Why We Walk: The Next Generation Takes on the 3-Day

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We love our participants of all ages, and every year a new crop of walkers joins the 3-Day family. Whether they come from up from the Youth Corps, are recruited by a current 3-Day walker, or join us after years of walker stalking, seeing the smile on a young walker’s face makes our Pink Bubble fill with so much love.

We talked to some of our younger participants who have become loyal 3-Day walkers in the last few years. They’re telling us why they walk now, and why they will continue to walk for years to come.

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Sisters Sara B. Michigan 3-Day

“This journey started 12 years ago when I watched a 3-Day commercial. I was inspired to help change the world and give back to something that was meaningful. Three years after I started, my Nana, my best friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought for 10 months and lost her battle. So now, I walk in memory of my Nana. Every mile I walk, pain endured, and tear I cry is worth it because my Nana lost her life to breast cancer. Watching her fight that battle was one of the hardest things I have done. All the pain and suffering she endured is not something that people should have to go through. I know that every time I do this walk it will be meaningful because I will be walking in memory of her. She was my HERO and I owe it to her to fight to help find a cure! She influenced my life in many ways and helped shape the person I am today and I want her memory to live on.”

And Courtney B., Michigan 3-Day

“10 years ago when I signed up to walk, I thought I would be joining my sister on a fun filled weekend to raise money for a great charity. However, the walk quickly became so much more when our Nana was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Throughout her ten month journey, we learned so much about the wonderful things Susan G Komen® does… not only drug trials but through their local chapters. It was a no brainer for us to continue this journey. I continue to walk because over the past ten years, so much progress has been made in the world of breast cancer because of the money we raise and although my Nana wasn’t able to beat cancer, I know millions of others who are surviving daily.”

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Emily H., Michigan 3-Day

“I took my first steps on the 3-Day for my mother-in-law Lori. Her diagnosis is the reason breast cancer is a part of my life. But what started as her journey quickly became mine. I walk for my daughters, sisters, mother, and the ones that will come after us. Every story that was shared with me during my first 3-Day opened my eyes to the raw fact that cancer does not discriminate, not for race, age, size, family, or money. In a society that is filled with tiers of class (your age, your weight, your marital status, your job) breast cancer effects a little bit of all of us. By natural I am a maternal person. I am always looking to help those around me, and when I was introduced to the 3-Day I saw it as a way to help the people of the world I do not know. The ones that might not be a lucky as my family, who get to celebrate their survivor.

I take every step with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face because I know that with that step I become More Than Pink and am one step closer to helping a stranger celebrate their survivor.”

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Jesse (in his chicken costume) with his mom

Jesse K., Philadelphia 3-Day

“There are many reasons, but every time I walk the list of reasons continues to expand. I started participating in the walks with my mom Jane when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I did this to support my mother in the efforts to help eliminate breast cancer from people’s lives. As I walked with my mom each year I began to realize that we were not just walking to help fight breast cancer, but also for support. This support was something that helped my mom through her journey with breast cancer. This support for my mom came from deepening her friendship with established friends, meeting new friends and sharing stories and emotionally supporting each other through their journeys. These things were accomplished through the 3-Day walk and I don’t think there is another situation that could have facilitated such a supportive and understanding network of people. These people helped keep a smile on my mom’s face and passion to fight in her heart until breast cancer eventually took her life. Until my mom passed I didn’t fully appreciate this network of support.

While walking this past year for the first time after my mom had passed I did a lot of reflecting and realized that this support network of 3-Day friends was just as important to my journey as it was to my mom’s. I will continue to walk because every year I make new friends who help keep a smile on my face and passion in my heart despite the heartbreak I have experienced. These amazing people are also added to the list of reasons why I walk. I hope that I am as supportive and motivational for them as they are for me.”

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Kimberly C., Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day

“In 2012 I joined the Youth Corps when my mom first started walking. At the time, I joined for three people in my life.

I was named after my mom’s best friend, Kim, who passed away from breast cancer in 2000 at the age of 39. She lived just long enough to see me born. I don’t have any memories of her personally but her family has become an extension of mine. Her mother is like a grandmother to me and her children are like cousins. All the stories I’ve ever heard about her just highlight how amazing of a woman she was, and it just isn’t fair that she left us so soon.

I also joined because of my Aunt Kay. She also passed away from breast cancer and I never really got the chance to know her. I love it when my cousins share stories about her, and it just emphasizes the fact that yet another person was taken too early from this world.

