The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 1 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Sheilla, Jodie and Crystal). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and over the next few days, they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time.

Sheilla (Philadelphia 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide sheilla

I don’t have any direct family connection with breast cancer. I don’t believe it’s necessary in order to support a cause. It takes passion, dedication, and the desire to help and support others. One motto I follow is, “Let’s not talk about, let’s do something about it.” There are many worthy causes that deserve attention and support, so why breast cancer? I think for me it is about the bond of sisterhood, the ability for women to join together and have a voice, to set aside our differences and to come together for one common reason and desire…to fight for a cure!

I first became aware of the 3-Day a few years ago when I was in the city one day and noticed people walking around dressed in different shades of pink, wearing big smiles, and having so much fun. I asked a few people and learned that it was the Komen 3-Day, and I remember thinking I wanted to do it one day. But you know how it goes; life gets in the way and soon a few years have gone by. I continued to think about doing the 3-Day (I had been getting more involved with breast cancer causes and events and I always thought back to those fun-filled pink walkers I saw in Philly), but the fundraising, the sleeping arrangements (I’m not the camping type), the bathrooms (how would I shower each day?) – all of these aspects of the 3-Day made me nervous.

But then, last summer, I went through a rough break-up which affected me strongly. I was in a pretty dark place, mentally, emotionally and physically. After weeks of feeling so lost, it occurred to me that I needed to focus on something bigger than myself and what I was going through, something that was only positive. My years-long goal of doing the 3-Day became the positive thing that I held onto. It came at the perfect time, by chance. To be able to give back was just what I needed.

But I was still nervous, especially about the fundraising. I called and spoke with Joanne, the Philly 3-Day coach, and she was so positive, encouraging, and informative. She answered all the questions I had, explained the details of the event, and listened as I shared my thoughts. I told her my concerns regarding the fundraising goal and my worries of not reaching it. Joanne shared some ideas and listened to mine. I had a few ideas planned and Joanne felt they were good and would definitely help me get to my goal without a problem. She was very convincing : ) When I got off the phone with her, I felt optimistic and decided I was going to do it. I told myself there was no better time than now to sign up, give it my best, and know that no matter what I am supporting a great cause. I even inspired my sister to sign up to walk with me; together, we’re “Sisters in Pink: Big or Small Save Them All!”

I am so grateful for the experience of being part of the 3-Day community. I know it’s called the 3-Day because that’s when we gather together to walk 60 miles as one union, sharing all the fears, tears and cheers, but I think it’s really a journey because I am not focused just on October 2-4. Every single day I am mindful of the cause as I put on my sneakers to walk with my dog, lead or participate in training walks, look at the ribbons displayed around me, talk to others about my experience, etc. I think my impression now is so much more than what I originally thought. It’s going to be fun, I don’t doubt it, but it’s also going to be so much more than I imagined: life-changing, memorable, love-filled, joyous, tear-jerking, incredible.

 

Be sure to visit the blog again tomorrow, when we’ll hear all about First-Timer Jodie, and what led her to the 3-Day!

 

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day – Let’s Meet the First Timers!

Last year, our Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day brought you details about the entire 3-Day experience from the perspective of one grizzled old veteran walker (me), but this year, we thought we’d get a different point of view. So, we asked three women who are participating in the 3-Day for the very first time to share that journey with us. And just like that, the First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day was born! So today, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to our three first-timers. You’ll be hearing a lot more from them throughout the next few months, as they tell us about their very first 3-Day adventures, but for now, let’s get to know them a little bit, in their own words…

