A Salute to the 3-Day Medical Crew

Today is National Nurse’s Day, and we are honored to have many accomplished nurses as part of our 3-Day Medical Crew. Along with doctors, physician’s assistants and other medical professionals, these nurses keep all our 3-Day participants safe and healthy during the 3-Day weekend.

To celebrate them, and nurses across the country, we had a few of our 3-Day Medical Crew Captains share their 3-Day stories.

Barb Diamond Johnson, Medical Captain at the Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Days

My commitment to the 3-Day and our local Komen affiliate is thanks to the care my mom received when her insurance fell short. Her care was funded by Susan G. Komen. I initially did the 3-Day in 2007 as a way to pay that back. My intention was to be one and done. But I’m still here…haha! My husband, two daughters, and son-in-law all now participate, too. I even met my current three best friends through the 3-Day.

I have so many amazing memories from my time on the 3-Day…

Years ago, my grandmother lived in Oregon. She used to help take care of the “neighbor girl.” I was in college at this point. I don’t ever remember hearing the neighbor girl’s name. My 1st year in Seattle, (Medical Lead) Jason Page assigned a social worker to my crew. I felt very drawn to her and would continue to have dinner with her when I would come to Seattle to visit my oldest daughter. Later while visiting with her, someone asked where she grew up. She mentioned the town where my grandparents lived. Lo and behold, she is that same neighbor girl! I had quite an ugly cry at that moment. We both now have bracelets that say “Gramma Glady’s Girls.”

Then, another year, we had a participant with Stage IV breast cancer whose family had been pushing her through the event. She would nap at lunch on our cots. Dr. Jim Lummus pushed her from Pit Stop 4 into the Participant Finish Area. We all were affected and inspired by her courage.

I have so many funny memories, and even a few moments of intense emotion, all from the 3-Day.

Robin Knapmiller, Medical Team Captain at the Twin Cities and San Diego 3-Days

It’s hard to express in words the love and appreciation I have for my Medical Team, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize them and thank them for all they do. They have shown over and over the ability to work with complete strangers in a new environment, and to do so with love and compassion, what a gift! I truly believe the personal connection makes a difference in the lives of the walkers. I have seen over and over how they not only treat the blisters and illnesses…but really get to know the walkers by name, share in their stories, meet their families and cry both happy and sad tears together! Sending love and thanks to ALL the3Day Medical Crew. You truly are THE BEST!

I am so honored to be among you, and to have my family at my side too! My daughter Jenni grew up watching me work the event, but since there was not a Youth Corps then, she had to wait until she was older to help. In 2013, Jenni got her Nursing Degree and we could finally work the events together. We haven’t missed a year since!  

Do you have a member of the medical crew who you would like to salute? Are you a medical crew member with a memory from the 3-Day to share? Tell us in the comments! We are honored to have so many talented medical professionals keeping us safe all weekend long.

For more stories about our 3-Day Medical Crew, you can check out these blog posts:

Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches’ Favorite Memories

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You already know coaches Gayla, Liz and Val from your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day team. They are the group who are so ready for all our walkers and crew to begin their 60-mile journey this weekend. And they will be welcoming everyone with smiling faces and pink-clad open arms!

As you get your final preparations done this week, they’re here to give you even more to be excited about. From favorite spots on the route, to their most prized memories together, to their top pump-up jams the coaches are sharing their personal 3-Day highlights.

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What are your favorite memories of the 3-Days past?

Coach Val: I’ve built some amazing relationships with my crew members over the years and seeing them each year make the entire event feel like one big wild and crazy family reunion. The year I got duct taped to a gator by our crew and youth corps (as a reward for fundraising) will always stand out as a fun year.

Coach Gayla: My favorite memories of my past 3-Day events have been on the TaTa Towing Sweep Crew with my mom (for three years) and with my daughter (for two years).

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What are your favorite memories of your fellow coaches?

Coach Gayla: I look forward to every November because Liz will always fly from Arizona to Dallas a week early to work/play with Val and I. Last year we registered and participated in the MS Muckfest together with some friends/co-workers. It was a hilarious and filthy good time!

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What are your favorite spots on the route?

Coach Liz: I love Vitruvian Park and the Cattle stampede in downtown Dallas

Coach Gayla: My favorite spots on the route are Day 1 after pit stop 1, walking by Aldridge Elementary School students first thing in the morning. They are SO excited to see us! Day 2 I like Vitruvian Park where the last public cheering station is before we enter camp. It’s beautiful and people love to gather there. Day 3 has to be either Curtis Park or Lakeside Park in Dallas.

Coach Val: Much of the route travels through the area in which I grew up. I used to spend my Friday nights as a teenager at Collin Creek Mall and I went to college at Brookhaven, so you could say the whole route is my favorite. But, I truly love Day 3. I never realized how amazing downtown Dallas could be until I did a route drive (via bicycle) with Gayla one year. Ever since then, Day 3 has been my favorite. And this year I’m so excited for our new Closing Ceremony site!

