Meet Smokey T. Bear, Honorary 3-Dayer

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“Christa was an amazing human being. She was very giving and loving. She always had a smile and a hug for everyone. She never met a stranger.” —Sharon Ray

Christa Cannon was a part of the 3-Day family starting in 2013. She was an active participant, even through two breast cancer diagnoses, and had signed up to walk all seven cities in 2017. However, Christa sadly lost her battle with breast cancer in June of 2017, before she could walk alongside her pink family this past year. In her honor, all our 2017 seven-city walkers wore her name on their credentials as they crossed their final finish line in San Diego.

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Also in her honor, a special 3-Dayer came on the seven-city journey Christa had planned on making. His name is Smokey T. Bear.

This small stuffed bear was carried by a different walker in each city, but always had Christa’s photo pinned to his chest.

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His 2017 journey began in Michigan with walker Sharon R., who has been a 3-Dayer in various cities since 2011. She knew the power of Smokey and Christa’s story.

“It was an honor like no other. Being the first person, I had to set the bar for everyone else. It was like Christa was still walking with us. I made copies of her picture for everyone that carried Smokey to have. I think Christa was watching from above.”

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From there, Smokey walked with a new participant in each city, including Melissa W. (at left above) and her other members of Team Shenanigans. It was Melissa who came up with the idea to carry Smokey this year in Christa’s honor, and she said that “support just poured in” as soon as she told a few people about her plan.

Sharon and lots of participants were more than happy to carry Smokey, and “tell Christa and Smokey’s story for all to hear.” Sharon says she is still so grateful to Melissa for “touching so many people with Christa’s story.”

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In addition to the 3-Day, Christa (and Smokey) has watched over Melissa in an MS Society bike ride and an Ironman in the form of a smaller stuffed animal version. Melissa also plans to bring this mini-Smokey on her next Ironman attempt this coming April! Melissa keeps Christa in mind when she needs motivation, and felt that Christa’s spirit helped her in her times of need.

“Christa was a special person. She was very giving and loving. Positive and tough but knew how to make people laugh.”

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If you’re joining us on the 3-Day again in 2018, be sure to keep an eye out for Smokey, and other memories of Christa. Melissa and Sharon are both signed up to Crew in all seven cities and look forward to keeping Christa’s memory alive.

We will carry her in our hearts for years to come.

Melissa says, “I will continue the quest of the memory of my dear friend Christa, my mother in law Delores and of all my other friends who have lost the battle or who are fighting the fight.”

Because we will never quit.

Thank you to everyone who carried, hugged and supported Smokey T. Bear (and his walking buddies) throughout 2017! See more of his memories below.

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Smokey on Bike II

Meet Our 2017 Seven-City Walkers

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Our 2017 3-Day events are all complete, and what an amazing year it was! Our 6,600 walkers and crew raised an impressive $14.3 million towards Komen’s Bold Goal! Throughout our seven events, and many miles, there were some familiar faces in each city. We had eight seven-city walkers who were with us on every event, showing all of us just how More Than Pink they are. We are giving those walkers some 3-Day love, and sharing their stories of why they walk.

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Marilyn at far right with other Seven Cities Walkers (from left) Shelby, Kelly and Jim

You might have seen Marilyn signature pink flower crown throughout this year’s 3-Days. Why does she walk? Let’s hear it from her.

“I started this journey in 2000 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Everything went right — my doctor suspected something amiss; I got a mammogram; it was suspicious; I was scheduled immediately for biopsy; the result was cancer; I had a lumpectomy and then radiation and here I am 17 years later — a thriving survivor! Everything went right for me and that is why I walk.

I am compelled to raise money for breast cancer research as there are so many who did not — nor will not — have my experience. So many die. So many live with Stage 4 and never know when their next chemo will be their last. As a very healthy 71-year-old woman, I find it my duty to be of service in this manner. I was given a great healthy life — I want what I have for all! My first walk was in 2011 in Philadelphia and have walked nine walks thus far and raised over $25,000 — it just seems like a very natural thing to have walked all seven walks this year to bring the vision of hope to as many as I can.”

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Ellen has been an avid supporter of Susan G. Komen for over a decade! This year she was proud to walk once again.

