My 3-Day Experience: Checking in with Former AVON 39 Walker, Debbie

This year on the 3-Day, we were happy and honored to welcome many past AVON 39 walkers to our pink family. One of those walkers, Debbie S., joined the 2018 San Diego 3-Day and was our Top individual Fundraiser for the event! After raising more than $75,000 as a six-time AVON 39 walker, she raised $32,000 in her first year on the 3-Day.

We were so honored to have this breast cancer survivor and grandmother of two on the 3-Day this year. After her first 60-mile walk, she’s giving us an inside peek at her journey, and her top fundraising tips!

You are a fundraising rock star! What are your favorite fundraising techniques?

I fundraise very simply, yet diligently. I start about six months ahead of the walk. I create a personal email message, which I also used on my participant center page. I include a picture of myself to keep it personal. I sent the email to every email address I have in my contacts, everyone that has ever emailed me, everyone I know, lots of people I do not know; friends, family, friends of friends and family, doctors, work contacts, clients etc. Hundreds of emails!

The first round of emails always gets a good amount of donations and keeps me going. For the next 3-4 months I send out monthly emails to those who have not yet donated. I change the email message up each time, but still keep it very personal. I continue to send my original email to ‘new’ email contacts I have gathered along the way. I ask everyone for their email and ask friends and family to share their email lists.

By September I was sending emails to those remaining donors every other week. Come October I was sending emails every week and took advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sometimes I was just sending a picture or a saying or a cartoon and my link to my donation page. It was my goal to stay in their face every time they went to their emails. I figured, the worst thing that could happen is they would just delete or block me! 😀 No harm! Many thanked me for reminding them, because with all the emails we get, they do get lost and forgotten. I sent emails every week, all the way up until the day of the walk.

I immediately sent every donor a personal thank you email. Also, every once in a while I would update those who already donated on my progress, showing them how much they were a part of raising so much money, which would occasionally make them donate again! I stressed US, and WE, not just me! I showed them what a big part of finding a cure and reaching a goal they were. The fundraising is so fun to me and gives me a great sense of accomplishment! I would wake up every morning and check email immediately to see my donations. The more I got, the more I wanted! I would raise my personal goal accordingly.

I didn’t do anything big or unusual, but I just never stopped asking!

What about training for your 60-mile walk?

As for training, I am a walker by nature. I walk year-round. I started walking diligently 13 years ago, after my cancer diagnosis. It was my escape. I have not stopped walking since. I walk an average of 30 miles a week!

You were also a part of our Opening Ceremony….

The Opening Ceremony was great! Being a part of it was so amazing and special. It was the right length of time and got everyone motivated to get out there and do this! I appreciated the time taken the day before for rehearsal and the time put into making it great!

What were some of your favorite spots along the route?

The route was beautiful! After very chilly mornings, the weather was spectacular, and the views were magnificent. Day 1 had gorgeous ocean views, but every day was beautiful. Having walked in 6 AVON 39 walks in different cities, I must say San Diego blew me away. I have never walked in a city with so much neighborhood support! It was amazing! The crew and residents and businesses were out everywhere! It was a wonderful feeling of love and support, from survivors and women going through treatment thanking us to kids and elderly showing their love!

As a survivor I couldn’t feel more support and love. The crew along the way was great! On Day 1, as it heated up, I took off my long-sleeved shirt. As I was attempting to tie it around my waist, a woman came right over to me and offered to bring it to camp for me. She put it in a bag, wrote my name and phone number on it and delivered it to camp! It seems silly, but so great to not have to walk with a shirt wrapped around you for 20 miles! She even called me later that night to make sure I got it! That’s just how people were! So sweet!

What was it like crossing the finish line?

Crossing the finish line was super special. My son walked the last day with me as a 20-mile walker! I can’t tell you how special that was! We had a great time and as we approached the finish line, my 6-year old granddaughter made a mad dash for me across the field. I picked her up, carried her and the three of us crossed the finish line together! My son said he would love to do it again, maybe all 60 miles, and my granddaughter said she would walk with me in 10 years, when she’s 16! 😀

It looks like we have a future 3-Dayer on our hands! Thank you to Debbie, and all our former AVON 39 walkers who made this 3-Day season something truly special!

Fundraising Friday: Make the Most of the Holiday Giving Season

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2018 is ending, and this means Giving Season is upon us! It’s that time of the year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, which is the perfect time to get a jump start on your 2019 fundraising. People are in the holiday spirit and will likely want to support causes that mean something to them and their loved ones.

So, let’s get fundraising!

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First things first, we need to talk about snail mail. Everyone loves getting traditional mail, and with an influx of holiday cards and packages coming their way, they’ll be checking their mailbox more now than ever. That is perfect timing because December is “Write a Friend Month” and December 7th is “National Letter Writing Day.” Hand-written fundraising letters are more personal than emails and are also harder to miss. Send letters to your past donors, family and friends to let them know you’re participating in the 3-Day in 2019 and that you’d love their support!

