Congratulations to the 2018 Twin Cities 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Patty Miller

Please join us in congratulating our 2018 Twin Cities Milestone Award Winner; Patty Miller! 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 Twin Cities 3-Day camp show, we presented Patty with this special honor.

Patty has walked in the Twin Cities 3-Day for ten years, and has raised more than $120,000 total for the 3-Day!

Her son Austin says, “My mom is truly amazing. While most sons, when asked to describe their mother, would state that she is “amazing”, I am not alone in this assessment of my mom. As a young child, I remember people calling our house and telling me, “You’re Patty Miller’s son? She is an angel. Do you know that your mom is an angel?” I do know that. In fact, for my entire life she has been completely dedicated to serving others and to making all around her better.”

He went on to describe her dedication to the 3-Day, and was the consummate proud son.

“My Mom did not start doing the 3-Day until she was nearly 60 years old. I will never forget her first year doing the walk. I believe she was the number two fundraiser and the fifth or six walker to cross the end line. We stayed around the finish for hours cheering in the other walkers and ultimately partaking in the closing ceremony. It was clear to me on that day that Komen would become an important part of my mom’s life.”

And so it has! We heard just how much the 3-Day means to Patty when we spoke directly to her…

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

My dear mom stopped walking when she was only 35 years old. Cancer killed my vibrant, young mother and left motherless, me at age 4, my brother at age 7 and my sister at age 1. We’ve forever had that hole in our hearts of missing her. So I walk for and other her because I can.

What brings you back year after year?

I return year after year to walk because cancer has devastated our world and families as much as poverty or oppression. Komen helps others throughout the world while working on advanced treatments. Komen reminds us to care for our bodies as health means everything. And so I walk.

What is your secret to fundraising success?

I talk about Susan G. Komen and our 60 mile journey as often as I can. I ask on Facebook if anyone wants to contribute as well as add a name on my shirt of a loved one who has fought against cancer or is fighting now. I tell my mom’s story. I offer to speak at community events. And I THANK and THANK! Anyone who helps me with training walks or donates money, I send email thanks and Facebook thanks and snail mail thanks and kudos throughout the year.

Best advice to anyone walking 3-Day?

Make it a celebration! Celebrate YOU for taking this commitment of time and energy! Mostly, celebrate the lives you’re touching by making a positive difference in the fight against cancer.

Tell us a fun fact about you!

I support every kind of event that benefits cancer – it’s my retirement volunteer job.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on 3-Day?

People who are passionate about ending cancer are among the greatest people anywhere.  Every walker, every helper, every person who comes to cheer or work the course, every staff and every person in a car that passes and honks on the 3-Day journey seems to be bonded in a positive caring goal to find a cure and meaningful treatments. Differences disappear to work together on this most urgent goal and purpose. I’m humbled to be a part of Susan G. Komen 3-Day!

Never Giving Up: Meet Nikki S., Former AVON 39 Walker

Nikki (left) and her Aunt Lynne

“My aunt was a mother figure to me.  She had a huge hand in raising me, teaching me right from wrong, explaining all the joys of being a woman (lol), and so much more. She was my biggest supporter, my biggest fan, and wasn’t afraid to tell it how it is. Honestly, I don’t know how I would’ve turned out if it wasn’t for having her and my uncle in my life.”

Many of our 3-Dayers have lost loved ones to breast cancer, but that never makes hearing their stories any easier. It just adds to the motivation, focus, and determination to finding a cure. No one knows this better than Nikki S., who has been both a 3-Day and AVON 39 walker in the past.

She will be returning to the 3-Day this year in memory of her aunt and godmother, Lynne. Having walked in Boston in the past, Nikki knew she could not hang up her walking shoes after the AVON 39 left her home state, and so will be journeying to Philadelphia this September to walk for a cure. Coach Tisho is already “so excited to introduce her to the rest of our family,” and Nikki echoes that excitement as well.

“I am excited for the opportunity to continue to support the cause. Even with AVON no longer being offered, I needed to continue walking in my Auntie Lynne’s honor.”

Lynne’s husband, Nikki’s uncle

Her Aunt Lynne was first diagnosed with breast cancer when Nikki was young, and watching her courageous fight inspired Nikki to first join the 3-Day when she was in college.

“Being a stupid college student, I was pretty confident that I could walk the 60 miles without training AND wearing sneakers I had bought the week before. Funny, huh?! I made it through the first day and a half, until I couldn’t walk through the blisters anymore. I had to shuttle back to camp and call my aunt to come pick me up! We had a good laugh, and she was still proud of me for raising the money, supporting the cause, and trying.”