At the time, I also joined the Youth Corps because of my Great Aunt Julia, who I called Dudu. Before I was born she had battled breast cancer and won, and had been in remission for almost 15 years. About two months before the 2012 Dallas/Fort Worth event, her breast cancer came back. To me, it was a sign that this event was a necessity.

For three years I was on the Dallas/Fort Worth Youth Corps, and in 2015 I finally walked my first walk. Sadly, about a month before the Dallas/Fort Worth event that year, my Great Aunt passed away. That gave me the drive to walk those 60 miles and never give up.

In 2016, my second and third grade teacher, Shawn, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In elementary school, she helped to mold the person that I am, and was quite possibly the best teacher I’ve ever had. Luckily, after a yearlong battle she is officially in remission. I wrote her letters every week to read during chemo and she has always been supportive of me on the 3-Day but now she says she is so thankful. I walk for her.

Since I started walking in 2015, I have walked five events in three cities, and will be walking my 6th and 7th, on my 9th and 10th event. I am 18 now and plan to keep walking until I don’t have a reason to any more.”

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Elizabeth G., Michigan 3-Day

“When I was eight, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t fully understand what was happening at the time, I just knew that she wasn’t home as much and had to go to the hospital for treatments. As she was going through her treatment plan, part of it changed as new research that was done at the University of Michigan, funded by Susan G. Komen, showed that she could have fewer chemotherapy treatments but it would still be effective. This meant that she could have 27 fewer chemotherapy infusions, and was able to be at home for 27 more days than she was supposed to. She finished her treatment plan, and has been considered cured for 11 years.

In 2010, a close family friend started a 3-Day team in my mom’s honor. We went up to Michigan to cheer her on, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a part of this amazing event. My mom joined the team the next year, but I couldn’t participate as I had to wait a few years more until I turned 16. The year I turned 16, I knew I wanted to walk, I did, and I was hooked. This year will be my 6th event, and I’m so excited. Someone walked for my mom, and now I’m able to walk for someone else. Knowing that the money I raise makes a difference is what keeps me going, and I’m so blessed that I can walk 60 miles with my mom by my side. I walk so that other kids are able to have their mom by their side for all the important events, like my mom can be.”

Are you joining us this year on the 3-Day? Tell us where in the comments!

If you haven’t registered yet, don’t forget to sign up before February 5th so you can get $20 off your registration fee at The3Day.org

Motivation Monday: Get Inspired with Stories from 3-Day Survivors and Those Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

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To start off the week on the right foot, sometimes you need a little motivation. Mondays can be tough, but it’s important to remember the Bold Goal we are all working towards every day. There are no better people to remind us of this fact than our 3-Day family of survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer. We are proud to honor them at every 3-Day, and even more proud to hear why they continue to walk. Read on for their words of inspiration…

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Lisa P. from the San Diego 3-Day

“I walk with pride, humility, sadness for others who have lost the fight.”

Jen C. from Michigan

“I’ve been a 3-Day walker since 2011, but my reasons for walking have changed now that I’m a new survivor. I now walk to honor and give back to the community that has helped me get through my own breast cancer diagnosis. My 3-Day family has been there for me every step of the way, and I’m eternally grateful for the 3-Day bringing them into my life. <3”

Lori W. from Ohio

“I am a two-year survivor. I am walking to have a world without breast cancer. I don’t want my daughter, daughter-in-law, my sister, my mom my granddaughters, my sisters-in-law, nieces, cousins, friends to ever have to go through what I went through.”

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Michigan 3-Day Coach Jennifer

“I walk because, quite simply, I can. I am now 10 years cancer free and alive and healthy enough to walk, so I it’s something I must do.”

Stacey R. from the Twin Cities 3-Day

“I know that I would not still be around without the research support from Komen and other organizations that has given me the treatment options I have now. I want to pay this forward through continuing to raise awareness and funds for Komen and participate in the 3-Day walks.”

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Mandy H. from the Seattle 3-Day

“I am a survivor with three daughters. I walk to bring awareness to this disease, express the importance in finding a cure, and to remind people to be diligent in being checked.”

Liz B. from Philadelphia

“I signed up for my first 3-Day eight years ago when I was recovering from my mastectomies. Walking 60 miles became a personal goal. I continue to walk and crew each year because I’ve found a second family in the 3-Day. I will keep walking or crewing until there is no more need to do so.”