This is an especially important time to reach out to past donors. Keeping up that regular contact with loyal donors demonstrates your need for their continued support.

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It also gives you the chance to show them how their past donation made a difference. Check out our Facebook albums to see how much the 3-Day in your city raised, and let your donors know how that money was used! The 3-Day also has lots of infographics that explain how their donations, past and present, are aiding in the fight against breast cancer.

These facts and figures can be printed out and included in your fundraising letter, or you can link right to them if you prefer to send out fundraising emails. Emails also give you an easy way to attach photos of you from the 3-Day or even videos from the event! Those visuals will help keep your donors engaged.

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Speaking of engagement, you’ve got to engage with people on multiple fronts! The holidays can be a busy time for everyone, so don’t be surprised if donors miss one of your emails or forget to donate. So, cover all your bases just in case. Aside from emails and letters, you can also list your fundraising link in your email signature, post it on your social media or even post a reminder sign at your desk or cubicle. That way, no one can forget the 3-Day!

If you really want to get in the holiday spirit, host a “12 Days of the 3-Day” with daily posts on social media letting people know different facts about the 3-Day for 12 straight days. Use each post as an opportunity to spread the word about the 3-Day, and link to your fundraising page!

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After it’s all over, celebrate a Giving Season that has helped us take steps towards Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal. Host an appreciation party in January for everyone who donates before the end of 2018! You can use this as an added incentive to get donations through the end of the year, and as a way to thank your donors! Give back to those who have given generously to you.

Happy Holidays!

 

Congratulations to the 2018 Dallas/Fort-Worth 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Karen McEnheimer

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Please join us in congratulating our 2018 Dallas/Fort Worth Milestone Award Winner; Karen McEnheimer! 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 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day camp show, we presented Karen with this special honor.

Karen is a part of Team Traveling TaTa’s, and has participated in the 3-Day since 2007. She has walked or crewed in Atlanta, DC, Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston, Twin Cities, Seattle, San Diego, Michigan, and now finally Dallas/Fort Worth. She has raised almost $8,000 for the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day this year and has surpassed $101,000 in 18 events so far.

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Her friend Margie Wimbish thinks Karen is “so deserving” of this award.

“She is a fundraising machine. She will stand outside of Wal-Mart in the cold and rain or if it 100 degrees. She is the energizer bunny of fundraising!”

Mary Ripine echoes, and then expands, on this excitement for Karen.

“For Karen, it is not just about the fundraising; it is about the people she meets and their stories. She met a woman who was recently diagnosed while fundraising outside of Wal-Mart. She really connected with her and even shared her information to take the women to her doctor appointments!

One time, Mary had a fundraiser and when Karen saw she had no one to help her, she went home changed into her 3-Day gear and came and helped out for hours and did not take any of the proceeds. To say that Karen is dedicated to the 3-Day, and every member of her 3-Day family, is an understatement.

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After all those kind words, we had to hear from Karen herself.

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

I was diagnosed with what they thought was a metastasized tumor in my neck, with the primary site in either my bones,my lungs or my breasts. Since breast cancer runs in the family that is where my mind was going. After I awoke from surgery I was told that it was a 4×5 centimeter staph infection and it had diseased my vertebrae. I decided to walk the following year.

I could not imagine going through radiation and chemo. I had to sit at home for 18 weeks on IV antibiotics and that was horrific enough for me. That was in 2007 that I started this journey and one of my sisters was diagnosed in 2008 two weeks before I walked my second walk in Washington, DC. I have been walking 12 years and just completed my 16 and 17th walks and hit my goal of 100 grand this year.

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?

The first time I experienced closing ceremonies and we lifted our right shoe to the survivors I was hooked. I have been to one closing in the Twin Cities where they also get down on one knee while holding their shoe to the survivors.

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?

I believe in what I am doing and have never been as passionate about anything as I am about this walk and what steps have been made as a result of it. I am grateful today that as a result my sister is a 12 year survivor. Also, I am not afraid to ask anyone for that donation.

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What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?

Enjoy yourself and take in everything that you can. It truly can make or break your experience. Talk to folks along the way and give them a piece of yourself that they can take home with their memories. I like to do a bit from Mrs. Doubtfire. When someone passes me I give them a very soft pinch on the arm and tell them that it is a Monkey Bite for passing me. I also tell them that it will get harder each time that they pass me. I have been called the Monkey Bite Lady many times and it gives us something to laugh about each time we see each other all weekend.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I have been told countless times that I need to be a stand up comedian. As much of a social butterfly that I am there is one thing that most do not know about me. I have a fear of speaking in front of crowds of people. I clam up! I had to have a fellow walker stand up and hold my hand while I gave a eulogy at a funeral to help support me while I stood there. I love spending time with my grandchildren and riding the motorcycle with my hubby. I will walk as long as these legs and feet will take me.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?

That you should never give up on something when you heart and soul are involved.  Give from your heart and you will receive 10 fold in ways that you could never have imagined.