My 3-Day Experience: Checking in with Former AVON 39 Walker, Debbie

This year on the 3-Day, we were happy and honored to welcome many past AVON 39 walkers to our pink family. One of those walkers, Debbie S., joined the 2018 San Diego 3-Day and was our Top individual Fundraiser for the event! After raising more than $75,000 as a six-time AVON 39 walker, she raised $32,000 in her first year on the 3-Day.

We were so honored to have this breast cancer survivor and grandmother of two on the 3-Day this year. After her first 60-mile walk, she’s giving us an inside peek at her journey, and her top fundraising tips!

You are a fundraising rock star! What are your favorite fundraising techniques?

I fundraise very simply, yet diligently. I start about six months ahead of the walk. I create a personal email message, which I also used on my participant center page. I include a picture of myself to keep it personal. I sent the email to every email address I have in my contacts, everyone that has ever emailed me, everyone I know, lots of people I do not know; friends, family, friends of friends and family, doctors, work contacts, clients etc. Hundreds of emails!

The first round of emails always gets a good amount of donations and keeps me going. For the next 3-4 months I send out monthly emails to those who have not yet donated. I change the email message up each time, but still keep it very personal. I continue to send my original email to ‘new’ email contacts I have gathered along the way. I ask everyone for their email and ask friends and family to share their email lists.

By September I was sending emails to those remaining donors every other week. Come October I was sending emails every week and took advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sometimes I was just sending a picture or a saying or a cartoon and my link to my donation page. It was my goal to stay in their face every time they went to their emails. I figured, the worst thing that could happen is they would just delete or block me! 😀 No harm! Many thanked me for reminding them, because with all the emails we get, they do get lost and forgotten. I sent emails every week, all the way up until the day of the walk.

I immediately sent every donor a personal thank you email. Also, every once in a while I would update those who already donated on my progress, showing them how much they were a part of raising so much money, which would occasionally make them donate again! I stressed US, and WE, not just me! I showed them what a big part of finding a cure and reaching a goal they were. The fundraising is so fun to me and gives me a great sense of accomplishment! I would wake up every morning and check email immediately to see my donations. The more I got, the more I wanted! I would raise my personal goal accordingly.

I didn’t do anything big or unusual, but I just never stopped asking!

What about training for your 60-mile walk?

As for training, I am a walker by nature. I walk year-round. I started walking diligently 13 years ago, after my cancer diagnosis. It was my escape. I have not stopped walking since. I walk an average of 30 miles a week!

You were also a part of our Opening Ceremony….

The Opening Ceremony was great! Being a part of it was so amazing and special. It was the right length of time and got everyone motivated to get out there and do this! I appreciated the time taken the day before for rehearsal and the time put into making it great!

What were some of your favorite spots along the route?

The route was beautiful! After very chilly mornings, the weather was spectacular, and the views were magnificent. Day 1 had gorgeous ocean views, but every day was beautiful. Having walked in 6 AVON 39 walks in different cities, I must say San Diego blew me away. I have never walked in a city with so much neighborhood support! It was amazing! The crew and residents and businesses were out everywhere! It was a wonderful feeling of love and support, from survivors and women going through treatment thanking us to kids and elderly showing their love!

As a survivor I couldn’t feel more support and love. The crew along the way was great! On Day 1, as it heated up, I took off my long-sleeved shirt. As I was attempting to tie it around my waist, a woman came right over to me and offered to bring it to camp for me. She put it in a bag, wrote my name and phone number on it and delivered it to camp! It seems silly, but so great to not have to walk with a shirt wrapped around you for 20 miles! She even called me later that night to make sure I got it! That’s just how people were! So sweet!

What was it like crossing the finish line?

Crossing the finish line was super special. My son walked the last day with me as a 20-mile walker! I can’t tell you how special that was! We had a great time and as we approached the finish line, my 6-year old granddaughter made a mad dash for me across the field. I picked her up, carried her and the three of us crossed the finish line together! My son said he would love to do it again, maybe all 60 miles, and my granddaughter said she would walk with me in 10 years, when she’s 16! 😀

It looks like we have a future 3-Dayer on our hands! Thank you to Debbie, and all our former AVON 39 walkers who made this 3-Day season something truly special!

View from the 3-Day Crew: Looking Back with the Michigan 3-Day Crew

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The 3-Day Crew is an integral, amazing and appreciated part of the 3-Day family. We simply could not do it without them! They work tirelessly for long hours to make sure that every step of our walkers’ 60-mile journey is a wonderful one. And they do it all with a smile on their face!

That’s why we are honored to be featuring a few members of our Michigan 3-Day Crew. These ladies are all-stars and have made such a difference in our community. As 2018 fades into the past, it’s people like these that are already getting us excited for the 2019 Michigan 3-Day!

Let’s hear it for all the Michigan 3-Day Crew!

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Monika Schmidt on Camp Support knows that her job is hard work because this group of Crew members are up very early and go to bed very late to make sure every walker can camp in comfort. But she says that being on Crew is like having a really big family, so she never minds the hours!

“I love my pink family! It can be exhausting work, but its oh so rewarding. I love to see everyone coming back to Crew year after year. We are crying together and laughing so hard. I would not miss it in the world.”

