Welcoming New Members to the Lifetime Commitment Circle

The Lifetime Commitment Circle honors those who have gone above and beyond their fundraising goals, raising $100,000 individually or $1 million as a team. The following participants recently reached the amazing lifetime fundraising goal of $100,000. Read below to learn what it means to them. 

“I couldn’t have reached this milestone without all the amazing support from my donors. This is their milestone as much as it is mine! I walk so that one day my daughters won’t HAVE to…they will only walk because they WANT to.” —Nicole S. 

“I am so proud to say that since 2018 I have raised about $150,000 for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and prior to that, I raised about $100,000 for the Avon 39 Walks! It means the world to me and the more I raise the more I want to help everyone! As a 17-year breast cancer survivor all I want is for no one to have to hear the words ‘you have cancer.’ I want to participate in the 3-Day along with more survivors every year until the cures are found. It’s an extremely important part of my life!” —Debbie S. 

“Reaching this fundraising milestone has made me realize how blessed I am to have such an amazing circle of family and friends that continue to support my 3-Day journey. I couldn’t have gotten this far without them. I will continue to walk as long as I’m able, because we’re not done yet!” —Beth N. 

“I feel blessed that I have been able to be a part of the 3-Day family. I feel if we all work together, we can make a difference.” —Laura F.-K. 

“My mom died of breast cancer 50 years ago. At the time, there was no hope and no cure, and my Mom fought her battle in silence. When the 3-Day events began, I signed up to walk. My daughter was about two years old. I made a promise that I would walk until there was a cure. For 23 years I have worn the same shirt on Day 3 that reads, “In memory of my Mom. In hope for my daughter’s future.” The 3-Day and the $100,000 I have raised reminds me every day that there absolutely is hope and we will find the cures. No one needs to fight in silence.” —Julie L. 

“Fundraising was incredibly intimidating for me when I first walked the 3-Day in 2006. I carefully picked who I sent letters to and was absolutely amazed at the response I received and the personal stories I heard. Through my continued participation each year, I saw the work Susan G. Komen was doing and became unapologetically greedy for this cause.    

I don’t take it personally if someone donates or not. I have gotten bolder each year, and now ask anyone and everyone to join me in my journey to finding the cures. I live in my 3-Day shirts when I am fundraising, and I did not own even one pink item before 2004. I ask for donations multiple times. I wear my team pin daily and pass out my business card at the slightest interest by random strangers. I am so very proud of the dollars my loyal and first-time donors and I have raised, because I know that together we are making a difference. Reaching $100,000 in donations is incredible. I never dreamed I could reach it ― until it appeared I could. Now, I’m working to get to $150,000 this season!   

I started walking in memory of a treasured friend who lost her 12-year battle with breast cancer in 2004. I was unaware of Susan G. Komen before Gail died. Since then, I have been surrounded by this diagnosis through family and friends, so I continue to raise money for those in my life, and those in my donors’ lives.    

My closest friend since childhood has told me her story changed because of what I was doing and the advances in treatment she benefitted from six years ago. Also, a beloved family member of mine is thriving following her mastectomy and treatment plan. How can you stop fundraising after that? The 3-Day community has become my cherished family over these past 15 years and 17 walks. As one, we are walking towards the world as we wish it could be every day ― filled with love, compassion, laughter and hope. For all these reasons, and more, I cannot walk away.” —Nancy S. 

“Reaching $100,000 means that I have achieved part of my goal to help put an end to breast cancer. I continue to fundraise, though, because SO much more is needed. My next personal goal is to reach $200,000 before I turn 80. And I expect to continue to fundraise and walk well past then! Finding the Komen 3-Day has truly been a life-changing event for me and will continue to be until I am no longer here.” —Glen D. 

“Reaching the $100,000 milestone has reinforced for me how important community is in fighting breast cancer. I could not have reached this milestone without the love and support of my family, friends and community. I continue to fundraise and participate in the 3-Day because I continue to lose friends and family to this terrible disease. I have lost my mother and countless friends, and I don’t want to lose any more. I walk for them, and I walk for the future of my daughter, daughters-in-law and my granddaughters!” —Sue T. 

