Traveling to the continental United States from Hawaii for each Susan G. Komen 3-Day she’s participated in, Brooke K.’s dedication to the cause cannot be denied. Having walked 11 3-Days and been a part of the 3-Day crew twice, Brooke is taking on 2023 with a personal fundraising goal higher than she’s ever had before.
How did you first hear about the 3-Day?
I first heard about the 3-Day when I lived in Fort Worth in 2014. I saw a few posters and figured 60 miles would be a fun challenge. I attended a “Get Started” meeting and signed up the next day. I was really pumped when I received my first donation of $7.00!
What is your connection to breast cancer?
My mom, Kathy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. I was 11 at the time and my sisters were only 5 and 14. She had a mastectomy, followed by chemo. Life continued and cancer eventually became too normal in our household. Her cancer returned in her lung in 2005. She spent many years fighting but passed away in 2013. I have since met far too many friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer as well.
How many 3-Day events have you participated in?
I have participated in 13 3-Day events. I have walked in 11 events including Dallas/Fort Worth, San Diego, Twin Cities, and Seattle. I also crewed twice in Dallas/Fort Worth. I plan to participate in multiple cities in 2023!
What was your first 3-Day experience like, and how has your 3-Day experience changed over the years?
My first 3-Day was powerful. I felt comfort from people I had never met. The opportunity to share my heartbreak that year was therapeutic. I loved it so much that I signed up for two walks the following year. My boyfriend, Tim, joined me a year later and continues to walk with me now. My older sister also walked with me one year. It was a bonding moment for us as we walked in my mom’s honor.
Why do you participate in the 3-Day year after year?
As time goes on, the memories of my mom sadly keep fading. The 3-Day is a time for me to take a step back and think about her. I talk about her. I cry about her. I put on my pink for her. I participate so we can find the cures so that other people don’t have to navigate life without their mom. My mom missed some amazing moments in her daughters’ lives. She missed graduations, marriage proposals and the birth of her grandkids. If walking in the 3-Day helps prevent memories from being missed, I am all in.
What do you think the benefits of being on a team are?
I am on an amazing team called Pink Soles in Motion. Our team consists of men and women passionate about fighting cancer. We have collectively raised over $2 million! I joined the team my second year participating in the 3-Day and have made some lifelong friendships. I have benefitted from fundraising opportunities, training encouragement and support. Our team walks in all the cities the 3-Day is in, and we welcome new members. Life is better with breast friends by your side!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
2023 will mark the 10-year anniversary of my mom passing away from breast cancer. I am committed to going big this year and raising $10,000 in her honor. If you are thinking about not walking this year, we need you. If you haven’t walked before, I’ll help you. We must find the cures! This quote sums up what this cause means to me: “My mom taught me everything…except how to live without her.”
Congratulations to our 2022 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner Gemma G.! Gemma has participated in 13 3-Days over 10 years and has raised over $224,000 in the fight against breast cancer. We asked Gemma a few questions about her experience with the 3-Day:
What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?
The first time I heard about the 3-Day was through a commercial. I remember someone on the commercial saying something like, “I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I could walk 60 miles” and my eyes opened up to this; my heart was in it, and here I am today! My mom said it was meant to be, and here I am, still putting one foot in front of the other.
What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?
I have made so many friends, and my job isn’t done yet. I have lost many friends and family to cancer and I want to help make a difference.
What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?
Have fun and train!
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?
It isn’t easy, but raising the money takes more than just myself. The small community I live in is still behind me 110%. Their support is amazing! I might “walk the walk,” but without my family, friends and continued support of my community, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.
Coach Staci shared a brief testimonial about Gemma:
“Gemma is the epitome of selflessness. Over the years, she has done it all: from organizing a local run/walk to recycling. In the process she has found a way to inspire her very small community to rally behind her 110%. Gemma’s success has become her community’s passion and she is humbled by their outpouring of support.”
Congratulations, Gemma, and thank you for your dedication to the 3-Day!
Our 2022 Susan G. Komen 3-Day series is officially in the books! We wrapped up the season with our final event in San Diego this past weekend, and it was truly a weekend we won’t forget. With 1,700 walkers and 325 crew members, $5.3 million was raised in the fight against breast cancer.
The Pink Bubble was awake before the sun Friday morning, and gathered at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for our Opening Ceremony. Though quite chilly, there was no lack of excitement as we looked forward to the next three days and 60 miles we’d have together for the last 3-Day in our 2022 series. As emcee Kimberly Reinika and host Cati Diamond Stone kicked things off with some stretching, dancing and our Opening Ceremony, we were soon on our way to start the 60-mile journey.
The first leg of the route was as special as ever, wandering past Del Mar’s Dog Beach into Del Mar Village, home to some of the best community support we have on the 3-Day. The Torrey Pines High School cheerleaders welcomed us into the heart of Del Mar shortly after our first pit stop of the day.
Departing Del Mar, we headed towards the infamous Torrey Pines Hill. Though notoriously tough, walkers fueled up at the bottom at pit stop 2 and couldn’t help but smile as they were greeted with immense support and cheering at the top. Continuing on, walkers passed UCSD as they ventured into La Jolla and then towards Kellogg Park for lunch.