“I walk with the Susan G. Komen family because I know people that have been diagnosed fought and won; fought and lost; that continue to fight and live with metastatic breast cancer. I walk with the Komen family because I know families who have had the financial burden of treatment lifted through monetary help from Susan G. Komen, for women who were able to receive a free mammogram because of Komen monies. Susan G. Komen has been in the forefront on educating the general public both in the US and internationally. The funds we raise go to supporting Komen’s efforts to fund research, help those going through breast cancer treatments, fund mammograms, and raise awareness and educate. And that research will bring cures.”

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Jeryl was a sunshiny addition to every mile she walked on the 3-Day! Sixty miles a weekend, in time for her 60th birthday!

“2017 marks my sixth-year walking! This month, I turn 60 and in celebration I took on the challenge of walking all seven cities! What better way to celebrate than walking 60 miles seven times in honor of fighters and survivors and in memory of the angels that this disease has taken way too soon. The seven cities will be my 9th-16th Susan G. Komen 3-Day events.”

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June at left with fellow Seven City Walker, Kelly

Jeryl walked many of her miles alongside her new friend, June. June walks in memory of her family member, and for all the names she lists on her 3-Day T-shirts.

“I believe in the 3-Day walk and all that it stands for. I have made some amazing memories, I have met new and wonderful friends and with every walk I do, I am contributing to a great cause.

I started walking with my grandchildren’s other grandmother’s name on a t-shirt, In Memory of Kaye Duncan. To date, I feature as many as 40 names on my shirt. I add names to my t-shirt every year and this year, I decided I wanted to do more. So, I participated in all seven cities!

The experience of walking in the 3-Day is one that I wholeheartedly enjoy. The event is inspiring, uplifting and spreads a lot of hope to all the families who have ever been effected by this awful disease.”

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Two other friends who walked together this year were Kelly and Shelby; the birthday girls! Kelly explained why they both walked this year.

“This year I celebrated a milestone birthday. I decided to do something BIG, not for myself, but for a cause I truly believe in. So, I signed up to walk all seven cities!

In 2003, I walked my first 3-Day event in Los Angeles. I did it as a personal challenge. I didn’t know anyone who had breast cancer. I just wanted to see if I could do it. I trained, (not well enough), I fundraised, and I kissed my family goodbye for the weekend. At the time, I had no idea how my life would be affected by my experiences that weekend. I cried. I laughed. I met some amazing people. I became part of the 3-Day family, and I was hooked! […]

I can now list many family, friends and co-workers who are breast cancer survivors and some who were warriors. I walk for them. I walk for their loved ones. I walk for my loved ones. I walk because I can.”

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Shelby echoes those statements.

“This year I turn 40, so I’m celebrating my 40th birthday by doing something bigger than me. I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and fundraising beyond what I thought possible to help someone else and see an end to breast cancer.

I am lucky to be sharing this experience with my friend Kelly, who is also celebrating a milestone birthday, this year we are — 40 & 50 Walking 60!”

Karen Kay caught the 3-Day bug back in 2003, and since then she has walked dozens of times, including being a 5-time 7-City Walker! She is proud of every step.

“In the past 13 years, I have walked in 54 walks. This year, I walked in all seven cities again (this will be my fifth year in a row walking in all seven cities). To walk 420 miles seems like the least I can do when so many others aren’t able to walk at all. I want to walk — to make a bold statement and presence — to put an end to breast cancer forever and to support those who are fighting this disease and those who have lost loved ones to this disease.”

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Our only male seven-city walker is Jim Hillman, who many walkers recognize on every event for his big smile, welcoming hugs, and all his picture-taking! He has walked 56 times and raised more than $150,000 for the 3-Day so far!

“Why do I walk? I believe the answer is clear. I walk because I want to see an end to breast cancer, and the devastation it causes. I walk because I don’t want my wife, my daughter, my sister, my nieces, my family and friends to deal with it… ever! To borrow from Susan G. Komen: ‘We walk because we must. We walk for the cure!’

Someday we will make one final walk, a walk of celebration that breast cancer has been defeated, a cure has been found. We will all walk together, with our sign saying, We walked for a cure! The cure has been found! I look forward to that day of celebration, the day breast cancer becomes past tense.”

