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!