Carolyn P.’s Heart is Filled with Generosity in 2021 | Word of the Year

Hope you’re having a wonderful February 3-Day family! After kicking off this series in January with Riley W. sharing why she chose GRATEFUL, today we’re honored to introduce our second “Word of the Year” writer, Carolyn P. Carolyn, a 13-time walker who will be walking the Chicago 3-Day in 2021, selected “Generosity” as her 2021 word of the year.

Tell me about your 3-Day experience—how many/where have you walked/crewed? 

I started Feet to Beat Breast Cancer with a small group in 2005. For each of the next 14 years, we built the team by encouraging friends and family members to join us for the Atlanta 3-Day. In 2019, we traveled to walk the San Diego 3-Day, and in 2021, our 40-member team will surpass our $1,000,000 fundraising milestone at the Chicago event!

What is your 2021 word of the year? 

Generosity

Why is that your word of the year? 

2021 is a time when people everywhere desperately need generosity in all forms. To me, someone showing generosity is happy to give time, energy, money, food, forgiveness, respect or kindness to people who need it—without asking anything in return. The positive impact of generosity may be difficult to measure, but anyone who has been on either side of a generous act would agree that more of it would dramatically improve our world.

Why do you participate in the 3-Day? 

The Feet to Beat Breast Cancer team motto speaks directly to why I participate. “In memory of loved ones lost; in honor of courageous survivors; in support of those fighting the battle; in hope for a future free from this disease. Side by side we walk, every stride, one step closer to a cure.” This plays out in our everyday life. I fondly remember two dear teammates who used to share the road with us, and I celebrate the survivor status of my mom, sister, and many dear friends. I am offering support to a family of a young mom with metastatic breast cancer, and I pray that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in the research. 

What does the 3-Day family mean to you? 

I was asked this recently, and the first word that came to mind was “home.” I stumbled onto the Susan G. Komen 3-Day just following the birth of my two boys. For the past 15 years, I have had the honor and good fortune of sharing the experience with a growing team of men and women I honestly can’t imagine my life without. While some members of this world-class group I knew outside the 3-Day, many I would never have met—what I would have missed out on! For those I did know, being part of this community has strengthened our relationship. As if I need icing on my already fabulous Pink-Bubble Cake, in 2021, I get to enjoy all of this with two sisters, my youngest son, two nieces, and one nephew. It goes without saying that 3-Day crew, staff, local volunteers, and host city create a positive and supportive environment. It truly feels like “home.”

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day?

There’s a quote we use on our team page every year, and it expresses generosity perfectly. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” —Nelson Henderson. We may never know the full impact with an act of kindness on the 3-Day, how sharing our story might inspire a stranger, or learn the name of the young woman who will get a life-saving mammogram because of the money we raised. But that’s not why we do these things. We are generous. We are happy to give time, energy, money, respect or kindness to people who need it—without asking anything in return.

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?

  • Be present. Listen. Feel every emotion that comes up along the 3-Day journey.
  • Be inclusive. Somebody along the way needs you. Be there. Don’t be afraid to reach out of your comfort zone.
  • Be generous. Let the needs of others motivate you. Your generosity may just inspire others to give more of themselves, and there is something very satisfying about giving what you can to help someone else.
  • Be appreciative. Appreciate your supporters. With all the demands on their hard-earned dollars, it is an honor to have their support. Appreciate your fellow walkers and crew, staff, local volunteers, and the cheering crowds. They are helping make this a life-changing experience.
  • Have fun. Laugh at yourself, dance at the Pit Stops, wear a crazy costume, celebrate making it up that hill, high-five the police officers, relish that graham cracker PB&J, and find the joy of a porta-john (ok, that’s a stretch).

Carolyn, thanks so much for your generosity and for giving you whole heart to your 3-Day family. Keep living your chosen word of the year, and next month, we’ll introduce a new person and share their word, why they chose it, and learn about their Komen 3-Day journey along the way.

Other Word of the Year Blog Posts

Riley W. Chooses To Walk Into 2021 Being GRATEFUL | Word of the Year

In One Word: What is the 3-Day?

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® means so many things to so many of us.

As we bid 2020 farewell and set our sights to 2021, we wanted to take a minute to recognize what the 3-Day means to each and every one of us. Over on our 3-Day Facebook groups, we asked our Komen 3-Day family to describe the 3-Day in one word.

One single word.

Picking one word to represent the 3-Day—something so precious, so dynamic, and so extraordinary—is challenging, to say the least.

The 3-Day can mean one thing to you the first time you do it and something completely different the next. It can mean something to you during Day One and something completely different on Day Two and Day Three. It can even signify something during the first mile of your day and something completely different during your last mile.

This big, beautiful thing we’ve created together called the 3-Day is special.

And while it is hard to encompass the 3-Day in one word, we think you did a pretty incredible job capturing the spirit of the 3-Day.

Inspiring. Family. Friendship. Amazing. Exhilarating. Monumental. Life-Changing. Awesome. Friends. Strong. Compassionate. Hope. Love. Health. Committed. Momentous. Unforgettable. Kindness. Heartwarming. Incomparable. MacNCheese. Resilient. Faith-Renewing. Fulfilling. Community. Grateful. Amazeballs. Overdue. Emotional. Memorable.

Why this one word? Here are a few of our favorite explanations.

