Congratulations to the 2019 Michigan 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Gary Bertolini

Please join us in congratulating our 2019 Milestone Award Winner; Gary Bertolini. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Michigan 3-Day camp show, we presented Gary with this special honor.

Gary is loved by both the 3-Day family, and his own family as well. He has managed to merge those to groups to surround himself with people who can’t say enough about him.

His son-in-law Tom Crews with Gary, and says,

If you’ve met Gary, you know that he bleeds pink for more than three days out of the year. The Michigan Komen 3-Day is not a week long event for him, but a commitment. His decade in the 3-Day aligns roughly with my entrance into his family. I remember stories of him walking the route the weeks ahead, and preparing it for walkers because that’s just what he does.

As he became more involved, we had conversations about ideas he had to increase membership and try to rejuvenate the Michigan 3-Day, and how excited he was to pass those ideas along. Three years ago, when Gary’s grand kids were old enough that we could leave them for a long weekend, I remember thinking he must have put something in the water to make me think this was a good idea, and I joined. It wasn’t in the water, it was in his passion to help others. It wasn’t good enough to raise money, he had to try to raise thousands of dollars every year! It wasn’t good enough to be on crew, Gary had to be a leader by example on that crew. He was the first one there ready to work and the last one to stop. As his son-in-law, the pressure was on, but in the best way possible. Gary’s commitment inspired me to do more than just thank him for the incredible work that he’s doing to ensure my daughter, his grand-daughter, will never have to be a survivor of this terrible illness, he inspired me to step up and be a part of the change.

Gary’s commitment to Komen, his passion for all the organization stands for, his tireless work ethic for the 3-Day weekend and the 362 days that lead up to it, and his selflessness to fight for the cure are just a few of the reasons that I’m proud to call him Dad and that have inspired me and others to get involved in this cause!”

His daughter Liz L. also Crews with their family, and has seen the 3-Day grow and live in Gary’s heart for more than a decade.

“Over the past twelve years, the 3-Day has become a big part of my dad’s life. The first year, Gary chose to walk to honor friends and family members who had been affected by breast cancer. But, like many of us, after participating one year, he was hooked. He participated for several more years as a walker, raising much more than the minimum donation each year. As time passed, Gary became more involved in the 3-Day organization by participating on advisory panels and offering suggestions about how to grow the event.

A few years ago, Gary transitioned from a walker to a crew member, but did not lose his drive to make the event the best it could be. He continues to fundraise thousands of dollars each year as a crew member, and gives his all on event. Whether he’s driving a truck, setting up a shelter, restocking the food tent, or encouraging walkers, he’s there with a smile and a can-do attitude that keep everyone going. If Gary sees something that needs to be done, he will take care of it, no questions asked. For three days, he’s not just our dad, but everyone’s dad. If someone is struggling to open a case of water, he’s there with his pocketknife to help out. When he sees a walker struggling to make it into lunch, he offers them his camp chair or a fresh piece of cardboard to make them more comfortable. Gary always has a warm smile and is ready with a good dad joke to make people smile. And when friends and family come to visit and cheer the walkers on, he’s the first to welcome the little kids to the event as a temporary grandpa. I am so proud of the commitment Gary has made to the 3-Day event and to finding a cure for breast cancer. His positive attitude and hard work are truly an inspiration.”

His other daughter (and fellow Crew member!) Emily, echoes that sentiment.

“In 2008 my dad asked my sisters and I which one of us wanted to walk 60 miles with him. Now, none of us are particularly athletic so we weren’t sure what he was thinking, but Dad filled us in. He wanted to participate in the Susan G Komen 3-Day in memory of his colleague Linda Dinger, who had recently lost her battle with breast cancer. Thinking of the family connection we also have – my grandmas both survived breast cancer – I agreed to be his buddy and tent-mate for what would become our first event. I was intimidated by the fundraising, but Dad told me not to worry; it turned out he was very right! That first event was both a learning and bonding experience, sharing a smaller space in a pink tent than we ever had, and Dad improvised some first aid techniques for a blister that definitely weren’t part of the training. We didn’t usually keep the same pace but we met up at lunch each day, even when I had to sweep there, and that really kept me going. By the time we crossed the finish line together, Dad was hooked on the experience and talking about things to do for the next time.

Dad continued to walk until a few years ago, with my Mom as his personal support team, smashing through the fundraising minimums every year. Even after joining me, my sister Liz, and later my brother-in-law Tom as crew, Dad continues to fundraise like a walker with his unwavering dedication to the cause. Dad had heart bypass surgery a few years ago, and I’m sure that all his walking kept him in good physical shape and helped his recovery. Even after his surgery, Dad has not missed a Michigan 3-Day event since we started.
I’m so proud of my Dad’s contributions to all aspects of the 3-Day, from motivating other walkers with “dad jokes” and a fart noise machine, to helping run a pit stop, to participating on the advisory council to his remarkable fundraising.”