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Do you have your own story as a survivor or someone living with metastatic breast cancer? Share it in the comments!

 

Congratulations to the 2017 Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award Winner

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Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Seattle Milestone Award Winner; Erin Havens. 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 Seattle 3-Day camp show, we presented Erin with this special honor.

To get to know Erin better, we asked the 3-Day community for stories about her, and the response was glowing all around!

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Participant Veronica Claudio says, “I have been blessed to know Erin since I was very young, as she was one of my mom’s dearest friends. Our families spent lots of time together back in the day – from family camping trips, poker nights, and holidays. When my mom, Claudia was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was only 7 years old. I remember Erin was often at our house helping my mom or accompanying her to chemo appointments. Or sometimes, just singing karaoke. They both loved to do that together!

“In 2005, my mom had planned to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, and Erin was one of the first team members of CC’s Crewzers. Just before the walk, my mom’s cancer came back. My momma is a true fighter, and while still determined to complete the walk, she realized the only way she could do was with the help of a wheelchair, and teammates like Erin who took turns pushing her for parts of the 60 miles. I have watched Erin become an incredible advocate for a cure to breast cancer and breast cancer awareness through her tireless efforts for Komen. I believe losing Claudia, my momma, and her good friend, is a big part of her determination to fight breast cancer through her volunteering and raising money.

I have cheered Erin on in her trademark pink tutu at cheering stations, handed her countless Lil’ Smokies, and have hugged and cried with her at nearly every 3-Day walk she has participated in. I lost my beautiful momma to metastatic breast cancer when I was 15 years old and Erin has remained a part of mine and my family’s life for many years. I am honored and proud to call her a friend and an “extra mom.” I chose to walk after many years of cheering and supporting the walkers and I was honored that Erin also decided to walk with my dad and I as part of CC’s Crewzers.”

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Veronica continues, “I was blessed to have 15 years with my beautiful mom and am honored to walk on the team she started in 2005 with Erin. I don’t know anyone that has given so generously of her time, talents, and resources to this cause and I am so grateful and privileged to be able to have had Erin as a part of my life.”

If all those wonderful stories weren’t enough, participant Tiffany Davenport also raves about Erin!

“I’m so happy for Erin!  She absolutely deserves to be honored for her dedication, passion and commitment to the cause! I got to work with Erin on the Youth Corps last year and I am so thankful! She is so much fun and brings such light and energy to the event!”

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Marnie Hayes kept the love-fest going!

“I first met Erin at a getting started meeting about 9 years ago, when I first joined the 3-Day family. Erin has been very involved in the 3-Day the entire time I have been part of the three-day. Not only does she have connection with the little Smokey guys…”GO SMOKIES!” her daughter was also part of the Youth Corps. I have gotten to know Erin as both a walker and a crew member as I was honored to be part of the Youth Corps with her last year. It is very apparent in Erin’s dedication that she has a true passion for the cause.”

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Those are some seriously kind words! Now let’s hear about the 3-Day and Erin’s story in her own words. When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!

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

My dear friend Claudia was fighting breast cancer and asked me to walk with her. I told her I would donate, but didn’t think walking 60 miles sounded like something I wanted to do. She asked me to please attend an informational meeting, and of course I signed up that night!

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

I love the survivors who give me hope, the walkers who share stories, the crew who keeps me safe and well fed, the strangers along the way who lift me up and remind me how important it is to keep fundraising for the cures, and the opportunity to share the memories of my friend who lost her battle with this disease.

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

Asking often and making sure that everyone knows WHY this walk is so personal to me. Every fundraising post on Facebook should tell people YOUR why.

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

Enjoy every minute! Connect with other walkers and share stories, reach out to single walkers, high-five all the people at cheering stations, eat all the grahamwiches, and be sure to stick around at night to hear the Youth Corps share their stories during the camp show.

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What are fun facts about you?

I hate spiders but am fascinated by bats; one of my toes was crushed by a randomly falling steel pole 5 months before the 3-Day; I sneeze no less than 5 times in a row every time; people think I’m insane for doing 21 3-Day events, but I assure them I’m not alone!

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

Don’t get your Advil PM mixed with your regular Advil, if you lose a toenail you can get a fake one, wearing a tutu results in fewer blisters, and the people you meet on the walk become family.