First-Time Walker, Kristi R. Raises Awareness and Finds Support Through the San Diego 3-Day! 

Meet Kristi R., a new member of the Pink Bubble who will be participating in her first Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk in San Diego this fall! For Kristi, this is not simply 60 miles, but a journey of strength, courage, and hope. Read on as Kristi shares her story, her passion for this cause, and why she thinks everyone should sign up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. 

What is your connection to breast cancer? 

I was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer in December 2021. It had spread to my lymph nodes and bones (hip, spine, collarbone, and sternum). I immediately underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy. In the fall of 2022, they found my cancer had spread to my brain. I underwent radiation last month to target those tumors (four of them) in my brain. I am currently on chemotherapy pills that pass through the blood-brain barrier to target the brain tumors and help prevent new ones from forming, and I also have infusion treatments every three weeks to target the cancer in my bones.  

When did you first get involved in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day? 

I had seen posts on Facebook but wasn’t sure how or if I could join. Once I found out my cancer had spread to my brain, I immediately felt like I needed a support group. So, at the beginning of the year, I went ahead and accepted the challenge to be a solo first-time walker for the San Diego 3-Day, not knowing how I was going to raise the money to attend! 

Tell us your story! 

I’m 39 years old and a single mom to a 9-year-old boy named Jaxon. I live in the Pacific Northwest (Bend, Oregon) and love the outdoors! My son and I paddleboard and kayak in the summer and ski and sled in the winter.  

I was raised in Central California and joined the United States Coast Guard right out of high school. I signed up for a 4-year term and was stationed on a ship for my first two years. It was an exhilarating experience for a young 19-year-old girl. After the military, I got my esthetician license and began my career in skin and beauty. I have opened, managed and consulted many resorts and medical spas in California, South Carolina and Oregon. 

My cancer diagnosis came as a huge surprise! I was an avid runner and participated in many holistic treatments (due to my connection with the spa industry) and originally thought I had pulled a muscle in my back when I first noticed something was wrong. My primary care physician did an exam and prescribed me antibiotics and DID NOT schedule any type of scan. I luckily was working at a medical spa at the time, where I was around nurses and doctors who immediately connected me with a physician who did an exam, biopsy, and a scan all within a five-day period, then BOOM I was diagnosed.  

It is unbelievably important to be your own advocate! Push the limits, ask the questions, get multiple opinions and keep your spirits high. 

Why do you think raising money for this cause is important? 

It’s very important to raise money for this cause because more and more younger people are getting diagnosed with breast cancer and we (they) aren’t getting diagnosed early enough. Awareness, early scans and “what to look out for” are immensely important to get out to the public. This cause can do that!  

Why are you so passionate about wanting to put an end to breast cancer? 

Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer, one passed from it, the other fought it, then passed from colon cancer. This disease is terrible. No one should have to be put through this. I have a 9-year-old son and want him to never have to worry about being diagnosed (men can get breast cancer too), nor do I want him to have a future family member who gets diagnosed.  

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about registering to walk or crew? 

Sign up! I feel completely taken care of with the Pink Bubble. My coach has connected with me, I’ve attended Zoom meetings and met other walkers, and the wonderful social support with fundraising which has helped me tremendously. It was scary at first, to know I’m walking “alone.” However, I will not be alone. I will be with others who are going through the same experience as I am or have a family member/friend who is fighting cancer and can relate. It’s exciting to be involved in such a big event for a wonderful cause! November can’t come fast enough.  

Anything else you’d like to add? 

I have spoken publicly on two occasions to bring awareness and fundraising for the American Cancer Society. I feel very blessed to have been asked to share my story. I hope to work more closely with Susan G. Komen and bring awareness for this cause, too! 

My high spirits to continue to fight my cancer comes from my 9-year-old son. He is my rock, my love, and my biggest supporter. I must fight this because we both have so much more life to live and experiences to be had! I’m sure he’ll be at the finish line, welcoming me with the biggest smile!

Expert Tips for 3-Day Newbies

We LOVE welcoming first-time walkers to the 3-Day! What don’t we love? Blisters on our newbies’ feet. Our veteran walkers swear by their tips to make the 3-Day experience amazingwhether that be with special socks, shoes, or gear, or with training tips to ensure they’re ready to tackle 60 miles. To make sure our first-time walkers feel supported, we asked the expert members of our Facebook groups for New England, San Diego, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Chicago to share their top tips for newbie walkers.

Tl;dr: Don’t skimp on socks and footwear, train in your chosen shoes, and get ready for three days unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Clothing and Gear
Learn which items our veterans say are indispensable on the 3-Day.

