Meet Your 2019 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches

The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day is this week…can you believe it?! We are so excited to head to the Lone Star State, the home of Susan G. Komen, for an amazing weekend.

No one is more excited than your Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day team! Your coaches Gayla and Liz, plus your amazing Crew Coordinators Gina and Kiki, as well as Event Planner Eileen have all been counting down the days to this weekend for a whole year. They’re ready to welcome you with open arms!

But, before we officially kick off the weekend, they are here to get you pumped for your 60-mile journey with their favorite spots along the route and why they look forward to this weekend all year. They are truly a team full of love for each other, and for each of their 3-Day participants. That’s because they are all one big family…

“The 3-Day to me is a family, a family bound together by their passion, enthusiasm and drive to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer,” says Coach Gina.

And that includes this coaching team. They have so much love for each other!

Gina says that “Liz and Gayla are not only the faces of the DFW 3-Day, but the heart as well! Their love and passion for this event are incredible. I am constantly in awe of them. Everyone should be sure to give them both a high-five and a hug!”

They love Coach Gina as well, with Coach Liz calling her “the sweetest kindest person I know,” and Gayla saying that Gina “really appreciates the work all of the crew members put forth all season long. I am so honored to have her as a co-worker and friend. It makes my job that much more meaningful.”

The whole team also raves about Coach Kiki, who Liz calls “hilarious and oh so productive,” and Eileen, who has created an amazing 3-Days of route that everyone will be sure to love.

What are some highlights that the coaches especially love?

  • The Sculpture Garden right after Opening Ceremony
  • The Cattle Drive bronze statures
  • Walking through the Roughrider Stadium in Frisco and seeing everyone’s pictures on the big screen in centerfield
  • The energy and emotion at the Honor Ceremony at camp Saturday night
  • The brand spankin’ new route on Day 3
  • Experiencing the new Finish Line Festival at Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star

Aside from the route itself, there are so many wonderful places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that you can take advantage of if you arrive early or take a few days to stay after you complete your journey. Gayla and Liz recommend…

The Lone Star State has so much to offer, and our coaches know it’s going to be an amazing few days together.

“Savor the moments, every step, each interaction, all the 3-Day love you feel,” says Gina. “Because as the saying goes, ‘It’s the little moments that make life big.’”

But don’t forget to stop and give your coaches a hug 😊. They can’t wait to see you all!

 

A Note About Saturday:

Due to the recent tornadoes in the North Dallas area, we are making changes to the second half of Saturday’s route and do not have the route cards to share with you just yet. We will give you a route card at the Opening Ceremony with the latest route information and the map of your journey will be updated as soon as possible. Please be flexible with staff, crew and city jurisdictions and understand these changes are being made for the safety of our participants as well as out of respect for the communities where homes, businesses and property have been destroyed.

Congratulations to the 2018 Dallas/Fort-Worth 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Karen McEnheimer

Karen McEnheimer 2018

Please join us in congratulating our 2018 Dallas/Fort Worth Milestone Award Winner; Karen McEnheimer! 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 Karen with this special honor.

Karen is a part of Team Traveling TaTa’s, and has participated in the 3-Day since 2007. She has walked or crewed in Atlanta, DC, Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston, Twin Cities, Seattle, San Diego, Michigan, and now finally Dallas/Fort Worth. She has raised almost $8,000 for the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day this year and has surpassed $101,000 in 18 events so far.

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Her friend Margie Wimbish thinks Karen is “so deserving” of this award.

“She is a fundraising machine. She will stand outside of Wal-Mart in the cold and rain or if it 100 degrees. She is the energizer bunny of fundraising!”

Mary Ripine echoes, and then expands, on this excitement for Karen.

“For Karen, it is not just about the fundraising; it is about the people she meets and their stories. She met a woman who was recently diagnosed while fundraising outside of Wal-Mart. She really connected with her and even shared her information to take the women to her doctor appointments!

