Congratulations to the 2019 Seattle 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Penny Kellam

For the 2019 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 2019 Seattle 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Penny Kellam!

The amount of love for Penny on the Seattle 3-Day is unparalleled, and her team Kindred Spirits teammates could not stop gushing about her.

Teammate Denise Stark says, “Penny to me epitomizes the 3-Day in our community. She has rallied people and support to fight breast cancer through Susan G. Komen from all walks of life. She’s what I would describe as an influencer and a networker, connecting people and organizations with the cause and with each other that might otherwise have never connected. I would not be involved with the 3-Day today had it not been for a random meeting through the run she organizes every year to raise funds for the 3-Day. I can’t think of anyone who has done more to inspire and to deserve the Local Impact award than Penny.”

Kris Lambright, another one of Penny’s teammates, echoes those feelings.

“Penny is an amazing team captain! She makes sure that all teammates get help if needed to be fully funded, she makes sure you are prepared to walk (not just trained but with packing tips, Thursday team dinner, Thursday night hotel, etc.), and she has made the team into a family that supports each other not only on the walk but throughout the year. She also emphasizes the importance of kindness during the 3-Day – to other walkers, crew, and supporters. She basically just embodies our team name of Kindred Spirits.”

Then, we heard about Penny’s 3-Day love and dedication, right from Penny herself!

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

I was diagnosed with cervical and uterine cancer in late 1999. At the time I was given a 24% chance of survival. The uterine cancer was posed to take me out, but I was blessed with an amazing team of professionals that had a plan, listened me (and my gut instincts) and developed and adjusted a plan that respected my needs and brought me through.  We made decisions together that might not work for everyone but that worked for me. The absolute worst moment of my entire cancer journey was sharing my diagnosis with my sons – 13 & 15 at time. No parent should ever see the ragged fear in their child’s eyes that too many of us have witnessed.

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

That first year I walked for myself. It was all about my journey and my need to draw a line in the sand between cancer patient and cancer survivor. It was selfish but necessary. No apologies here.

That said that first walk was supposed to be a one and done…but something changed on Day 2. I was walking alone after putting a teammate on a Sweep Van. I was walking as fast as I could to move through the walkers to where I knew I knew a couple of my teammates were walking ahead. I went to pass “on the left” of a pair of young gals – in their 20’s, wearing matching shirts with “For the Love of Josie” on the back. One of them carried a pair of worn tennis shoes with a brand new sparkly angel – and I knew my heart couldn’t stand to ask. I’d been crying for two days and I thought I was spent.  But the universe had other ideas. The person behind me asked about Josie. And I listened. It turned out that Josie was Mom to one of these young girls. She had trained and fundraised and planned to walk with these best friends. They carried her training shoes because Josie had passed two weeks before but they couldn’t walk without her. I cried for the next two miles. Seriously cried. Because in that split second I had the vision of my boys walking with my face on their shirts and my shoes slung across their shoulder. And nothing about that was okay.

Then I saw the big picture.  I suddenly understood how absence of one of us throws ripples into the pond that never end. I had no choice but to sign up again…and again…and again. This year I’m walking New England (#34), Seattle (#35) and San Diego (#36) where my husband will join me as a first-time walker.

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

Ask everybody and then ask them again. Do not take the opportunity away from someone to support this important work by deciding for them that they aren’t interested in or capable of helping. You have no idea how this monster may have affected them or their family or their friends. I have too many personal stories of times when I hesitated to ask but finally took the plunge only to be overwhelmed by connections I didn’t know about and the absolute generosity of people I had thought unable to financially support this cause. Ask everybody!!

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

Enjoy the journey. There is something uniquely special about the people that step outside their personal comfort zone to do something this bold and challenging. Talk to everybody. Really talk to them. You’ll hear stories that you’ll never forget. You’ll enrich your 3-Day experience with every conversation. Stop and hug that survivor on the side of the road. Talk to the littles that come out to cheer you on. Don’t rush through everything looking at your feet. Consciously make the effort to look up and connect.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I spent the first seven years of my life as a proud resident of North Pole, Alaska. Santa Claus lived just down the highway from me, I routinely fell asleep to the crackle of the Northern Lights and we had a momma moose that would bring her calves to winter in the protection of the “L” formed by our house – all of which I thought was perfectly normal until I moved down to Washington State just before high school.

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

  • Kindness is everything.
  • We can do the hard things – especially when we think we can’t.
  • Family comes from many different places and only some of them may share your bloodline.
  • There are a lot of things in this world that I cannot change but I can talk and walk and organize and motivate and until cancer is a footnote in the history books you can expect to find me doing all of those things to speed along the end of this monster.

Congratulations to the 2019 New England 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Ali Pepe

For the 2019 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 2019 New England 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Ali Pepe!

Ali has participated in 15 3-Days over the course of 13 years, even participating as a member of our Youth Corps! Since then, she has “walked, crewed and has put her heart and soul in to being the Youth Corps Captain since 2012 in Philadelphia and Boston,” according to Coaches Tisho and Sharyn.

