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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Dynamic Duo: Father and Daughter Walking Together for a Cure

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“Just one look at you,
And I know it’s gonna be…
A lovely day”

Lovely Day, Bill Withers

Katie S. and her team listened to this song every morning on the 3-Day as they got ready to walk, just like in years past. It helped her get moving and excited for the 20 miles ahead. This year though, she had extra motivation to help her take on those 60 miles. Her dad, Dave, walked with her in honor of his wife (Kate’s mother) Roxanne.

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“We were a father-daughter duo named ‛Our Team Rox!’ and we came together to celebrate my mom, Roxanne, who is a 20-year survivor.”

Katie has been walking the 3-Day for many years, first in San Diego, and then other cities as well. She’s already signed up for the Twin Cities 3-Day in 2018, and says that she’s “hooked” on the pink bubble.

“I’ve never felt so much love and support from a community. My dad got involved through my experience and started by crewing in Seattle 2015. We’re both committed to participating in the 3-Day (either by donating, crewing or walking) until there’s a cure. We think it’s important to support this cause and advocate for education and treatment so others don’t have to experience the devastation that comes from this diagnosis.”

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The pain of a diagnosis is one Katie’s family knows all too well. There is a history of breast cancer in her family, and she has already lost a grandmother and great-aunt to the disease. That’s why her mother went in for a doctor-recommended mammogram at 39, and was unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to early detection, Roxanne was able to undergo a double mastectomy and avoid radiation and chemotherapy all together. Since then, she has been cancer-free for two decades, and was there to cheer on “Our Team Rox!” as they crossed the finish line this year in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Katie explains, “It was incredibly special for [me and my dad] to walk together, but what made it even better was having my mom there to cheer us on. She’s the foundation of our family and the reason we walk, so to see her waiting for us at the finish line was an incredible moment.”

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It was a moment that was years in the making! Since 2014, Katie has made it clear that she wanted her dad to walk with her. After battling arthritis and a stent in his heart, Dave worked up to walking with Katie this year. They kept each other motivated all weekend long.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him!” Katie said with a smile. “It was literally a dream come true.”

They will continue to walk and dream together for years to come, until we find a cure.

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“I think that being vulnerable with others and having a shared vision of a world without breast cancer, is what brings us so close to one another.”

It’s what makes us the 3-Day family. And for Katie’s own family, it’s a vision that she gets one step closer to with each walk.