One time, Mary had a fundraiser and when Karen saw she had no one to help her, she went home changed into her 3-Day gear and came and helped out for hours and did not take any of the proceeds. To say that Karen is dedicated to the 3-Day, and every member of her 3-Day family, is an understatement.

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After all those kind words, we had to hear from Karen herself.

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

I was diagnosed with what they thought was a metastasized tumor in my neck, with the primary site in either my bones,my lungs or my breasts. Since breast cancer runs in the family that is where my mind was going. After I awoke from surgery I was told that it was a 4×5 centimeter staph infection and it had diseased my vertebrae. I decided to walk the following year.

I could not imagine going through radiation and chemo. I had to sit at home for 18 weeks on IV antibiotics and that was horrific enough for me. That was in 2007 that I started this journey and one of my sisters was diagnosed in 2008 two weeks before I walked my second walk in Washington, DC. I have been walking 12 years and just completed my 16 and 17th walks and hit my goal of 100 grand this year.

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

The first time I experienced closing ceremonies and we lifted our right shoe to the survivors I was hooked. I have been to one closing in the Twin Cities where they also get down on one knee while holding their shoe to the survivors.

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

I believe in what I am doing and have never been as passionate about anything as I am about this walk and what steps have been made as a result of it. I am grateful today that as a result my sister is a 12 year survivor. Also, I am not afraid to ask anyone for that donation.

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

Enjoy yourself and take in everything that you can. It truly can make or break your experience. Talk to folks along the way and give them a piece of yourself that they can take home with their memories. I like to do a bit from Mrs. Doubtfire. When someone passes me I give them a very soft pinch on the arm and tell them that it is a Monkey Bite for passing me. I also tell them that it will get harder each time that they pass me. I have been called the Monkey Bite Lady many times and it gives us something to laugh about each time we see each other all weekend.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I have been told countless times that I need to be a stand up comedian. As much of a social butterfly that I am there is one thing that most do not know about me. I have a fear of speaking in front of crowds of people. I clam up! I had to have a fellow walker stand up and hold my hand while I gave a eulogy at a funeral to help support me while I stood there. I love spending time with my grandchildren and riding the motorcycle with my hubby. I will walk as long as these legs and feet will take me.

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

That you should never give up on something when you heart and soul are involved.  Give from your heart and you will receive 10 fold in ways that you could never have imagined.

Congratulations to the 2018 Dallas/Fort-Worth 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Michelle Beniak

Michelle Beniak

For the 2018 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year.

Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Michelle Beniak.

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Michelle is a 6-year breast cancer survivor, and a 9-year 3-Day participant. This year, she is Co-Captain of team Pink Soles in Motion in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Pink Soles in Motion’s other captain, Catrina Gibson, says Michelle “is always willing to take on any task she is handed and tackles it with a smile. From planning and leading training walks, setting up shoe clinics at local retailers or manning the 3-Day booth at Race for the Cure, Michelle always gets it done.”

Coach Gayla echoes that sentiment, saying, “Michelle has been an incredible teammate for the Pink Soles in Motion team for years. She’s a survivor and has helped ME on many occasions. I’ve always been able to count on her to meet me somewhere to chat with a new participant, send people to her when looking for a team to join, man the booth at a Race for the Cure and/or More Than Pink Walk. Her positive promotion of the 3-Day inspires me and so many to get or stay involved.”

IMG_2164Michelle told us more about her 3-Day story…

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

I thought it would be a great challenge.

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

As a survivor, I feel the need to continue raising awareness and funds for finding a cure.

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

As part of a large team, we have several events throughout the year which helps a lot. In addition, finding people who work where their company matches donations has probably been the single most important “secret” to fundraising.

IMG_2167What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?

Train! If you find you still cannot walk the entire event, remember to walk out of opening ceremony, into camp/out of camp and into the closing ceremony. You won’t regret one minute!

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I have 10 grand-kids (+1 due in December) and 2 great-grand-kids!

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

Friendships can be made in mere seconds and last a lifetime. My motto is, “Strangers are family you haven’t met yet.”