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What are your favorite spots in DFW to eat, play?

Coach Liz: Well since I live in Arizona, when I come to Dallas, it is all about where to eat.  One of my favorites is a small family owned Italian place called Eddie’s Napolis in Frisco. But there is also Ida Claire’s, The Truck Yard, and Fuzzy’s Taco’s

Coach Gayla: Living in Frisco, just north of Dallas, there are so many things to do! The Dallas Cowboys Headquarters at Ford Center is a cool place to visit, Cowboys Fit to work out, restaurants at The Star, and so much more. Also, Legacy West in Plano has all kinds of new things. The Legacy Food Hall should be opening the weekend before the 3-Day, so I’m chomping at the bit!

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Coach Val: In Dallas, I LOVE Jorge’s Tex Mex Café. They have some of the best tortilla soup and their location in the Arts District is a perfect spot to grab a bite before or after a show at the Winspear Opera House, the Wyly Theatre or the Moody Performance Hall. I love musical theatre and the Arts District is one of my favorite areas to spend the day. Theatre, good food, museums, an over-the-freeway park, what’s not to love?

Living in Denton (North of Dallas) is lots of fun. I enjoy spending time on the Square and eating a fantastic burger at LSA before heading over to the Oak St. Drafthouse for a tasty adult beverage.

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What are your favorite pump-up songs?

Coach Val: My go-to get out of bed or get moving when exercising song is “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas. Really, anything by them counts as a great walking song! I also like anything by P!nk.

Coach Gayla: I love…

That’s What I Like and 24K Magic – Bruno Mars

Bicycle Race and Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Can’t Stop the Feeling and SexyBack – Justin Timberlake

Meet the 3-Day Team: Gayla Cruikshank, Dallas/Fort Worth Coach

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You have seen her on the 3-Day Facebook Live videos, our Instagram feed, and those from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day know her face well, but it’s time to really get to know Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach Gayla Cruikshank.

She loves celebrating Taco Tuesday, spending time with her family (including husband of 28 years!), and is a constant supporter of all things 3-Day. This began more than a decade ago in 2005 when she first walked the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. Since then, she has been hooked.

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“Since 2005, I was either a walker or a volunteer crew member at the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, and started volunteering during the training season more and more. I loved the people who staffed the event, as well as the participants I walked with and helped all season as a volunteer and training walk leader. I craved to be a part of the organization at any level.”

Then, in 2013, she became a full-time member of the 3-Day staff, and now gets to work in the “powerful, inspiring, love-filled” 3-Day environment every day. This includes holding Get Started Meetings, leading training walks, working with walkers to help them reach their training and fundraising goals, as well as being a full-time cheerleader for anyone who needs her help.

This spirit especially comes in handy when recruiting and encouraging first-time walkers.

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“I encourage people to join the 3-Day by motivating them to try something that they’ve probably never done before. Fundraising for a cause that’s saving lives, training with passionate people driven to end breast cancer, hearing survivor stories and the thanks they share for your commitment—it all empowers a person to take on something bigger than themselves. It’s inspiring and life-changing.”

She also explains that, though the task can seem daunting at first, fundraising and training for the 3-Day isn’t something to be worried about, thanks to the help provided by team members like her.

“The coaches will share how to raise funds in a way that works with that individual’s personality. Whether you’re shy or outgoing, we have so many successful fundraising ideas that will surprise and encourage you to reach your goals sooner rather than later.

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“We also provide a gradual training schedule and you can walk as much or as little as you want. We have sweep vans to give you a lift on the route to a pit stop if you’re tired or even done for the day. Others say they can’t raise the money because they don’t know enough people to donate $2,300. You never know who will donate to you until you ASK. We have over 100 different ways to fundraise that have been tried and are successful. Coaches can also introduce you to a team that’s ready to welcome solo walkers and help reach those fundraising goals.”

All your hard work becomes worth it on event, where Gayla says she loves the community experience.

“You meet people, listen to their stories, eat with them, sleep in the neighboring tent, cry with them, laugh with them and build a bond that can literally last a lifetime.”

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Those bonds extend beyond the 3-Day walkers, and into the whole community, which Gayla says is one of the things she’s most excited about this year.

“I’m looking forward to a whole lot more community involvement along the sidewalks this year, as well as our new Closing Ceremony site. I’m asking everyone to mention the 3-Day to businesses and friends in hopes to get every sidewalk covered with spectators cheering on the walkers all three days until we enter the Participant Finishing Area in downtown Dallas!”

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Go Gayla, go! If Gayla has motivated you to get out there and start training right now, she also has you covered on your walks! She shared some of her favorite work-out songs with us, as well as her top spots along the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day route.

Dance as you walk to:

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Keep an eye out for these Gayla-approved spots along the way though!