After lunch, walkers further toured La Jolla before heading south into the quaint town of Bird Rock and into Pacific Beach, where our final pit stop and grab & go stations were located. We enjoyed the neighborhood streets of Pacific Beach before hitting Fanuel Park, the entrance point to Mission Bay where we walk along the boardwalk to reach camp at Crown Point Park.
Walkers crossed the Mohawk Flooring Pink Carpet into camp and 3-Day Main Street where many of our sponsors set up tents to offer various services to our participants. Natura Bissé offered refreshing mists and samples, Bank of America provided massage chairs, and Amgen hosted a lounge with a make-your-own trail mix station and spin-the-wheel prizes aimed at providing knowledge about our bone health.
We finished up our first day with our Bank of America Celebration of Champions, highlighting all our top fundraisers from individuals, rookies, crew members, youth corps and of course, teams! Stay tuned to the 3-Day blog for our posts about these amazing fundraisers, as well as our Crew Impact and Milestone Award Winners.
On Day 2, walkers experienced some of San Diego’s great beach towns. After breakfast at camp, we crossed one of Mission Bay’s bridges into Ocean Beach for our first pit stop of the day. As we ventured further into Ocean Beach’s neighborhoods, we encountered our Day 2 hill. Once reaching the top, walkers were rewarded with amazing ocean views and a cheering station comprised of local supporters and the Heartland Fire Department, who passed out water bottles and snacks to keep us going.
We rounded our way through Point Loma towards pit stop 2 at Sunset View Elementary, a staple pit stop of the San Diego 3-Day with tons of space and great views. Perhaps even more famed than this great location is the next photo-op located at the bottom of the hill it sits on: Sunset Cliffs! Walkers stopped to take photos and enjoy the ocean breeze, basking in the beautiful weather that we had all weekend long!
We made our way back through Ocean Beach, passing through pit stop 3 right on the beach and back over Mission Bay Bridge into Bonita Cove for lunch. Here we celebrated being halfway through 60 miles with two decorated arches and of course our halfway dance! Our dedicated sponsors were there, Mohawk Flooring providing their pink SmartCushions to sit on, and Natura Bissé offering refreshing mists. A DJ was on site, providing us with great music and vibes as the San Diego Police Department bike cops led the way for the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Wobble” before heading out.
The community support continued with tons of signs, live music and face paintings as we headed towards Mission Beach to walk along the boardwalk. We then headed back up towards Fanuel Park for our final pit stop of the day and prepared for the heartfelt and emotional Memorial Mile. Signs dedicated to loved ones we’ve lost to breast cancer lined the path back into camp. That evening we loaded our plates up at the 3-Day buffet and sat down for our Honor Ceremony.
The San Diego Youth Corps began our Honor Ceremony, telling us their “why” and what urges them to commit to the 3-Day and finding the cures for breast cancer at such a young age. We then heard from three different walkers who told their stories and reminded us all why we walk and why we raise money to fight this horrible disease.
After the Honor Ceremony, walkers enjoyed a hot chocolate bar with mugs provided by Bank of America. We warmed ourselves up and basked in the last night together in camp, enjoying 3-Day Main Street and placing our luminaria bags near the Remembrance Tent.
Walkers were led out on their final day of this journey by the Ultimate San Diego 3-Day Experience winner, Gemma G.! We left camp and headed back to the Mission Beach Boardwalk and over to Belmont Park for pit stop 1 . With just over four miles in, we refueled and headed towards our first cheering station of the day, a park path lined with family, friends and members of the community holding signs and waving pom-poms. Walkers stopped to dance at this cheering station, as the Wonderbus played music and offered words of encouragement to finish strong.
We passed Sea World and were greeted with even more community support as we headed down the riverwalk towards Old Town, home of the infamous Juan Street Hill.
Fueled by fresh tortilla chips and tons of people motivating us at the bottom, we marched up our last big hill of the San Diego 3-Day. Once reaching the top, more refreshments and even a garden hose mister were offered to cool us down and keep us moving.
We made our way through the neighborhood of Mission Hills before reaching our final lunch spot at Pioneer Park, taking our time to rest before hitting the final stretch of our 60-mile journey. After finishing lunch, we ventured through Hillcrest and down Balboa Park, where our final cheering station and pit stop were.
After three days and 60 miles, walkers crossed the finish line at Waterfront Park right next to San Diego Bay. Our Finish Line Festival included pink SmartCushions and the pink carpet provided by Mohawk Flooring, medals by Bank of America, and a giant pink inflatable tunnel from Amgen.
Our last walker crossed the finish line around 4:30 p.m., initiating the start of our Closing Ceremony. We watched as she raised the “We Will Never Give Up” flag, and welcomed in the rest of our walkers, our crew, the SDPD Bike Cops, and finally, our survivors. A slideshow highlighting great moments throughout the weekend played, and we announced that together we raised $5.3 million. We finished off the event and the end of the 2022 3-Day series with a dance party, celebrating all that we’ve accomplished in the fight against breast cancer!
The San Diego 3-Day was a great event to wrap up our 2022 season with. A huge “thank you” goes out to the city of San Diego for allowing the Pink Bubble to take over, the local businesses and walker stalkers (local and beyond) who came out to cheer us on, and to all the walkers, crew and volunteers who participated as we fight to put an end to breast cancer. We will see you all again next year!