She was also a part of our Opening Ceremony in 2018 and was humbled by the honor! But she says her favorite memory every year is to see all those lovely walkers coming back to camp each day 😊

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Becky Jo Beverly, a long-time Crew member, echoes that 3-Day love.

“There are so many things to love about the 3-Day – the pink bubble is legit! If the rest of the world was as strong, kind, accepting, loving and GOOD as the 3-Day world, it would be a better place.”

She has so many wonderful memories from her time on the Michigan Crew, everything from tons of grahamwiches, tutus on peoples’ heads, pink fountains, problems with air mattresses, accidental strobe lights and “so. many. dance. moves.”

Even with those laughs and fun times on her mind, Becky Jo and the Michigan Crew all take their “duty to serve and care for our walkers (yeah, I said OUR walkers … we love them that much) very seriously. For those three days, they are our whole world. We. Love. OUR. Walkers.”

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And they’re thankful for them, too!

“Thankful. That is the best word I can come up with when I think of this event. I am thankful for the people that work behind the scenes to use the funds raised to make a difference in this war we are waging. For the experiences I have had along the way (blisters, dehydration, sunburns and all) that have made me stronger. For the people I’ve met that have made me a better person. I am thankful for the pink bubble that proves again and again that this world is full of beautiful potential. I am Blessed beyond measure to be part of the pink family … and I am forever thankful.”

We are also forever thankful for Becky Jo, Monika, our 3-Day Michigan Crew….and our 3-Day Crew across the country. You motivate our steps and make our journey even more special

Michigan Crew sound off! What are some of your best 3-Day memories? What memories do you hope to make in 2019?

Remember, if you register at The3Day.org by TOMORROW 12/6, you’ll automatically get 50% off your registration fee—no special codes required! Come join us and make new amazing memories in 2019!

Congratulations to the 2018 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, George Nummer

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 Michigan 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, George Nummer!

Coach Heather says,

“George is an institution within not only the MI 3-Day but our community as a whole. Many people will say they know the mature gentleman with the walking sticks. When I say “community,” I mean the 3-Day as well as the local community where George can be seen walking many months of the year training for the multiple 3-Days that he is taking part in any given ear.

George is a man dedicated to saving lives. While he has many friends on the 3-Day, he is often found walking and talking with those he does not know…..he wants to learn their story and get their promise. The promise to get a mammogram….and possibly save a life.  He takes any opportunity to get out there and advocate….whether its volunteering to be the subject of a local news piece to get the word out to the masses, but just as important to him, meeting new people and getting their promise on each 3-Day he takes part in. 2018 will mark 40 walks for George!”

George receives his award at the Michigan 3-Day.

Want to know more? Let’s hear from Beth Northman.

“If you don’t think you can make a difference in your own small spot in the world, all you have to do is have a chat with George Nummer!  Truly a 3 Day treasure, George began walking in the 3 Day after September 11 because he wanted to make a difference and reach out to help others around him and he has done this over and over since he began participating in the event.  With is walking sticks in tow and a smile on his face George is an inspiration to all he comes in contact with.  I encourage you to spend a few miles with him on the route and hear his story; you’ll be glad you did!”

His friend Michelel Yelovina also raves about George.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than George. His determination and dedication leaves a lasting impression on all who meet him. But it is his relentlessness to the cause at hand that impacts the most. “Promise to…” two strong words…”promise to get a mammogram “ is what he asks those that walk with him to make.

For 49 out  of the 50 women that make that promise all maybe well, but for the one… for THIS one…George is a life saver. I don’t know how much more of an impact one can have on another persons life than having a hand in saving it! So thank you, my guardian angel , you deserve this and sooo much more! You have a special place in my heart forever!”

Now, let’s hear from the man himself! When George talked to us, he didn’t know he would be receiving this honor!

George says, “I was inspired by a speech by President Bush, post-911. He said if you want to help fight terrorism, start by helping your neighbor, help your community. A few days later, I saw an ad for the 3-Day. I thought, at age 70, I could never walk 60 miles in 3 days but I was curious so I sent for information. After I got the information and read about the Breast Cancer statics, I thought that’s pretty bad maybe I can do something to help and here I am at 86 and 40 walks later.”

We had to learn more…

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

Knowing that I am helping breast-cancer patients and survivors, and particularly getting women to promise to get yearly mammograms, has bought me back year after year. I especially enjoy being part of the 3-Day community, making friends with fellow walkers across the country.

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

Being positive in my fundraising, sending letters to all my family and friends, and not being afraid to ask for donations have led to my success. The worst people can do is say no.

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

It’s important to train well in advance. It’s best to train in all types of weather, as you may be walking the 3-Day in bad weather. And remember, it’s not a race. Take your time and get to know your fellow walkers, find out why they are walking. Enjoy yourself and have fun!

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I started walking in the 3-Day at age 70. The year I turned 75, I walked in every 3-Day event available—12 walks in 15 weeks. The hardest thing I ever did, but the most rewarding!

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

Always have a positive attitude. Before you can accomplish something you must first expect it of yourself. You can do most anything you set your mind to, just believe in yourself.