“I am flattered but extremely grateful to be recognized for my fundraising. Like everyone inside the Pink Bubble, I walk and raise money to help create a world without breast cancer. The 3-Day has been an integral part of my life since I traveled from my home in the Cayman Islands to Dallas/Fort Worth for my first walk in 2011. Little did I know back then where this journey would take me over the next 11 years: 18 completed 3-Days (plus 11 additional long-distance walks for breast cancer), over 1,000 miles walked, over $100,000 raised, several pink tutus and furry Muppet hats I wear on the route, and countless new friends, many of whom have encouraged me to start a 3-Day on Grand Cayman (our island is so small that it would consist of loops!). 

The 3-Day world is one of kindness, compassion, empathy and inspiration where courageous survivors walk alongside grateful wanderers like yours truly and experience every possible emotion along the way. I have cherished sharing the sidewalks with those whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer. My own list of loved ones for whom I walk in tribute or memory has grown each year and includes my Aunt Helen, who was diagnosed in May 2020 and is now cancer-free after a year of treatment with her family over 1,500 miles away. My walk in San Diego last November was in honor of Aunt Helen. 

I can’t wait to walk in all four events in 2022, including Chicago, where my daughter Madison will join me for her 3-Day debut. Thank you again for all you do to support us, and I look forward to seeing everyone later this year.” —Rob I. 

“It’s always hard to boast about yourself but reaching $100,000 was a very proud moment for me. Having never done any kind of fundraising like the 3-Day requires, I didn’t know how I was even going to raise $2,300 my first year. However, once I started, with dear friends and family still suffering from this awful disease, I haven’t even considered stopping. Next thing I knew, I was hitting milestones that kept driving me to do more. Susan G. Komen has been a part of so many breakthroughs in breast cancer research, I feel great about being able to support their efforts. This disease is instantly life changing, and often not for the good, so finding the cures is our way of trying to protect future generations!” —Stephanie S. 

“I’ve been participating in this event for a long time. I am addicted and have been walking 3-Day events since 1998 and Komen 3-Days since they started in the early 2000s.  

I have a loyal and generous set of teammates in the donors who have supported my addiction/commitment for these many years. I am very grateful for them and honored to be teammates with them in the fight against breast cancer. 

I am thrilled to have been able to contribute to the essential work that Susan G. Komen does in bringing an end to breast cancer and supporting those who contract the disease. The advances that have been made in detection and treatment since I started walking in 1998 are astounding, and the money that has been able to go to facilitating access to those advances is hugely important.  

Our job is not yet done. Until there is an end to this disease, there is more work to be done. My best friend and tentmate/teammate was diagnosed in 2020. She benefitted from the advances made in the 20 years since her sister died of the disease. We are on a good path, but we are not done yet.  

The people and environment in each 3-Day is so special, like nothing else that I have experienced. I have deepened friendships with my teammates through training, fundraising and walking.  

I am also contagious… I have brought many friends and acquaintances to the 3-Day. It is my happy place.” —Peggy P. 

Susan G. Komen® was founded on a promise from one sister to another to do everything in her power to bring an end to breast cancer. The commitment you all show when you go above and beyond your fundraising goals to reach these incredible milestones is recognized by induction into the Lifetime Commitment Circle. We congratulate and thank each of you for supporting Komen’s vision of a world without breast cancer. For more information on the Lifetime Commitment Circle, click here. Stay tuned for our next blog about the Lifetime Commitment Circle, honoring all of the 3-Day teams who have recently reached a lifetime fundraising total of $1,000,000. 

Loretta E.’s Fundraising Milestone: The Journey to $500,000

Fundraising can be hard, but if you’ve participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, you know how your donation dollars can save and extend lives. 16-time walker Loretta E. was initially nervous about being able to raise enough money to participate, but every year she has walked she has surpassed the minimum… by a lot. Loretta is now celebrating an amazing milestone—she’s the first-ever Komen 3-Day participant to raise $500,000! We asked Loretta what her connection is to breast cancer, and why she is so committed to finding the cures. 

How many 3-Days have you participated in? 

I’ve walked 16 3-Days! I have walked at least one city each year since 2006, except for 2016 when my father passed away the day I was supposed to begin the Seattle 3-Day®. 

What is your connection to breast cancer? 

My mother, Beverly, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 just after turning 60. She had a single mastectomy and was declared cancer-free. A year and a half later though, it metastasized to her collar bone and liver. She died in June 2007 due to complications from metastatic breast cancer. 

