event this year in Dallas/Fort Worth, she teared up talking about what an impact participants have had on her personally. She walked the final mile this year, and one of her favorite memories of the whole weekend was watching one of her interns cross the finish line to cheers from onlookers.

“The 3-Day is truly a servant’s paradise; while putting others before ourselves, we are reminded how fortunate we are in many, many ways.”

Keep an eye out for Janette and the Parker University team on-event next year, because she promises that “as long as we are invited to serve, we will represent Parker University to the best of our abilities.”

Thanks for being there if we need you, Medical Crew!

Meet Cathy O’Grady, Philadelphia 3-Day T-Rex

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October is an awesome month for many reasons; the Atlanta 3-Day, it’s Fall, and its Halloween! To help with your costume planning, we have some prehistoric inspiration from the Philadelphia 3-Day. Cathy O’Grady has walked the Boston 3-Day twice, and also walked in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Arizona. She’s also crewed the Philadelphia 3-Day twice.

If you were on the Philadelphia 3-Day you may know Cathy, even if you don’t know her face, and it might be hard to know her face – because Cathy is also known as the Philadelphia T-Rex! In addition to her crewing duties, Cathy keeps the walkers laughing and smiling through all 60 miles of their 3-Day journey, as well as giving them some great photo opportunities. What makes her such a dedicated 3-Dayer? Let’s find out!

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How did you first become involved with the 3-Day?

I lost my mother to breast cancer and I always wanted to get involved but constantly made excuses why I couldn’t do it. One summer, I was speaking to my friend from Utah and she informed me that she would come to Boston and walk with me. That’s all I needed to hear so I immediately signed up. I never realized what a life-changing experience I was about to undergo.

What were your first 3-Day experiences like?

I and my friend Tracy had NO idea what we were doing. We didn’t train, we wore the wrong type of sneakers and just followed the crowds to walk from Framingham to Waltham. We started as a team of 2 and, by the time we got to Waltham, we were a team of thousand, because everyone was our friend.

Day 2 brought torrential downpours and lots of unhappy walkers…but not us! We hunkered down in our tent and just made memories. […]

The following year, we were a team of twelve. We formed the “Sofia’s Angels” (the same year I started my nonprofit foundation under the same name).  We perform real acts of kindness! As small as leaving quarters on gumball machines to giving coats, scarves and other warm items for the homeless, to paying off over 20K in layaways at Christmas time at Toys ‘R’ Us. Most recently we were able to raise 50K to purchase a handicap-accessible van for a family!

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When did you first don the T-Rex costume and why?

Last year, I had signed up to crew in Philly.  It was my first time crewing and, being a previous walker, I knew how much strength and laughter I took away from seeing people at the cheering stations. I wanted to do something big! What’s big? A T-Rex! So I ordered it and, although I was sweating in it, it was truly so rewarding to see all the walkers and random people smiling and approaching me for pictures.

How do you keep the walkers smiling all weekend?

I have hidden and jumped out to scare them. I have chased them for a hug. I have held their hands as they crossed the finish line and coming back to camp. I danced with them at camp. I smiled more than they did through all of this because I could see how much they loved it. The best part was that people didn’t know who I was so, when I wasn’t wearing the T-Rex, I would hear people talking about finding T-Rex for pictures!

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Why is laughter important on the 3-Day?

I think all the emotions we feel during the 3-Day are important. Laughter is contagious! Seeing someone laughing and smiling, you can’t help but do the same.

What are other tips or “must-dos” do you have for 3-Dayers?

You must sit back and just take in all that is happening around you. I rushed through my first 3-Day and felt like I didn’t take the opportunity to really appreciate the experience. Also, talk to others! EVERYONE has a story and everyone is willing to share it.

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What keeps you coming back year after year?

I feel like I’m making a difference. I just became a grandmother to a beautiful baby girl and, by the time she is old enough to understand what breast cancer WAS, I want it to be a WAS.

We agree, Kathy – we can’t wait until the day that breast cancer is extinct. Thanks for cheering on our 3-Day family with your terrific T-Rex!

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