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Christa Cannon also signed up to be one of our seven-city walkers this year, but sadly lost her battle to breast cancer before she could walk. We carried her in hearts, and with Smokey T Bear, through all our 2017 events. In addition, all our seven-cities walkers wore Christa’s name on their credentials on our final walk in San Diego this year. They walked in her honor.

When she signed up in early 2017, Christa has this to say about her 3-Day journey.

“I began my journey with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Chicago, August 2013. I was walking as a breast cancer survivor that year after having been diagnosed in June. I carry a banner with me each day that I walk with the name of loved ones lost to breast cancer.

Shortly after that Chicago 3-Day I was diagnosed with breast cancer again. It was the last thing I would have ever expected to hear from my doctor. More surgery, more chemotherapy and more blood transfusions followed. In early 2014 I was declared cancer free and I decided to walk in two 3-Days that year.

The cancer free feeling didn’t last long as I was again diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2014. Triple negative breast cancer is what I have and there is no known cure at this time. I am committed to finding a cure for breast cancer and I refuse to let this disease win.”

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Thank you to all our walkers, including this amazing group, for a phenomenal year. We can’t wait to have you all back in 2018 and for those of you who walk once or twice or more, we are a family and can’t wait to see you out there again next year! Register today!

Seattle 3-Day Route Preview

In September, the 3-Day is taking us to the Pacific Northwest. Here we come, Seattle 3-Day!

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For returning walkers, this walk will be a welcome combination of all their favorite spots, combined with a few updates we have made based on participant feedback from last year. There were some big changes to the route last year, so for this year we just made some small updates to the 2016 route.

Our Seattle Event Production Manager, Ann Love, says, “I’m so glad that we were able to take a new route that was so well-received last year, and make a few changes to make people even happier! We made some nice updates!”

Those updates include a new spot for lunch on Day One, at the Downtown Park at Bellevue. We had lunch at the park a few years ago, but due to construction on the site, we haven’t been in there in a while, so this will be our first year back in the beautiful park! This is one of Ann’s favorite spots on Day 1 because there is a waterfall, a beautiful pond full of ducks, stadium seating and even a cool play area. If walkers still have energy after their first few miles, Ann recommends playing in the park!

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There are still plenty of well-known favorite sites on the Day One route, including the Opening Ceremony at the Space Needle, and camp in Redmond at Marymoor Park.

Ann promises newcomers that the park is “really large and beautiful! It’s an awesome camp spot!”

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After a restful night’s sleep in our park campground, much of Day Two will be spent along the waterfront in Kirkland.

Ann says this is usually “everyone’s favorite part” of the walk, and will offer a lot of great photo opportunities. Don’t forget to use #SEA3Day when you post your photos on social media!

You will also see some fun local cheering stations on the Day Two route.

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Those include the Parrot Heads of Puget Sound, who will be on Snyder’s Corner in Kirkland. You can enjoy the sounds of Jimmy Buffet as they support your every step! There will also be the Shore Cheerleaders in the morning and Woodinville Cheerleaders in the afternoon to help keep all our walkers motivated.

Also, keep an eye out for photo ops at Heritage, Grass Lawn and even Google Park. There is plenty to see and enjoy throughout the day!

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In addition, Coach Stephanie Mayer says to keep an eye out for the famous Lil Smokies Guys, who will be out every day of the weekend to cheer on the walkers!

Day Three has the most changes to the route from last year, all based on participant feedback from last year’s walkers. These include removing some stairs from the walk!

“These are all changes for the better that should make our walkers happy!” according to Ann.

The North Queens Drill Team will be out cheering the walkers on Sunday morning. They are a military precision marching and flag team. The team enables girls 8-20 the opportunity to march in parades and competitions, to learn sportsmanship, leadership, discipline, and responsibility. This is a favorite part of the walk for Coach Stephanie!

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There is also Gas Works Park, located on the north shore of Lake Union. You’ll hit this park around mile 6.8. and be able to enjoy beautiful views of the Seattle skyline from here!

Another site to look out for on Day Three will be the Woodland Park Rose Garden. The route will take walkers past the park, but we encourage walkers to take a slight detour to go in to explore and take photos!

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Then we will complete our 60 miles back at the Space Needle! What spots are you most looking forward to on the Seattle 3-Day?