Marci H.: “Grateful. Every walk reminds me how lucky I was because of early detection. Keeps me motivated until everyone is that lucky.”

Anne K.: “Exhilarating…the challenge of the miles but surrounded by all with the same purpose…such support of one another and hearing each story as you go.”

Sherry P.: “Family comes in every imaginable shape, size, color, creed, etc., but when the going gets tough, family is who stands behind you pushing you forward, beside you to remind you that you are never alone, and in front of you to help show the way. The 3-Day family embodies that concept. A true blessing.”

Sandy K.: “Monumental…look at what a mobilized group of people can accomplish. We are all willing volunteers—walkers and crew. We move mountains.”

And, through teary eyes, we share Arti A.’s reason for her word…the word used most frequently by all of you: “inspiring”.

“As a survivor, I see and feel the support, the radiating hope, and the fellowship of not ever being alone in the journey.”

3-Day family, you are never alone.

See you in 2021. ❤️

What’s Motivating Our 3-Day Team Right Now?

Many of us are living in a different reality right now. Tackling new and building responsibilities, staying away from loved ones and grappling with all of the uncertainty can be a strain on your mental and physical health. During unprecedented times like these, it’s important to focus on the good: good people, good experiences, good things, good feelings.

Our 3-Day team is finding the good in their daily routines and sharing what’s working to brighten their days. We hope some of these ideas will help you, your family and your friends live a little closer to that Pink Bubble feeling.

Gayla Cruikshank, Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coach

Galya Letter Motivation

“I’m mailing High Five note cards to my DFW 3-Day participants every day. It makes me smile and hope it does the same for them. I also have an external monitor with a live webcam at www.CCI.org/puppycam to watch future service dogs hanging out with their litter.”

Amy Schwager, 3-Day Crew and Volunteer Coordinator

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things. This is all a privilege. To shelter in place with the people I love. The long hikes on empty trails. Working from home. Distance learning for my boys. A fridge of food and a kitchen to cook in. It is all a privilege.

I would give anything for the catalyst to have been something else. But I continue to be thankful for the unexpected blessings during these unexpected times. It feels amazing to downshift and enjoy the little things.”

Tisho Jessop, 3-Day New England Coach

Tisho - FaceTime with Baba

“The most inspiring thing I’ve seen lately is this video. It’s so uplifting and so inspiring to think of these future doctors excited to continue on their chosen path in the midst of a global pandemic.

Also, my grandmother, who is 95, always inspires me, but right now she’s confined to her room at her assisted living facility and not allowed to leave even for meals. And yet, thanks to her facility purchasing iPads and using them to connect families, I can see her smile. If she can smile like that and not be allowed to leave her room, I can move forward with whatever today brings my way.”

Staci Roos, 3-Day Coach

Staci - Sunset

“I’m trying hard to find a “silver lining” each day; something to be grateful and thankful for. For one, I’m very grateful that we are in springtime instead of winter. While the news, isolation and fear are all palpable, to be able to go outside and see nature renewing itself, feel the wind and the chill, smell the new blooms and hear the birds, I can close my eyes and envision a day when we have reached the other side of this challenge with new appreciation for so many of life’s pleasures.

To keep myself and my family from sinking into the doldrums, we’re continuing to eat dinner together and share stories from our day, light candles, do puzzles, spruce up the garden, and get outside for walks as often as possible.”

Heather Snyder, 3-Day Coach

“My inspiration right now are my friends who are healthcare workers! Heroes in my opinion! Going to work every day knowing that they are jeopardizing their own health and that of their families. Knowing that those who test positive and recover, need to go back in the requisite amount of time with the fear of contracting it again. That has been the case with a few of my friends…. I cannot thank them enough.

My motivation right now and my “peaceful place” has been daily meditation. Prior to the current uncertainty, I never appreciated the “calm” this practice truly brings. I look forward to my 20 minutes I set aside each day and am grateful when I am done.”

Kiki Setterlund, 3-Day Crew and Volunteer Coordinator

Kiki - Finn and Evy

“What’s inspiring me these days are the two new work colleagues my husband and I have acquired for the foreseeable future. My son (Finn) and daughter (Evy) are currently on week two of distance learning for school. We had to reconfigure the house and our original offices in order to create a quiet workspace for each family member. I’ve been really impressed with the team effort that has shown through as we try to help each other out and make us our most productive selves.”

Robin Shapiro, Volunteer Operations Manager

Robin - Little Library

“I am super inspired by the kindness my neighbors are showing one another. We have a neighborhood chat where people are offering to go to the grocery store and pick up items for those who are vulnerable and shouldn’t go out. We are also sharing supplies of hand sanitizer and paper products with those who are running low. Neighbors are writing encouraging notes to one another in chalk on the sidewalks and many are spreading love like what is pictured.”

Molly Fast, Local Operations Director

3DAY_2020Coaches

“During my Wednesday team call with the coaches, I asked ‘What is one pleasantly surprising way COVID-19 has positively impacted your life?’ The answers all inspired me and reminded me that we are all doing the best that we can and seeking out silver linings. The answers ranged from saving money to getting a new dog to walking more to trading screen time for brain puzzles to enjoying home-cooked meals by children who aren’t normally home to becoming *more* connected to co-workers with daily video chats.”

What’s inspiring you to be your best self right now? Share in the comments below!