Congratulations to the 2018 Dallas/Fort-Worth 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Michelle Beniak

Michelle Beniak

For the 2018 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year.

Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Michelle Beniak.

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Michelle is a 6-year breast cancer survivor, and a 9-year 3-Day participant. This year, she is Co-Captain of team Pink Soles in Motion in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Pink Soles in Motion’s other captain, Catrina Gibson, says Michelle “is always willing to take on any task she is handed and tackles it with a smile. From planning and leading training walks, setting up shoe clinics at local retailers or manning the 3-Day booth at Race for the Cure, Michelle always gets it done.”

Coach Gayla echoes that sentiment, saying, “Michelle has been an incredible teammate for the Pink Soles in Motion team for years. She’s a survivor and has helped ME on many occasions. I’ve always been able to count on her to meet me somewhere to chat with a new participant, send people to her when looking for a team to join, man the booth at a Race for the Cure and/or More Than Pink Walk. Her positive promotion of the 3-Day inspires me and so many to get or stay involved.”

IMG_2164Michelle told us more about her 3-Day story…

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

I thought it would be a great challenge.

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

As a survivor, I feel the need to continue raising awareness and funds for finding a cure.

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

As part of a large team, we have several events throughout the year which helps a lot. In addition, finding people who work where their company matches donations has probably been the single most important “secret” to fundraising.

IMG_2167What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?

Train! If you find you still cannot walk the entire event, remember to walk out of opening ceremony, into camp/out of camp and into the closing ceremony. You won’t regret one minute!

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I have 10 grand-kids (+1 due in December) and 2 great-grand-kids!

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

Friendships can be made in mere seconds and last a lifetime. My motto is, “Strangers are family you haven’t met yet.”

 

Congratulations to the 2018 Atlanta 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Andi Counts

Andi Counts_Atlanta Local Impact Winner

For the 2018 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Atlanta 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Andi Counts.

Her teammate Janice said,I love Andi and I’m so blessed to have her as a friend and a teammate. After our 3-Day event, she invites everybody over to her house for ‘pink on the porch’ where we have great time reminiscing about the 3 Day.”

Her friend Anne says that, “Andi’s commitment to the breast cancer cause is stellar!  She is a great walking partner – we call them therapy walks sometimes…lots of time to talk as well all know.  What I admire about Andi is that she supports this cause for her friends, giving selflessly all around the year.”

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With such high praise, we just had to hear from Andi herself.

What was your inspiration for the 3-Day?

In 2005, a friend and previous walker asked if I wanted to join her the following year. Registering was mainly to add some fun to the exercise routine I had recently begun after years of being a couch potato and to do something good in the process. Who knew I’d still be walking 13 years and 15 walks later? Who knew I’d lose a close 3-Day friend and have many more survivor friends diagnosed during those same 13 years?

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after? The 3-Day gives more than it takes — even though it does take a lot to train, fundraise and keep on showing up. It’s a tidy package of social connections, philanthropy and exercise all tied up in a pink bow. In all the years of walking beside someone new, I’m always amazed by the depth, strength and enthusiasm for life of my fellow walkers. 3-Dayers are an interesting and entertaining bunch of folks who leave me a better person after each encounter.

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

Fundraising has been easier for me than for some due to a large network of generous friends. I’ve found that paper letters work better than emails since that paper reminder stays in their stack of bills or on the fridge until they act upon it — with no reminders necessary. I’m not shy about asking anyone I come in contact with for a donation. No one is annoyed about being asked and gives, or not, as they wish. Large donations come from the most surprising asks, and donors are mostly consistent from year to year. When I started doing two walks per year, I asked for double the amount and many did! The same thing happened during the years my son walked and we had to fundraise for two.

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

Get out and meet other walkers, ask questions, learn all their tricks, and then modify to make it all work for you.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m a native Atlantan who has lived three miles away from two different Georgia mountains — Stone Mountain and Kennesaw — and have enjoyed climbing them both frequently.

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

1. Breast cancer can attack anyone at any time.

2. The men of the 3-Day are simply amazing.

3. It is okay to take candy from strangers, pink is my favorite color and plastic tiaras have magic powers!

 

Congratulations to the 2018 Philadelphia 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Dawn Kifer

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For the 2018 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Philadelphia 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Dawn Kifer.

Her friends and family know how much the 3-Day means to Dawn

Jennifer Marandino says,  “As a previous training walk leader I know the commitment it requires. Dawn has tremendously dedicated her time and energy serving as a training walk leader to those in the southern New Jersey area for several years.

As a training walk leader, Dawn makes new and veteran walkers feel welcome, preparing them for the 3-Day, providing sound advice and words of wisdom. I am proud to call Dawn a teammate and dear friend. I can always count on her to be my sounding board, my voice of reason, and my calm among the drama.”

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In addition, Laurie Pino raves about Dawn!

“I met Dawn 2 years ago as I was preparing for my first 3-Day walk in Philadelphia. She greeted me with a warm smile and guided me through my first long training walk. Since then, we have worked closely on fundraisers, continue training walks together, share co-captain responsibilities for our team of 12, and most importantly laughs with me throughout it all! She is always available to answer our questions and offer advice. I am truly blessed to have met such a wonderful teammate and friend! She is very deserving of this award!”

With such high praise, we just had to hear from Dawn herself. When she answered these questions, she didn’t know she was going to be our Local Impact winner!

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

In January of 2011, a friend of mine had said she was going to do the 3-Day, my response was, “Okay, I will too”. My aunt is a survivor, and I had friends and co-workers that were also survivors.

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

To be perfectly honest, when I signed up that first time, I figured it would be a one and done thing.  Boy was I wrong! When I walked that first year, it became clear that this was a journey that had changed my life. The support I saw from the communities where we walked and the number of people walking certainly had an impact but actually getting to know the people I was walking with and the people I was walking for, made me realize that this is something that I just can’t walk away from.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask…People will give from their heart and they will give what they can.  Just remember that no amount is too little.

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

The 3-Day gives us a training schedule to follow. It’s great if you can follow that, but realistically, life happens, so it’s important to train when you can. I would say that it’s important to do at least one big back-to-back weekend (18/13 or 18/15 miles in one weekend) just so you can see how your body will feel. Also be sure to train in what you intend to wear on event (tops, pants/shorts, socks, sneakers, underwear, sports bra, back pack/fanny pack). If you’re not comfortable for 3 miles, 10 miles, 18 miles, you’re definitely not going to be comfortable for  20+ plus miles. Also, be sure to listen to your body. If you feel like you just can’t go on, get on a sweep van. That’s what they’re there for.  Last but not least, be sure to hydrate! This is something that can not be stressed enough. You should have water and some type of drink with electrolytes.

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

Breast cancer does not discriminate, it doesn’t care if you old or young, male or female, and it doesn’t care that you’ve already battled it before, it will come after you again and again. We are have to be stronger that it, we have to continue to fight it and stop it. We will continue this journey until we bring an end to breast cancer.

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What’s a fun fact about you? 

My favorite musical group is the Beatles, and my favorite song is “Let it Be”

My favorite sports teams are the Ohio State Buckeyes, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

I learned how to count to 10 in Spanish on Sesame Street and I can say “Thank You” in Polish too.

And I completed a Triathlon Sprint when I turned 50!