3-Day friend Robin Maxcy also can’t say enough about the amazing Ali!

“The words that come to mind when I think of Ali are kind, bold, generous and always doing something bigger than herself to help others. Ali’s smile and energy is contagious to everyone she meets. I feel fortunate to have met Ali and her family at the very first Boston 3-Day many years ago. From that time frame until now, I have watched Ali grow into a beautiful, smart and empowering woman continuing to help others.”

Ali is a joy and such an asset in our 3-Day family. You can learn even more about her, in her own words, below…

What was your inspiration to do your 1st 3-Day?

My mother had done the 3-Day for years to support my aunt, her sister, who had breast cancer. I was young at the time, but when I saw my mom and aunt walk into closing for the first time, I immediately knew I wanted to get involved and support the cause. Luckily, Boston was the home of the Youth Corps, and when I was 14 years old, I was chosen to be a member. It was an experience I will never forget!

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

After my first 3-Day, I was hooked! Not only does the event support a great cause, but the members of the walk become a second family. I can’t imagine not participating in it. This year will mark my 15th event!

Beyond that, it became an even more important event to me in 2012 when my grandmother, my mom, and my aunt were all diagnosed with breast cancer within 6 months of one another. I vowed I would participate in the 3-Day until we found a cure and there was no need for the walk anymore.

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

I’d say the biggest thing is that I’m usually just very open about my experience with the 3-Day and my family’s experience battling breast cancer. So many people have been touched by this horrible disease and want to help. Beyond that, I just incorporate fun into my FUNdraising whether it’s a band at an event, raffle prizes, or more. People are happy to help and having the opportunity to have a good time while doing so makes it even more enjoyable.

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

Get to know anyone and everyone you can on the event! Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a random stranger because I can guarantee in just a few short miles, they will become a great friend. Laugh, cheer, smile, and even cry! It’s all part of the magic of the 3-Day.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I have completed the past two Boston Marathons! Both times running for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, and have raised nearly $22,000 for cancer patients and their families who are in need.

I’m also a huge Bruins and Pats fan!

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

Ohhh, this is a hard one…I think it probably has to be that you should count every blessing you have and make every moment count. I know it sounds corny, but when you hear the stories of men and women on the event, and realize how awful the disease can be, I realize how lucky I am. My mom, grandmother, and both my aunts are now all survivors, but not every story ends like mine. Unfortunately, breast cancer claims the lives of too many people, and this is why we all walk. The 3-Day really taught me to cherish the ones I love because. It also taught me that no matter how horrible this disease is, we still have hope and each other. 💜

Congratulations to the 2019 Twin Cities 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Kim Williams

For the 2019 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 2019 Twin Cities 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Kim Williams!

Kim has become a vital part of our Twin Cities 3-Day community, going out early to mark the route for training kick-off events as well as assisting with street team day and being an active training walk leader for years. She has also served as a member of the 3-Day Advisory Council for two years.

Her friend Sue Norling says,Kim and I started our 3-Day adventure way back in 2009. We became friends during those training walks that first year, and the rest they say is 3-day history.

It is now 11 years later and I count Kim as a close friend all year round. We have had a lot of memories to laugh about over the years. I can always count on Kim to help me lead an 18-mile training walk even if she’s going to be on the crew, and does not need to train. She will even fly across the country to crew with me.  Through, heat, rain, re-locations, and travels. She is very deserving of this award, congratulations, my friend.”

We were honored to talk to Kim about what the 3-Day means to her, and what she has learned over the years…

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

I had started walking in the Komen Race for the Cure in 2002. In 2008 I found out my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt I had to do something bigger. I ended up going to a 3-day Get Started meeting on a snowy day and have been participating every year since 2009.  At the end of 2019, I will have participated in 15 events.

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

Besides raising funds for Komen, I have met and worked with a wide range of great people. A handful of them will be lifelong friends.  Because of this, I would look forward to my summers on event in MN.

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

Honestly, I am not successful at fundraising. I have been fortunate to have friends and co-workers who are VERY generous.

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

Make sure you train and follow one of the two training schedules. It is also important to allow time for life and family. When you are on your event, it is okay if you cannot walk all 60 miles. The people driving the sweep and shuttle vans are awesome. We want you to enjoy the 3-day experience and not end up in the medical tent or getting red carded!!!

What’s a fun fact about you?

I was given the nickname of “Falcon” on the 2011 San Francisco 3-Day. If you are afraid of birds, I will shoo them away for you. Also, I was excited to volunteer at camp, crew on a sweep van and finish the 2018 San Diego 3-Day as a 20-Mile walker.

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

Be proud to wear your 3-Day gear (finisher shirts, hats, buttons, pins etc.) You may run across a stranger who is a breast cancer survivor or has family/friend who has battled this disease. Strangers will thank you for what you do (walking or crewing) and they may even what to give you a hug or a donation. Participating on the 3-Day is not easy and can be exhausting, but it’s a great experience.