Crystal – Michigan 3-Day First-Timer

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide“My name is Crystal Spagnuolo, a 38-year young single Mom to two amazingly beautiful kids. I have a teenage daughter named Jocelyn and a young stud of a son named Mateo. He prefers to be called Teo now, since he is the “man of the house.” I am born and raised in Windsor, ON, a small Canadian town a mere jaunt across the bridge or tunnel from Detroit, MI. My family has been here since 1955 when my grandparents moved here from Lincoln Park, MI. “Most of my free time (yeah, what is that?) is spent taking care of my babies. They are both energetic, outgoing, more athletic than I have ever been, and two of the biggest pains in my butt. Between soccer practice, softball tryouts, all star tournaments, youth group dances and birthday parties, I fully engulf myself in getting to know these rare creatures I am blessed to raise. Life has thrown us a few loops, and after a few very financially trying years we ended up back at my parents’ house to regenerate. It all worked out as my step-dad needed bypass surgery and we got to help out. As we have firmly planted our feet back on the ground, we are looking eagerly at spreading our wings and flying the coop within the next few months. “I work at a cell phone company where I assist people with technical issues when it comes to these devices we’ve become accustomed to living our lives through. I love the challenge of each email or phone call. I love helping people and tutor often on the side to all the friends and family around me who are otherwise technologically challenged. “I’m a fighter, so I’m told, but for the greater good. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always root for the underdog. I had to battle my health for the past seven years and I will honestly tell you I didn’t realize how bad until my hysterectomy this past February. Dealing with cancer scares and pain, agonizing months of stress and anxiety for test results have all made me a well-rounded basket case. I have a tight-knit circle of friends, mainly due to my children’s never-ending social lives, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve wanted to give something back and show my kids that hard work pays off. This walk means so very much to me but not for reasons you may think. I’ve been blessed to not have lost or battled this disease but after the marathon I just ran with my health, walking 60 miles in memory and spirit for those who no longer can is an honour that I will cherish forever. “When I mention what I’m doing this summer, most of the people I deal with on a daily basis smile and simply say, “of course you are, you are amazing.” Now not to toot my own horn, but I feel amazing having this opportunity to give back and change my life forever. “I look forward to seeing you all in August, wearing my absolutely favourite colour (Canadian spelling) in the whole world.”

Sheilla – Philadelphia 3-Day First-Timer

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide“Name: Sheilla Carvalho Age: 34 Hometown: Vineland, New Jersey Current Residence: Williamstown, New Jersey, where I live with my adorable and amazing 9 year old furry child, Sketch. Occupation: School Counselor Hobbies: yoga, shopping, spending time with family/friends/Sketch, going to the beach, reading, traveling, walking/running, etc. Interesting Facts About Me:

  • I speak 3 languages (English, Portuguese, & Spanish). Portuguese was my first.
  • I enjoy traveling to and learning about other countries/cultures; I have visited France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, China, Brasil and will be traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji in July.
  • I have dual citizenship: United States and Brasil; Rio de Janiero is my favorite place!
  • I have had many part-time jobs (due to various interests): student advisor at local community college, receptionist and teacher at local yoga studio, Weight Watchers, volunteer leader for People to People Ambassador programs, and now 3-Day training walk leader!

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m thankful to be a part of all this. The last couple of months have been truly amazing. I have met so many people, felt so accomplished (reached my goal in 6 months), felt inspired, motivated, grateful, etc. The amount of positive feelings and energy is very rewarding.”

Jodie – Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day First-Timer

Jodie 3.2

“I am Jodie Mannlin, a 56 year-old paraprofessional working with elementary students in a Life Skills class, an 11.5-year breast cancer survivor, and 3-Day first-timer, set to participate in the Dallas/Ft. Worth 3-Day on November 6-8! My husband (of almost 33 years) and I live in Mesquite, Texas (near Dallas, where I was born). I enjoy: reading; movie-going; attending any breast cancer event, such as brunches, fashion shows, seminars, Race for the Cure walks in the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano, and participating in the Cowboys’ Pink Ribbon Halftime Show (where I saw my favorite QB, Peyton Manning when he and the Broncos came to town a couple of years ago :); and attending outdoor concerts from spring through fall. The entire 3-Day experience is proving to be exciting and rewarding, as I have met many inspiring walkers from my Boxing Babes team, as well as other teams. I am overjoyed to have finally accepted the challenge to “do something more” by entering the Komen 3-Day world! And, to have been given the opportunity to share my thoughts as a 3-Day first-timer blogger! More to come …” Please join us in welcoming Crystal, Sheilla, and Jodie to the 3-Day family! Stay tuned to the 3-Day blog over the next several months to hear all about their journeys. Are you a 3-Day first-timer too? Welcome! Don’t forget, your 3-Day coaches love to share tips, tricks, and advice for everything 3-Day. You can reach them by calling 800-996-3DAY.