After all of that heartfelt praise and admiration, we had to speak with the man himself! This is the 3-Day, according to Gary.

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

A good friend and co-worker lost her hard fought battle with breast cancer in 2006. She was a young mother of 3 taken from us too soon by this disease. I decided to participate in the 3-Day to honor her memory.

What has brought you back year after year?

While we have made great progress over the last 12 years there is still a lot more to do. I hope to stay involved until we have a cure. Also, I do this to show my children that it is important to have causes and to give your time and energy to supporting them. Two of my daughters and my son-in-law participate with me each year.

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

It starts with a great group of friends and family that know how important it is to find a cure so that future generations don’t have to experience this disease. It also helps to be doing this to honor a woman that was loved by so many. In addition to this I believe the secret to my success in persistence. I start with this long list of annual donors with a letter soliciting their continued support. Then I repeat it every month until I receive a donation. Not many have told me to stop because I am becoming annoying but many have thanked me for the reminder and said  “I thought I had already donated”.

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

Work hard to fundraise and train before the event. If it is your first 3-Day try to join a group of experienced 3 Dayers who can help you with training and fundraising tips. Once you are on event – Have Fun!! Reflect during the day on why you are here and engage with others along the route – share stories and make new friends!!

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a jokester. My kids and grand-kids moan and groan at my “Dad Jokes”. It gets so bad at times that I tell them something serious and they wait for the punchline!! I have to tell them I am not joking. Oh well, a small price to pay I suppose!!

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

This event is ultimately about raising money for breast cancer research and programs that save lives. If you are on event you have done your job and you should feel very proud for doing so. This is not about causing yourself physical harm. Walking each step of the 60 miles is an accomplishment but not a requirement. You know your body and what it can do. Please don’t push it beyond your comfort level. All of your supporters want you to be healthy the day after the event. Tired but healthy!!

Congratulations, Gary!

2019 Michigan 3-Day Route Preview

It is almost here! The Michigan 3-Day is next week, and as you get ready for the event, we have a preview of what you can expect on our first 3-Day of the year! We can’t believe the weekend is almost upon us, but your Michigan 3-Day staff and coaches have been hard at work all year long to plan a fun-filled weekend for everyone heading to the Great Lake State.

After getting great feedback on our route from last year, you’ll be happy to see some familiar sights, but we have taken extra effort to make this year even better than the last! That includes an updated experience for our Opening Ceremony and camp, both of which will take place indoors at the Sheraton Detroit Novi. We will be taking over three different hotels in the Novi area, spreading the 3-Day spirit far and wide.

You can follow along with us on Facebook to see the grand unveiling of what the new Opening Ceremony will look like, but Event Production Manager Melanie Toner thinks everyone will love the new set-up!

After the Opening Ceremony, walkers will start their 60-mile journey. There will be changes to the route as we walk in and out of camp, so that we can give our walkers a direct route in and out of the hotel, and Melanie and the 3-Day team are working hard to make those changes extra special.

After walking out of the hotel, walkers will cross over Interstate 96 and head North to Walled Lake and into Novi. Keep an eye out for our first cheering station of the day and then an amazing photo op at Pavilion Shore Park.

After this you can look forward to some new route stops, but we will still visit all the amazing Michigan towns that have been such great hosts to us in the past. That includes the quaint neighborhoods of the Walled Lake community that embody the lake culture of the Mitten state!

Then, we will finish our day back at the new hotel camp.

Melanie says, “You can expect the same elements of 3-Day camp and your night with your fellow 3-Dayers that you’ve loved in the past! It will just be spread over two floors. Although we are moving camp from the outside, the move indoors creates a new and exciting atmosphere with all the comforts of home! (indoor bathrooms anyone?)

The first floor will hold our Opening Ceremony, and following the ceremony, the space will transition into your 3-Day Dining Room for the rest of the weekend. It will include the all-new 3-Day Lounge brought to you by Amgen, complete with charging stations, giveaways and frozen yogurt! And back again this year (to everyone’s delight) is a fan favorite, the Bank of America massage chairs. Also be sure to visit the 3-Day store, get your 2019 Michigan pin and buy a 3-Day “wish you were here” postcard for to a loved one! Don’t forget to bring stamps.

Then on the second floor there will be the medical team, a Manduka stretching area, our Youth Corps area and more! It will be a space for connection, community and a chance to refuel”

Ann Love, another member of our Michigan Event Production team, echoes this excitement, enthusing, “I am very excited to see the hotel portion of the event come together. The hotel has been really supportive, and I think everyone is going to love what we’ve put together!”

Day Two will start with the Bank of America Breakfast of Champions for our Top Fundraisers. Usually honored on Friday at Camp Show, this recognition will now take place before we leave camp first thing on Saturday.

