A Daughter’s Love, A Doctor’s Support: Robin Elm’s 3-Day Story

Robin Eggert Elm has been walking the 3-Day since 2002, first with her mom and sister, and now with an ever-growing team. Since that time, she has lost family members, endured hardship, and found a new home in Greensboro, Georgia. She has also made a new friend in her neighbor, Dr. Radha Vemuri, an oncologist who has support her 3-Day journey and many other breast cancer charities and research projects for years. Recently, Dr. Vemuri was diagnosed with brain cancer, prompting Robin to reach out to share his story…and her own…with the 3-Day community.

She says that Dr. Vemuri, or Radha to her, has been a constant source of support for her and her family over the years.

“He’s supported me in my 3-Day walks and he’s shared his commitment with me. He was originally from Kalamazoo, which is about 40 minutes from my parents. In 2017, my mom went in for a chest x-ray as they thought she had pneumonia. Once they began talking about other cancers, I called Radha immediately.”

Robin and her mother (left)

Robin’s mother passed away from meslotheomia in July of that year, after inspiring “dozens of walkers including my sister and me, granddaughters, nieces, cousins, and friends” to join in the 3-Day with her. Robin still walks in her mother’s memory, and with the support of Dr. Vemuri. She shared the story of that journey with us…

And how has Dr. Vemuri supported you and the 3-Day’s mission?

He continually advocates and supports initiatives for breast cancer education.

He says that as a doctor, ‘It is deeply disturbing to me that, in Greene County, more than half the women in the African-American community who are diagnosed with breast cancer will die from breast cancer. The national average for breast cancer mortality is 1-in-5. Our rate is more than twice the national average. That is unacceptable. Through education, screening and getting more women into the healthcare system, we can do much better.’

Radha was also a godsend to our family throughout my mom’s cancer journey. From the early days before her diagnosis through hospice and death, he selflessly gave his time and supported our family.

Why is it so important that people continue to support the 3-Day?

Simply, because we can. I travel all over the country for business. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t have a breast cancer story. As one of my client’s told me, “I was impressed that you walk, but really didn’t understand it all until my daughter did the walk.” It’s not just writing a donation check. It’s making a commitment. It’s seeing, hearing and experiencing why we need to find a cure.

Tell us some of your fondest 3-Day memories with your family!

The memories are really those of a lifetime. It would be impossible to articulate what our support of Susan G. Komen has meant to our family. We receive so much more than we give. Our entire family, not just the walkers, share their Komen stories. My nieces couldn’t wait until they were old enough to do the walk. When my brother’s triplets were three, they had a lemonade stand “for the cure.” Then, years later when one of their hockey teammate’s mother was diagnosed, they told their story and got everyone to paint pink ribbons on their helmets. My niece started bedazzling bras for all the walkers.  Last year, all the guys also had bedazzled bras. My husband likes telling how his came in handy to hold snacks and a small water bottle. I love our family pictures after closing ceremony with a couple dozen family members in matching shirts who cheered us on.

Some other true highlights were:

  • At the 2014 Twin Cities walk, we walked for a while with a family. The grandmother, who had done many walks, was being pushed in a wheelchair by her 15-year old grandson, Austin. She had walked with her other grandchildren and wanted to live long enough to walk with him. […]  One month to the day later, I lost my own son, also named Austin.
  • In 2015 Atlanta, at lunch on Day 3, my mom started talking to a crew member who had dragonfly earrings as dragonflies are an important symbol to our family, representing the cycle of life and death. My mom told her about the loss of my son. Later at Closing Ceremonies, someone tapped my mom on the shoulder. It was the crew member and her husband. She told my mom that each year she finds ‘her person’ but “I hadn’t found my person on this walk until I met you. I want you to have my earrings.” We still have no idea how she found my mom among that massive crowd! My mom kept the earrings on her nightstand. They remained there until she died. Now, my cousin, a survivor, wears them.
  • Finally, at the San Diego 2017 Opening Ceremonies, we looked up and saw a rainbow and just knew my mom was with us.

As a long-time veteran, what are your top fundraising tips for the 3-Day?

Tell your story. I walk in honor of someone different each year and interview them for my fundraising letter. I try to find honorees who’ve been impacted differently.

One year, I walked for my mom’s friend’s daughter. She was 15 and lost her mom. She told me, “I grew up with breast cancer. I had no one to talk to. No one I knew had a mom with breast cancer.”

Another year, I walked for a local woman I never met. She had contacted a local charity for support.  When I interviewed her, she said, “I never thought this would be me. I work. When I got divorced, I was going through treatment and got dropped from my husband’s insurance. I couldn’t pay my medical expenses and my other bills. I want to fight this, so I can support others.”

In 2018, Robin walked in honor of Dr. Vemuri. She will continue to walk as long as she can, fighting for a cure.

Do you have a 3-Day story like Robin? Do you want to show support for someone who has helped you on your 3-Day journey? Share them with us here!

A Toast to the 3-Day from Haviland F., Your San Diego Toast Lady

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But behind all that excitement and fun is someone deeply dedicated to the 3-Day cause, who works tirelessly for a world without breast cancer. Havliand lost her aunt to breast cancer before she became involved in the 3-Day.

