Pink Soles in Motion – A Real Heart of Service

Jackie B. from Coppell, TX, knows that her story is not all that different from so many Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participants’ stories. Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2005. A few months after the diagnosis, Jackie heard a commercial on the radio for the Komen 3-Day, and something clicked. For Jackie, part of it was the inspiration she felt from seeing her mom’s strength through her treatments, and part of it was the sobering the realization that now, breast cancer was part of her history too. She called her sister and said, “We’re going to do the 3-Day® in honor of Mom.”

They registered and called their team Pink Soles in Motion. That first year, it was just Jackie and her sister, but flash forward 9 years, to the 2014 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, and you’ll see a Pink Soles in Motion team with nearly 100 team members—including walkers, crew members, even Youth Corps members. They are the second largest team on the Dallas/Fort Worth event. That’s what I call motion.

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog dallas fort worth pink soles in motion

Jackie (back row, second from right) and just a few of her Pink Soles in Motion teammates

“What’s cool is, every year, you get a few that stay, then you get this new group, then you get some more,” Jackie said. “It’s been a wonderful ride for 9 years, and we don’t see ourselves stopping anytime soon.”

The strength and leadership within the ranks of the Pink Soles in Motion is clear, to the point that Jackie was able to “retire” as captain a few years ago. “We’ve got such strong people on this team, so we switched stuff around,” she says with a smile, and adds, “My second year, I was the only training walk leader on the team. I did every training walk, even the ones on Tuesdays and Thursdays! This year, we must have had 10 training walk leaders.”

After nearly a decade of such active involvement in the 3-Day world, I asked Jackie if anything still surprises her when she comes out to event. “I think it’s always, every year, you go along throughout the year, and then when you come together as a group, and you come to the Opening Ceremony and you’re reminded, ‘Oh, this is why we do this. This is what we’re all about.’ You hear the stories from the Ceremony this morning, briefly, for a few seconds, and you’re reminded.”

It’s that reminder that brings so many people back to the 3-Day year after year: the reality that, though progress is being made, we’re not there yet. Jackie agrees. “Every year we hear of someone else who succumbs to breast cancer, and we say, ‘That’s why we’re still out here.’ And people who have been involved with our team, then all of a sudden, they’re a survivor.” Pink Soles In Motion has nearly a dozen survivors within its ranks, several of whom sat nearby while I talked to Jackie at the Day 1 lunch stop, proudly wearing their Survivor tattoos on their cheeks.

For as strong a presence as the Pink Soles are on the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, they’re far from exclusive. “One of our favorite things to do—because we’re a big team, so we don’t all walk together as a group—is meet new folks. We have met so many people just in the first ten miles today. We love it. Hearing their stories. Why are they here?” Jackie mentioned a particular fondness for meeting solo walkers and welcoming them to the team. She looks around and wonders how many of the current Pink Soles started out as single walkers who they happened to meet along the way.

We’re briefly interrupted as the Pink Soles around us erupt with enthusiastic “Here’s Amy! She made it!” Another Sole-mate, returning to the fold. She reaches down to give Jackie a hug. “Amy’s been doing this a long time too. For some of us, we only see each other this one time a year. Sometimes, those who live in close proximity get together. But others, like Amy, we see her just for the walk, and we connect, especially at camp in the evenings, catch up.” The Dallas/Fort Worth event is where most of the team comes home to reunite each year, though, in the true spirit of this amazing team, they’ve also sent smaller versions of the team to other 3-Day cities over the years.

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk 60 miles blog dallas fort worth pink soles in motion jackie

Jackie, the original Pink Sole in Motion

For those team members who are local to the DFW area, their impact and influence in the breast cancer cause extends throughout the year, not just for these 3 days. “The support we get from the community is amazing. We’re adopted by the Coppell Fire Department every October. Pink Soles In Motion, for about 6 years, have gotten a proclamation from the city. We have a real appreciation, being recognized like that. This year, the mayor of Coppell said, they see Pink Soles In Motion as the ambassador for the city in the fight against breast cancer.” Jackie is proud of the fact that, as a large team, Pink Soles In Motion is able to hold large fundraising events out in the community, raising tremendous awareness along with money.

Nine years is a long history. I asked Jackie what she loves about the 3-Day and her team. “It changes your life forever. You end up going through all kinds of things. You become a big family. The people on this team have a real heart of service. That’s what you see out here. We learn perseverance, and it carries over into our daily lives. It wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed, and it was right in my face, that I really understood how people become passionate about a cause.”

In the case of Jackie and her Pink Soles In Motion teammates, passionate feels like an understatement.



Healthy Hooters: Because Your Battle is Our Battle.

In July, the Susan G. Komen Facebook page shared a beautiful photo and story that was heard around the Internet: after 26-year-old Brittany B. was diagnosed with breast cancer, her boyfriend proposed at a surprise pre-surgery party. As Brittany embarked on her treatment, a very special friend of her embarked on her own journey: fundraising $2,300 and walking 60 miles so that fewer women and men around the world ever have to hear the words “You have breast cancer.” Meet Jackie S., of Healthy Hooters, who is walking her first Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Philadelphia this weekend.

Brittany B and Jackie P Susan G Komen 3 Day Philly Walk to End Breast Cancer

Why does Jackie walk? Because Brittany’s battle is her battle.

Jackie was initially asked to join the Komen 3-Day by some of her team members, the Healthy Hooters. The Healthy Hooters is a team made up of neighbors in their Downingtown neighborhood of Pennsylvania. The Healthy Hooters are all new participants, and their past and current experiences with breast cancer brought them all together. Team Captain Melany walks in memory of both of her grandmothers, both affected by breast cancer, and in honor of her friend Michelle, a 36-year-old breast cancer survivor. Team members Kristy and Sara both walk in honor of their breast cancer survivor moms, team member Megan walks in honor of a family friend and team members Janis and Heather also walk for family and friends affected by breast cancer.

Team Healthy Hooters celebrates victory after Day 1 at Camp

Team Healthy Hooters celebrates victory after Day 1 at Camp

Like many other new 3-Dayers, Jackie initially had concerns about joining the 3-Day. “I went back and forth for about three weeks thinking I wanted to, but was always worried about fundraising. My heart eventually lead me to my decision. Eight days after I signed up, Brittany was diagnosed.” Jackie and Brittany have been close friends for eight years, and Jackie calls Brittany her “Little Sister.” “I have no siblings, so to have someone in my life to fill this role has been such a blessing,” said Jackie.

Brittany is more than halfway done with her treatment, and a quick search of her Instagram hashtag, #beitelstrong, shows how many people are rooting her on and showing support. You can follow her journey through the Susan G. Komen Facebook page.

As the team wraps up Day 1 of their 3-Day journey, I ask them if they have any thing they’d like to say now that they’ve conquered 21.5 miles around beautiful Philadelphia.  Their unanimous rallying cry? “Your battle is our battle.”

Jackie adds, “60 miles is nothing compared to the journey that loved ones are going through with breast cancer.  You can do this. You can’t go through life being a spectator. You have to be a participant.” Every day, we’re so grateful to all of our participants – walkers, crew and volunteers, for being such a passionate part of our fight to end breast cancer.