  • “Don’t forget socks!” Carol B.
  • “Underwear. I forgot that ONCE.” Alisen D.
  • “Cancer sucks T-shirts for my new teammates.” Tina H. P.
  • “Bring shoes! Don’t ask how I know this🤦‍♀️ Also flip flops for camp or hotel.” Julie J.
  • “A heating pad for the end of the day! 😁” Elizabeth S.
  • “Water bottle, extra socks to change each day at lunch, rain poncho, and Vaseline® or Body Glide®.” Gretchen E. B.
  • “Don’t forget your ID! I packed so light that I left my license at home last year and missed my flight to Boston. I won’t do that again. 😆” Belen C.
  • “Blister care items, water bottle (two for sure), an extra pair of tennis shoes, and comfy shoes for the end of the day.” Malagni M. M.
  • “My pink YETI® and my cinch sack with all my buttons I’ve collected over the last 12 years!” Jeanne G. M.
  • “Blister care, favorite snack for bedtime, and something small to give to other walkers so that you engage with others.” Elaine G. S.
  • “Hairbrush. It’s not on the 3-Day packing list. I forgot it the first year I walked and always remember it now!” Debby M. R.
  • “I like my pink horse wrap, pink duct tape, and pink kineseo tape. It all works for me.” Marilyn W. G.
  • “HikeGoo to prevent blisters, two pairs of socks for each day so I can change at lunch, and comfy recovery shoes for the end of the day.” Kate P.
  • “Love my toe socks. I rarely get blisters wearing them and then only on my heels one time.” Shirley B. E.
  • “Comfortable sports bra! Find one that fits well and doesn’t chafe.” Janna F.
  • “Good shoes and socks!” Jacki P.
  • “I wear socks with my Keens. No blisters!” Roxanne L.-V.
  • “Besides the right shoesbring sunscreen, and sunglasses.” Terri L.
  • “Layers. A wicking shirt if it’s hot, cotton if it’s cold. All clothing should be non-chafingtest it out ahead of time.” Terry B. B.
  • “A great sports bra!” Sara M. G.
  • “Good and big shoes with NON-cotton socks.” Nataly T. P.
  • “Toe socks.” Elizabeth S.
  • “Sunglasses.” Alisen D.
  • “For the ladies…a good sports bra.” Julie L.
  • “Socks and good shoes!” Donna T. W.
  • “Good shoes. Then socks.” Lori L.
  • “Extra socks for midday and a bigger pair of shoes for day three. My feet are always swollen by day three.” Wendy C.
  • “Toe socks and foot lube🤣” Mary M.
  • “Compression shorts under my regular shorts (keeps my thighs from rubbing together, causing sparks and catching my underwear on fire).” Sherry P.
  • “Good shoes and good socks WHICH YOU HAVE TRAINED IN. You need to test everything you wear.” Kat C.
  • “Toe socks, and use HikeGoo before you put them on! Alisen D. has a great video of it 😂” Lisa B.
  • “Toe socks and good shoes.” Patricia A.
  • “Compression socks.” Julie L.
  • “Excellent shoestwo pairs.” Pam B.
  • “Good socks, double-layer Wrightsocks™.” Suzanne J.
  • “Make sure you have the right shoes. Right fit and support.” Michelle S.
  • “A smile! Toe socks…no blisters.” Julie J.
  • “Socks are everything. High-end running socks.” Nancy P.
  • “Don’t skimp on shoes and socks.” Sally P.
  • “The names of everyone for whom you walk. Sunglasses! Your credentials printed a few times.” Sandy K.

The weeks and months before the 3-Day can set you up for an enjoyable, pain-free three days. Our veterans tell you how.

  • “Train. Do it… lol… and don’t skip. 🙂 (I learned my lesson my first year)” Valerie K.
  • “Have a training plan. It’s not a race. Soak in the event, enjoy each station, don’t walk alone, buddy up, hydrate, stretch, most importantly have fun. This is my 5th walk.” Donna R. L.
  • “Train! Find what works for YOU: shoes, socks, sports bras, etc. What works for some may not work for you. Embrace every moment!” Sara M. G.
  • “Make sure to train with your gear and break in your sneakers!” Jennifer R.
  • “Stretch, hydrate and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t keep to the suggested training walk schedule. Keep on going, gradually increasing your miles each week.” Beth W. N.
  • “Start slowly and work your way into higher mileage.” Alisen D.
  • “Get some hills in, even if they are small, even if you hear there are no hills on the route. Hills will help you gain strength. Also wear pink or your team shirt. You never know who you’ll pass, and they may donate. Julie J.
  • “Train.” Susan K. T.
  • “Practice as you mean to go on. Set a pace that is consistent, potty every 3 miles, hydrate, smile, walk, walk, walk…and enjoy your journey!” Teresa O. H.
  • “Find a buddy to train with and STRETCH!!” Mary Jo A.  

Here are a few final tips on how to have the best 3-Day ever.

  • “Start earlier than suggested and stick with it! Warm up, and STRETCH! Oh, and eat, drink and pee!” Patti N. H.
  • “TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET 🦶🏻🦶🏻🦶🏻🦶🏻🦶🏻. Pink shoes are not always the best shoes. Use petroleum jelly on your feet at every pit stop or when you feel a hot spot. Change socks at lunch.” Glenda F. Y.
  • “Dry socks, and use petroleum jelly or Body Glide for feet. it’s not a race, so take it in, plan and prep.”Terri P. S.
  • “I’m super excited for the upcoming New England walk! I did my last one in San Diego, but it was a few years ago! Moleskin and good socks are key to a less painful day!” Suellen P. T.
  • “Be in the momentit’s not a race. The fun and memorable moments are in the thick of the pack of walkers!” Elizabeth S.

Veteran walkers, what did we forget? Share in the comments!