Breast cancer survivor Shannon B. will be making her Susan G. Komen 3-Day debut in Chicago this year. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, recently undergoing reconstruction surgery and raising over $32,000 to date, Shannon is ready to take on 60 miles and join the Pink Bubble.
What is your connection to breast cancer?
I was diagnosed with stage 2, HER2+ breast cancer in October 2020, had 6 rounds of TCHP chemo, a full year of Herceptin, a bi-lateral mastectomy with 7 lymph nodes removed, 28 radiation treatments, and most recently, reconstruction surgery.
Why did you sign up for the 3-Day?
Ironically, I have felt so lucky and privileged through this whole process of having support, good insurance, a flexible employer, and a “best possible outcome” of being cancer-free with a low chance of recurrence. I know that SO MANY others have it much harder than I have, and I feel like I NEED to do something to help others fight breast cancer and fund research that has helped save my life. My oncologist told me that just 10-15 years ago HER2+ breast cancer was one of the deadliest because they didn’t yet know how to treat it. It’s because of research, trials, and the incredible individuals before me that my medical team knew the exact path forward to get me to this cancer-free stage.
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
More than anything I hope to make a difference, so others don’t have to deal with this disease, the treatments, side effects, surgeries, etc. Or if they do, maybe the money I raise can help make it just a little bit easier by helping with medical bills, transportation, etc.
How did you raise so much money in such a short period of time?
I am no fundraising superstar, but am surrounded by incredible people in my personal and professional life. I have worked at the same company for over 10 years and have built amazing relationships with people all over the country. My family and friends have never wavered in their support. I created a fundraiser on Facebook and posted on LinkedIn and Instagram. My birthday and anniversary of my last TCHP chemo treatment is coming up so I hope to do a few posts to bring in another wave of donations. I have raised A LOT of money, but it still wouldn’t cover the cost of one of my chemo treatments pre-insurance.
What are you most looking forward to regarding the event?
I am looking forward to being surrounded by others who are so committed to the cause that they are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to this incredible challenge. And selfishly, I am walking with one of my best friends and I can’t wait to have three days together! What am I least looking forward to (not that you asked)? I am a crier and will likely be crying 80% of the three days; it will be a hard weekend emotionally.
What advice would you like to seek or questions you’d like to ask from any veteran walkers?
Please tell me the blisters are avoidable! I can and have survived a lot, but I am a big wimp when it comes to blisters!
Do you have any advice for Shannon or any other first-time walkers? Tell us your best tips and tricks for conquering the 3-Day in the comments!
Three days. 60 miles. To end breast cancer. That may be all you knew when you signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. But there’s so much more that goes into the full Pink Bubble experience, in the months before and all throughout the event itself. In this Insider’s guide to the 3-Day, we’ll tell you all about fundraising and training, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, whether you’re camping outdoors or staying in hotels, we’ll show you everything that happens along the way!
Getting Ready: 3-Day Fundraising
Ask everyone…and then ask again! Never doubt how much family and friends want to support you on your 3-Day journey. For some participants, “the ask” isn’t easy, but you are asking for a cause you believe in, so allow donors to see your passion and how much you are willing to do in this fight. 3-Day participant Lindsey B. has been very creative in her fundraising efforts! You can read more about how Lindsey fundraises here.
Whether or not a person donates, ask them to forward your email onto their family and friends, and watch your donor circle grow. Always remember that follow-up is key!
Utilize social media and have fun with it. Try a Ten Dollar, or Twenty Dollar Tuesday, “I am walking for…”, Wednesday, High-Five Dollar Friday—the possibilities are endless. Create that sense of urgency and enjoy the process of connecting with folks while watching your fundraising grow.
Try out a Facebook Fundraiser! The 2021 San Diego 3-Day was Felice A.’s first 3-Day, and she had great success with her Facebook Fundraiser; read her story and success using this tool here. You can create a Facebook Fundraiser and share it with all your Facebook friends to get donations from. Many participants have had great success by utilizing this tool in social media.
You can also utilize the 3-Day App for fundraising by using some template conversation starters and send messages directly through the app when you log in. There’s even an option to schedule fundraising messages to be sent out months, weeks and days before your 3-Day event.
Double (or even triple) your fundraising dollars with a matching gift. Loretta E., the first 3-Day participant to ever raise $500,000, explains how matching gifts helped her reach this milestone here. Check out our matching gift page at The3Day.org/Matching for detailed instructions. Simply ask every donor, “Does your company participate in a matching gift program?” That $25 donation might become a $50 donation!
Check out the 3-Day Blog for more fundraising posts and ideas to help get you started.
Getting Ready: 3-Day Training
Follow our suggested training program and make it your own. Given everyone’s busy schedules, it might seem daunting when you look at the entire 24-week or 16-week training schedule. Just take it week-by-week and get the miles in when you can.
A lunchtime or evening walk can help fit training into your work week. You’ll probably find that the weekends will be when you train the most, but this will differ from person to person. Track your progress by how much your mileage increases each week, rather than the number of individual training walks.
