Congratulations to the 2017 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner

Sharon Ray

For the 2017 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re honored to be featuring 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. They have also supported the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, been making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2017 Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Sharon Ray.

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When we told one of Sharon’s friends that she was going to be honored, she was beyond excited!

“YES!!! I’d be challenged to think of anyone more deserving! She’s constantly working with the Komen charities, especially the 3-Day and is on a never-ending quest to promote the event, participate in any way she can and help others to understand the mission and become more active themselves.

She’s a huge supporter of those of us who are survivors and is forever working to do everything she can to end breast cancer. I personally don’t know how she manages to do it all.”

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Sharon also writes support letters to 3-Day participants across the country, and fundraises year-round, all the while sharing fundraising opportunities with other participants.

Knowing how much she has given to the whole 3-Day family, we had to hear from Sharon herself! When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!

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

I have always been involved with Komen locally but never the 3-Day. I was curious how it was different then the volunteering I did with the affiliates. So, I volunteered for the 3-Day as my first experience and what an experience.

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

I cannot say one thing that brings me back year after year.  It is the people I have met and still meet. The stories from survivors and co survivors. The camaraderie with the walkers, crew and staff is infectious.  The friendships. I can’t imagine not being a part of this family and the Pink Bubble.

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

The secret to my fundraising is to ask everyone and anyone. Trying to turn a NO into a YES.  If you don’t ask you never know what you may have received.  I love to give back also so having something to give back to a donor is another great way to fundraise. Telling everyone why I am asking and what the dollars can do.

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

The best advice is to enjoy the moment. Talk to people, listen, do the best you can do.  You are not in competition with anyone else.

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What’s a fun fact about you?

I am an avid Red Wing Hockey fan. I don’t know how to sit still. I have been lucky enough to travel to Brazil and Europe and I used to teach dance.

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

One lesson I have learned is nothing is impossible. Nothing is as bad as it seems. I have watched walkers that thought they couldn’t do 60 miles do it. I have watched survivors be stronger than they thought they could be. People touch your life for reasons we don’t always know but are grateful they did.

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The Susan G. Komen Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Honors Our Opening Ceremony Speakers

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We began our 2017 Susan G. Komen Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day with an inspiring Opening Ceremony as the sun started to rise on a crisp fall day in Texas. Our Opening Ceremonies this year are led by participants, with special recognition given to our breast cancer survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer.

Crew members, walkers, and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep and mile at a time. Take some time to get to know our Opening Ceremony speakers.

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Paul Rakofsky – My Sister

I walk for my older sister who battled breast cancer and won in 2008, for my younger sister who battled and won in 2011, for my business partner who battled and won in 2012, and for five clients who have battled, one who lost the battle. And I also walk for my two-year-old granddaughter… may she not even know the disease exists. I’m Paul and I am More Than Pink.

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Amy Kowalchyk – My Mother

In March of this year, my mom―at the young age of 72―was diagnosed with stage 1, invasive, ductile carcinoma breast cancer. Because of her self-exams and yearly mammograms, it was caught early. Her cancer was surgically removed, reduced by radiation and she is now CANCER FREE! And because of the funding from Susan G. Komen for research and development on how to treat certain types of breast cancer, she did not have to undergo chemo! She is why I walk this weekend in my 7th 3-Day. I’m Amy, I walk for all of the moms out there, especially for my mom, Caroline Tollefson, and I am More Than Pink.

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Mary TenBrock – My Aunt

More than 50 years ago, my Aunt Ellen received her diagnosis. As a young wife and mother, she wished for a cure, she prayed for a miracle, and then she agreed to experimental treatments―treatments that today we call chemotherapy. Then my Aunt Shirley’s diagnosis caught everyone off guard. She taught us the importance of self-breast exams, how to live, and then lastly, she showed us how to die with grace. I walk for both of them. Lisa, Debra and Stephanie, each day you face this cancer with courage and determination, and I walk for you, too. I’m Mary and I am More Than Pink.

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Megan Weyant – My Friend

My mom was my best friend. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 11, and I started walking the 3-Day when I was 18―the summer after she passed away. Two months ago, my dear friend discovered she is BRCA positive, and now I walk for her, too. I’m Megan and I am More Than Pink.

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Sara Galvan – My Grandmother

I walk for the eight women in my family who have battled breast cancer: my grandmothers, my mom, my aunts, my cousin, my best friend. The 3-Day gives my family and me hope… hope for a future where breast cancer is a thing of the past. Hope that my daughter and granddaughter never hear the words, “you have breast cancer.” I am empowered as I walk, knowing that every step I take helps fund another minute of research, another minute your mother, daughter, sister or friend could live a full life. I’m Sara and I am More Than Pink.