You’ve reached a huge milestone by raising half a million dollars to fight this disease. What does this mean to you? 

(Loretta is a member of the 3-Day Lifetime Commitment Circle, a group of dedicated individuals who have gone above and beyond, raising at least $100,000 individually or $1M as a team and showing leadership in fundraising and team development.) It has touched me deeply to learn how the money we raise is being used. At our first gathering of the Lifetime Commitment Circle, hearing stories first-hand from some of the doctors, researchers, and community outreach program leaders how the funds we raise for Susan G. Komen® are being used to help so many, I became even more inspired to continue to raise money! When people begin to understand what we are involved in and why, they are often interested in participating in some manner. Thankfully, for me, many of those are the very people who donate year after year. They truly are part of my team! Ultimately though, reaching this milestone means that my mother’s suffering and death were not in vain. Because of her, I have a deepened desire to help others in ways I know how. I’m not a doctor, a researcher, a scientist or a program leader, but I can walk and I can raise money for something I know makes a real difference! 

Why do you go over and above your fundraising minimum? 

I really never intended to raise more than $2,300! I used to be a very private person, but after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was very open about how she was doing, what she was going through and what our family was learning about living with breast cancer. I shared this freely in my personal life and at my workplace, which is in a remote area of Alaska. Many of my co-workers are like extended family to me; my brother and father all worked in the same location. By the time I started walking in 2006, I think people knew this was something BIG I wanted to do with my family in support of our mom. That may have motivated them to donate. I was so nervous that first year about raising $2,300. Somehow, I managed to raise about $16,000. I was stunned!  

Eventually, I learned that there were matching funds available through the company I worked for at the time and taught myself how the system works in order to teach donors who were eligible for matching to make use of that “free” money. I encouraged donors and helped them get matching gifts for any charity that was important to them, even if it wasn’t Susan G. Komen. It paid off big time! I haven’t really held fundraising events; the money I have raised came from individual donations and any company matching gifts that were available, and I am so grateful. I guess I go over and above simply because I can. 

What is something you want to tell the Pink Bubble? 

Let people in your life know that you are participating in the 3-Day and why. Your story may spark something inside them and inspire others to want to make a difference with you either by donating, crewing or walking!  

Do not decide ahead of time who will or will not donate — ask everyone you know! I have frequently been surprised by unexpected donations. I have found that many donors have someone in their life with breast cancer. Had I not reached out and given them an invitation to donate, I may not have made that connection with them. And it does create lasting connections.  

Follow up, follow up, follow up! People have busy lives and forget about an email that was sent or a post that was made. 

What is a fun fact about you? 

I moved from Texas to Alaska with my family when I was 10. Outside of the first ten years of my life and the years I was in college back in Texas, I have lived in Alaska. I work as a Maintenance Coordinator in one of the largest oil fields in North America! I travel to the Arctic and work for 14 consecutive days each month, followed by 14 days off at my home in Anchorage. 

Loretta will be participating in her 17th 3-Day in San Diego this November. Please join us in congratulating Loretta on this amazing milestone! Leave her a message in the comments. 

Julie Copaken’s Fundraising Milestone: $250,000 Raised

“What if it’s the $10,000 I raise this year that helps fund the grant that moves us that much closer to a cure? I can’t let myself stop!”

We’d like to introduce you to the latest member of the Impact level of our Lifetime Commitment Circle. This exclusive honor is bestowed on those who have reached an incredible fundraising milestone—raising $250,000 for the 3-Day. And she’s raised even more for other cancer organizations! We asked Julie to answer a few questions so we could learn more about how she achieved her fundraising success.

How did you get involved with the 3-Day?  
It all started in 2005 when I was an associate brand manager on the MOTRIN® IB Brand, which was a national sponsor of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. I was asked as a sponsor to speak at the Philadelphia event that year, and I didn’t want to do so unless I was out there raising money and walking alongside the people to whom I’d be speaking.