Look for official training walks being led in your area at The3Day.org/TrainingWalks. These are led by your fellow 3-Day participants who have volunteered to be training walk leaders and are an excellent way to train, meet fellow walkers and have some 3-Day fun!
You can even check out some training tips we have on our blog!
Your Susan G. Komen 3Day® story starts the moment you sign up. Your 3-Day coach will support and mentor you as you train and fundraise. Our amazing close-knit community of walkers, crew, and volunteers will welcome you with open arms, both in-person at social gatherings and training walks and virtually on social media, as we spend months getting ready for our three magical days together in our Pink Bubble.
And then it begins…Friday morning on the 3-Day
You cannot deny the buzz in the air the morning of the Opening Ceremony. Excitement, nervousness, anticipation, lots of moving pieces…and lots of PINK! Get your tissues ready because once the Opening Ceremony begins, it’s an experience like no other. An experience that connects us to why we walk and sets the stage for your three days ahead.
Taking on 60 miles!
With every mile, we pay tribute. We wear the memories of our loved ones on our shirts, in our hands, in our hearts, and in 3-Day participant Deana K.’s case, sometimes even on our bellies. The feelings of pride and strength you’ll realize while walking 60 miles are only matched by the spirit and gratitude of the people you encounter along the way.
To say you are fully supported on the 3-Day route is an understatement. From the pit stops, where you refuel and rehydrate and pay a visit to the Porta-Potties, to the cheering stations where families, local community and strangers who are now friends come out to cheer on walkers and sprinkle encouragement through their words and signs.
We must give a shoutout to our all-volunteer and all-around amazing Crew. Crew members commit to all three days like the walkers and experience a different kind of 3-Day. You will find Crew around every turn and at camp making sure walkers are fully supported. At pit stops, the lunch stop, and patrolling the route on motorcycles and bicycles. Crew sets up camp, hauls participants’ gear, and much more. Medical Crew makes sure participants are happy and healthy all weekend.
In many cities, we also have passionate delegations of local law enforcement personnel who volunteer to provide additional route support. If you’ve never seen a police sergeant wearing a pink tutu and fairy wings, riding his bike up a massive hill for the tenth time that day, just so he can motivate the walkers with his music and his moves, chances are good that you’ll see it on the 3-Day. And it will motivate you.
We also have our volunteer Youth Corps—our friends in yellow ages 10-16. These are kids and teens who commit to serving the walkers throughout the weekend. To see these young people giving their time and energy to the fight against breast cancer really speaks to our future.
Camp: A More Than Pink Sleepover!
On the San Diego 3-Day, camp is outdoors. Camping on the 3-Day isn’t roughing it, though. The word “glamping” is much more like it. The 3-Day staff and Crew puts in a lot of effort to make sure 3-Day participants are made to feel welcome and comfortable all weekend.
Your pink tent will be your home away from home, and you’ll eat a yummy breakfast and dinner in the dining tent. Immerse yourself in the 3-Day campsite; it’s really part of your experience. Join the nightly activities, visit 3-Day Main Street, come to the Honor Ceremony on Saturday evening, and shower in the shower trucks. It’s a memorable experience like no other.
Just like on the route, you are fully supported and won’t want to leave this sweet bubble of love and kindness. Alas, Sunday will arrive, you’ll bid farewell to camp, pack up your belongings and be reunited with your gear at the Participant Finish Area.
Hotel: Still the Pink Bubble Experience
On the New England, Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, “camp” takes place in a hotel, and we put all participants up in hotel rooms for Friday and Saturday night.
All the fun activities, 3-Day Main Street, entertainment programs and meals that make up the Pink Bubble experience will be held in the hotel ballroom every morning and night.
At lunch on day two, we celebrate being halfway done with our 60-mile journey! Walkers are welcomed into lunch with an arch of pink streamers, a DJ and a special halfway dance. As we leave lunch to finish day two, we prepare for the Honor Ceremony, which tugs at our heart strings and fills us with gratitude as we all light a candle to honor the loved ones we’re walking for.
Closing Ceremony and the morning after…
The last day of the 3-Day is bittersweet. Walking into the Closing Ceremony is indescribable. Since each participant has their own reason for participating in the 3-Day, each participant might have a different feeling when they take their final steps into the Finish Line Festival and await the Closing Ceremony.
Once everyone has arrived, the Closing Ceremony begins. It’s an amazing celebration of everything you accomplished, remembering those we have lost, and honoring those who are in the fight of their lives. Check out our recap of the 2021 San Diego 3-Day here.
The walkers and crew of the 3-Day are part of a special group, bound together by their passion, enthusiasm and drive to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. We will never give up, and you will feel this drive and passion from the moment you register for your 3-Day journey, too!
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 amazing—whether 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 forNew 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 shoes—bring sunscreen, and sunglasses.” —Terri L.
“Layers. A wicking shirt if it’s hot, cotton if it’s cold. All clothing should be non-chafing—test 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 shoes—two 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.
Training 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.
Day-Of 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 moment—it’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!