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Mary Frances Hoover – My Family

Twenty-three years ago, I volunteered for my first ever Race for the Cure by handing out packets at the mall. Since then, I’ve seen such hope and inspiration in the women, men, and families fighting this disease. I walk for them and for the hope that one day we will live in a world without breast cancer. I’m Mary Frances, I am the Executive Director for Susan G. Komen North Texas, and I am More Than Pink.

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Brooke Kincade – Ceremony Host

My mom, Kathy, was first diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 10. She then battled Stage 4 breast cancer for eight years before passing away at the age of 57, leaving three daughters behind.

 

As a 6-time walker and a 2-time crew member, I participate in the 3-Day because this is where I feel closest to my mom. My mom taught me everything… except how to live without her.

 

I’m Brooke, I am More Than Pink… and I’m honored to welcome you to the 2017 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day!

Meet Your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches

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Coaches Gayla, Val and Liz

If you’ve been following along with your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day coaches on social media, you already know they’re one fun and loving bunch! But how much do you really know about Coaches Gayla Cruikshank, Liz Parks and Val Jones? Let’s put it to the test! Before our Texas 3-Dayers arrive at Opening Ceremony on Friday, here are some things you need to know about your coaches…

They are 3-Day veterans…

Coach Liz has been involved with the 3-Day the longest, joining our family in 2004 in honor of her aunt, who is a two-time survivor. Since then, she has crewed 11 times, walked 7 times and is already registered to walk in 2018 with her daughter for her first walk. Coach Gayla joined the next year with friends in 2005, and has been a passionate DFW 3-Dayer ever since. In 2006, Coach Val rounded out the group because she “wanted to do something that was big and bold. Something that truly made a difference. After I walked that first year I was hooked and never looked back.”

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They are super close all year long…

These ladies are always in touch! They talk often to each other separately but always have a video call at least once a week to talk about things going on in their market, plus a lot of fun stuff, too. They share a love of their furry friends (Liz and Val have cats and Gayla has two dogs) and always make each other laugh. Plus, they are each other’s biggest supporters.

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Coach Liz and 3-Day pals

Coach Gayla says Coach Liz is “the biggest supporter of anyone I know.  She’s always available to walkers, Val and me, ready to answer any question that comes her way. She’s very knowledgeable and patient. She’s dedicated to health and fitness and is an inspiration to me and so many others.”

And about Coach Val, she adds, “Val has a strong connection to her crew and cares deeply for them. She’s had many years with the 3-Day and can answer almost any question you throw at her.”

How could you not love that love?

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Coach Val (right)

They’re foodies…

When asked about their favorite foods, every woman has a strong and passionate answer!

Coach Val swears by chips & salsa, while Coach Gayla loves ice cream and chicken fried steak.

And Coach Liz? She couldn’t choose just one!

“It would be so much easier to ask what I don’t care for, because I can name those on one hand: cilantro (tastes like soap), okra and tripe. I like just about everything else!”

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Coach Gayla (left)

They are super women…

“If I had a superpower, I’d want to be a clone of myself, because I want to be everywhere at once with everyone I know and love. I don’t like to miss a THING!” says Coach Gayla with a grin.

But if she could, you’d find Coach Liz flying through the skies.

“I want to be able to fly! I want to travel and experience the entire world and that is the only way I would be able to do it.”

Coach Val, however, is happy just as she is, no super powers needed.

Power of flight or not, we think all these ladies are pretty dang super already!

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They can’t wait for this weekend…

“Since most of my interaction is on the phone, I look forward to meeting everyone I have talked to and supported throughout the year,” says Coach Liz. “It is so wonderful to meet them face to face and give them a hug in person!”

Coach Val echoes that, saying, “This year it has felt like there have been a million little special details to take care of and to pass on to my amazing team. I am absolutely most looking forward to spending the weekend with them and watching all these little details become one truly beautiful event!”

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If you needed any more excitement from this team, Coach Gayla has it.

“I can hardly stand my excitement to see how many people will be on the route cheering on our walkers. Komen partners, local businesses, mom and daughter charity groups, just to name a few. This is going to be a fantastic year!”

Do you want to know anything else about your Dallas/Fort Worth coaches? Put your questions in the comments, or ask them on Facebook!