A few years later, Lynn’s cancer had progressed to metastatic stage 4, found in her lungs and throughout her bones. Nikki began walking the AVON 39 in Boston for Lynne. Sadly, in 2016, Lynne lost her battle — and Nikki lost her dear aunt.

Nikki and her uncle

When asked to describe the importance of the 3-Day, and breast cancer walks, she recalled memories of those tough times.

“Watching my Aunt’s health quickly deteriorate; Hearing her wish she could just go back to work and have normalcy; Having her there to listen to my “bad days” and offer advice, while she never complained about her treatment; Wanting more time and more of her advice; Seeing my Grammy and Grampy lose their first born; Watching my Uncle grieve the loss of his ‘bride’ after their 28 years of marriage and a lifetime of love; The heartbreak that my daughter still goes through, missing her Auntie.”

It is heartbreak that motivates Nikki and keeps her working towards a cure.

She’ll be heading to Philadelphia as a Super Fundraiser (she has raised more than $20,000 in total over the years for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® and the AVON 39) and has a unique success strategy to reach her fundraising goals.

“I would like to surpass my fundraising from last year. I had organized and hosted a very successful comedy show fundraiser, and hope to do the same this year.  It was a great experience, and a great way to attack my fundraising goal.”

We are honored to welcome Nikki back to the 3-Day family this year. Alongside Nikki, we walk for Auntie Lynne. We will never give up.

Honoring a Mother’s Legacy of Love: Meet Ryan D. of the Philadelphia 3-Day

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“I walk 60 miles so my wife, daughter, friends and those I don’t even know, don’t have to fear this disease. I walk so every grandchild can be spoiled by their grandmothers. I walk today so others will not have to walk tomorrow. I walk because everyone deserves a lifetime.”

Mother’s Day is a chance to honor the women who mean the most to us, whether they are able to celebrate with us or not. For Philadelphia 3-Dayer Ryan D., this means that on Sunday he will not only be celebrating his wife, the mother of his children, but also the mother he lost to breast cancer.

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“Mother’s Day is one of the days I do take time and specifically reflect on my mother and remember all of the great Mother’s Day we celebrated.”

He has been walking “For Mama Doc” since losing her in 2011, spreading her loving and giving spirit with every step he takes. On this holiday, and always, he wants to ensure that no one else loses a mother to breast cancer. The 3-Day, he says, is a new part of his family, and one that helps him remember his mother in the best ways.

“I really wish everyone who has been impacted by this terrible disease could experience a 3-Day at least once, and I can tell you for sure it wouldn’t be their last. It is even hard for me to verbalize what the experience is. There is just something to be said about walking when you are sore and both physically and emotionally spent, to then have a car honk their horn or have someone say, ‘Thank you for walking.’ […] The 3-Days have been some amazing moments of my life.”

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In addition to his 3-Day family, he has been able to share his experience with his brother, who joined Ryan’s mission, and started walking in 2016. They were motivated, in part, to walk together because Philadelphia’s Closing Ceremony that year fell on what would have been their mother’s birthday. They walked all sixty miles together, and each crossed the finish line with their young daughters in their arms. Seeing the 3-Day anew from his brother’s eyes, Ryan says, brought them even closer.

“You can never truly appreciate what a 3-Day truly means until you participate in one. And I saw firsthand the awe on my brother’s face while he walked the first few miles and experienced these things that are so hard to explain.”

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Other family members support them, with Ryan’s dad even walking next to him for a few miles of Ryan’s first ever walk in 2012. They also have helped Ryan raise nearly $25,000 for the 3-Day cause, a landmark he hopes to pass this year. He also looks forward to once again feeling the support of the 3-Day community this fall.

This support is one he especially appreciates given that it was so important to his own mother to support those battling breast cancer. Following her initial recovery from breast cancer in 2009, she mentored countless people suffering from cancer by offering comfort and advice. Though “through the path of recovery there is tremendous uncertainty, fear, pain and self-esteem issues,” Ryan saw his mother provide support, guidance and empathy. This is true to how she lived her whole life, and how Ryan hopes to live his to best honor her legacy.

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“During these last years, my Mom has missed many wonderful events, which include her youngest son’s wedding, witnessing the births of her two beautiful granddaughters and a grandson. I walk to help ensure that no other family misses these special moments with their mothers.”

Ryan walks, and will never quit, for mothers everywhere. Today, and always, hold your family close, and remember that you walk for a reason. You walk for Ryan, for “Mama Doc,” and for families all over the world. And you will never quit either, until we end breast cancer forever.

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