She was first recruited to volunteer by her friend, Kit L., and lost her voice the first year she cheered on 3-Dayers. After a few years of this cheerleading-style weekend, the two wanted to do something different. They wanted to toast all the amazing work the 3-Day was doing, but knew that alcohol wasn’t allowed on event. So, they grabbed slices of sourdough bread instead, and began their “toasting” tradition!

The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, she and Kit have become a staple in the Del Mar community as “The Toast Girls.”

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Haviland raves about Kit and the rest of her San Diego 3-Day community.

“I can’t tell you how much I look forward to the 3-Day event every year, and cheering on every single one of those walkers while wearing more pink than should be allowed in public. Plus, holding up slices of bread.  It’s my honor to do this for these amazing people who are trying to find a cure for breast cancer.   Truly, spending four days with my 3-Day family is something that makes my soul sing every year.”

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To learn more about her dedication to the 3-Day cause, we heard Haviland’s story in her own words…

What are some of your fondest memories of meeting with walkers while you cheer them on?

Holy cow where do I start?!  All the ones I’ve made and the ones I have yet to make. From that first year cheering in over 3000 walkers to the last few years as a toast girl.  I love that I can inspire people.  It’s the least I can do because truly they are the ones who inspire me to come back year after year.

What keeps you coming back year after year?

Simple: The 3-Day is my family.  […] It’s my privilege to cheer and support these fearless walkers on the route and at camp. I come back to remember my Aunt Joanne and honor her. I come because my heart calls me to do so. It makes me feel that I have power over something that can make you feel powerless.  I will always be a 3-Day “Toast Girl.”

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Why is it so important that we continue to support breast cancer charities?

It’s important to continue so that we can put a stop to families losing time with loved ones. Time is precious and we all deserve a full lifetime.

Who are other people you want to “toast” to in your life?

My beautiful children Taylor and Ian.  My amazing family.  My closest friends Jen, Melanie, Kit, Janet and a ton of others all these people have touched my life in a significant way. And of course, my amazing 3-Day people – those who I know and those who I still have yet to meet!

We toast to you, Haviland!

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April Fundraising Challenge: Raise Funds to Benefit the Susan G. Komen Treatment Assistance Program

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Throughout the rest of April, we will be running a fundraising challenge to support the Komen Treatment Assistance Program. All dollars raised through the 3-Day from today through the end of the month will provide financial assistance, education and support services to low-income, underinsured or uninsured people undergoing breast cancer treatment as part of the Komen Treatment Assistance Program.

So, we’re challenging YOU to boost your fundraising efforts and help us reach our goal of $500,000 for the Komen Treatment Assistance Program so that we can help more women and men facing breast cancer. Please share the great work we can do through this program with as many donors as possible, and encourage them to help our cause.

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Not only will you be reaching your 3-Day fundraising goals, you will be continuing to help people in need.

You already know using tools like email and social media help you earn donations — now, here are a few suggestions on how to fundraise even more. They are simple and effective steps that will make a big difference!

  1. Share as often as possible on all your social media platforms, and be sure to include a link to your fundraising page.
  2. Email your network a minimum of twice, especially remembering to email them in the final days of the challenge so they don’t forget.
  3. As people donate, tag them and thank them on social media, like this: “[Insert Name] just donated on my behalf to the Susan G. Komen Treatment Assistance Program, which helps eligible breast cancer patients who have limited financial resources get the treatment they need. She is providing support to those who need it most. Won’t you join her and donate to the 3-Day today? [link to your personal page].”

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If you need help crafting your posts, here are some ideas for Facebook:

Example #1

From April 16 – 30, all the funds I raise for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day will go directly to Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program, which helps eligible breast cancer patients who have limited financial resources get the treatment they need. I’ve challenged myself to raise $500 this week to contribute to an overall goal of $500,000 for the Treatment Assistance Program. Can you help us reach this goal? Donate now!

Example #2

Today I’ve challenged myself to get 10 donations for @The3Day, to help fund Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program as part of a goal to raise $500,000. So far, I have 3 donations (thank you [tag] [Insert Name], [Insert Name], and [Insert Name]!); can you help me get 7 more before the end of the day? Make your donation now! Or if you’ve already donated, please share this request!

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Or, you can use one of these ideas for Twitter:

Example #1:

Today’s Challenge: 10 donations to fund Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program! Donate today: [personal page web address] #The3Day

Example #2:

Support me with a donation: [personal page web address]. All funds raised April 16-30 benefit Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program #The3Day

Example #3:

Donations now through 4/30 to @The3Day benefits @SusanGKomen and their lifesaving Treatment Assistance Program. Support my 60-mile journey: [personal page web address] #The3Day

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We are so excited for this first-ever fundraising challenge and look forward to the possibility of expanding this across multiple 3-Day funded programs in the future!

Good luck and get ready to fundraise! As always, if you need any fundraising support or advice, reach out to our 3-Day Social Media team or your local coaches. We are always here to help!