And once I started fundraising, I learned just how many people have been impacted by breast cancer—my friend’s mom, another friend’s aunt, my colleague, and more—and it became important to me that I continue to do my part. Since that time, I lost my father to pancreatic cancer (2008) and my close friend, Mary, to breast cancer (2009), Vicki, my former colleague and current friend, lost her sister, Betsy. My dear friend, Libby, who I met during the Opening Ceremonies years ago and then walked with every year since, lost her mom. And I met Maryanne—an amazing friend and breast cancer survivor. It’s a lot! So, each year since 2005 I’ve walked and raised money. I walk honoring the memory of my friend, supporting the brave, triumphant battles of other friends, and honoring the memories, current battles, and success stories of friends and colleagues’ parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, and my friends and colleagues.

We all know raising money during a global pandemic isn’t easy, but how did you do it?
I’m lucky that after 16 years I have a loyal group of supporters! I raise money through email campaigns year-round and Facebook posts. This year I was sure to include language around it being a tough year with so many important efforts to support, and I know that others’ charitable giving priorities may not coincide with mine, and that’s OK. So, I give people an out. But for the most part, people have been willing to give year after year, including during a global pandemic.

What is your secret to raising so much money every year?
I ask EVERYONE I know. Friends, friends of friends, colleagues, ex-boyfriends, family, etc. I’m lucky that my sisters and some friends will share my Facebook posts with THEIR friends. I send initial requests, friendly reminders to “bring the email back up to the top of your inbox for those of you who like me got busy and the email got buried.” I let people know when I’m close to my goal(s), and I know some people like a deadline, so I send out a “3 days until the 3-Day” message at the very end. I always make my emails some combination of personal/touching and/or funny. Lastly, I make sure to send thank you’s, and some of my larger donors get more personalized emails.

What keeps you coming back to the 3-Day again and again?
I just love the pink bubble! I’ve met so many people over the 16 years, and it’s just like a big pink family. And, I love the quality time with my teammates. Also, once you’ve started raising money, I start to think I can’t stop now! If I don’t ask, who will garner this support from MY network? What if it’s the $10,000 I raise this year that helps fund the grant that moves us that much closer to a cure? It’s almost like I can’t let myself stop!

What are some of your top 3-Day memories from past years?
My favorite memory was year one, night two, in Philadelphia. We had just completed 40 miles and I thought I could not take one step more than I actually had to…but then came the dance party! I remember looking around at these amazing, empowered women, and a few brave men, and thinking to myself how awesome it felt to be dancing the night away, despite the 40 miles! Another favorite moment was year four or five when I was asked to carry the “my father” flag during the Opening Ceremony. My father had just died from pancreatic cancer. Other favorite moments were meeting my teammates along the route. I remember meeting Maryanne around mile 10 on day two; now she’s become one of my closest friends. And I remember when Maryanne and I picked up Libby, a solo walker, at the Opening Ceremony. She walked every mile with us that year and for four more years after that.

How do you live the 3-Day spirit and spread the word all year long?
As mentioned above, I’m sending fundraising emails and posting on Facebook nearly year-round. I send a thank you card (like a holiday card) with photos from the events I participate in, along with a personal note, each year after the 3-Day. I stay in touch with my 3-Day friends on Facebook. One year I was lucky enough to head to Komen Headquarters for the Commitment Club event. Additionally, when I think about “living the 3-Day spirit,” I also think of more generally “giving back” to the world. This year has provided ample opportunity to do so! I raised money and participated in events for other cancer-fighting organizations like Purple Stride for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and running the Boston Marathon as part of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge. I also fostered 13 different kittens since March while working from home (not all at the same time) and also had the (unfortunate) opportunity to donate convalescent plasma for those fighting COVID-19!

Now that you’ve raised $250,000, what’s the next goal you’ve got your eyes on?
It’s the same goal it’s always been—a world without breast cancer! And more money for the research and early detection that will save lives and/or extend the time people get to spend with friends and family. $250,000 is just a fun milestone along that journey! I suppose the next big milestone will be $500,000!

Tell us what the 3-Day means to you.
Friendship, hope, passion, commitment, perseverance, family, fun, emotional, rewarding. It’s too hard to sum up, but those are some good words off the top of my head.

Thank you, Julie, for your year-round dedication to the 3-Day and our mission to end breast cancer. We’re impressed by the amazing amount of money you’ve been able to raise, and we are looking forward to sharing many more 3-Day memories with you in the years to come.

Julie’s achievement will qualify her for the Impact level in the Lifetime Commitment Circle. She joins Loretta E., Kathy G., Liz G., Bert S., and Burt L. as Impact members at the $250,000 level.