Day Two we will head south through Novi again, and then into Plymouth where we’ll pass by the Plymouth Historical Museum. We will spend much of the rest of the day in Plymouth, including visiting Kellogg Park, where the familiar Pink Fountain awaits and walking along the Ann Arbor Trail Road and then into Northville, another historic Michigan community.

At lunch on Day Two, we will reach the halfway mark of our walk… and we’re going to celebrate! Enjoy special photo opportunities, a local DJ and more excitement. This new celebration will take place at all of our 3-Days this year, and we are especially excited to debut it in Michigan.

One of Ann’s favorite parts of Day Two is that it will be a shorter route, thanks to the new hotel camp location. We have heard your feedback about Day Two being a bit long and taken that into account this year.

Day Two will end back at camp with an all-new Honor Ceremony. This special addition will include stories from walkers, crew, Youth Corps, and more. You’ll even have a chance to share with the world why you commit 3-Days.

Melanie says that our Day Three route is very similar to last year. “We know people loved it, so we didn’t want to change that feeling!”

The day will start with a short bus ride to an elementary school in Livonia. Then much of the day still takes place in Dearborn, including a pit stop at the Dearborn Historical Museum. This is just one of the fun destinations right in the heart of downtown Dearborn. York Street in Dearborn is especially supportive of our walkers, coming out in full force to cheer them on. Also keep an eye out for gorgeous views of the Rouge River near the end of the final day of walking.

Other highlights to look forward to on the route throughout the weekend are:

  • Walled Lake
  • Cheering stations in downtown Plymouth
  • Ford Field in Dearborn
  • Hines Park
  • Downtown Northville (Ann especially love the historic homes)

After 60 miles, our walk will once again finish at the Ford World Headquarters. This has been such an iconic and special spot for our Michigan 3-Dayers, and we are honored to once again be able to finish our journey there.

Instead of having a separate Participant Finish Area and Closing Ceremony site, we will have one celebratory Closing Festival area. So, all the excitement can be in one giant space! There will be live music, crowd games and prizes plus even some line dancing!

When the last walker arrives, we will immediately begin the Closing Ceremony. The Closing Ceremony will be like what you have come to expect in past years, but with some new festive additions.

The celebration will be for everyone, regardless of when you finish! Plus, having the Victory Area also hold Closing Ceremony means there will be less walking after you finish your 60-mile journey! Which we know our walkers will love 😊

All in all, we are looking forward to showing off many new additions to the 3-Day this year and kicking off our 2019 3-Day season in style.

 

20 Reasons to Join the 3-Day in 2019

The reasons to join the 3-Day are endless. Truly! Everyone gains something different on this amazing journey, and everyone comes back year after year for their own reasons. If you need a bit more motivation to join our 3-Day family in 2019, we have a few all-encompassing reasons to #Commit3Days and join the 3-Day NOW!

(Hint: Make sure to read to the end for a special discount code 😊)

  1. Meeting new people: One of the best parts of the 3-Day is the “Pink Bubble” made up of every member of our 3-Day family. Even if you’re walking on your own, you will finish the weekend with scores of new friends.
  2. Outdoor camp: Glamping in pink tents. Sleeping under the stars. Being super close to to all your teammates. There is also so much to love about our outdoor camps in Seattle, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego! There’s really no wrong choice (except not joining at all).
  3. Hotel camp: Air conditioning. Charging plugs galore. Real beds and pillows and showers. There is so much to love about our new hotel camps in Michigan, Twin Cities, New England and Philadelphia! (New England 3-Day registration is closed, but you can still register as a 20-Mile walker!)
  4. Seeing all the sights: 60 miles is quite the distance. So, even if you’re walking in your own home city, chances are you’ll get to see some new and unique parts of your hometown on the 3-Day weekend.
  5. Tons of treats: You will be active and moving all 3-Day weekend-long, which makes it very important that we keep you hydrated and fueled. Pit stops, water stations, lunches and dinners are all full of delicious bites like Grahamwiches and the famous 3-Day Mac n’ Cheese.
  6. The 3-Day coaches: We must give a shout out to the people who make it happen. Your 3-Day coaches are here to encourage, advise, support and be there for you every step of your 3-Day journey. From the moment you sign up until you cross that finish line, they will be your champions.
  7. An excuse for shopping: You’re going to need some new gear to display on all those training walks, and especially on the 3-Day weekend! People go all out with their 3-Day outfits, rocking everything from feathered wings to our very own 3-Day T-Rex. You better start shopping now!
  8. Get moving: Many people have the goal to get more steps in, move more in their everyday lives or get in better shape. While we have walkers of all shapes, sizes, and ages, you can use the 3-Day to help fuel your next fitness goal.
  9. Finding new tunes: While you’re out moving and grooving away, you’re going to need some music to fuel your journey. The 3-Day has its own Spotify account to get you started on musical inspiration, but you can also make your own! You’ll be surprised how much good music will improve your mood. Just remember to keep it safe and don’t wear earphones on the 3-Day or our official training walks.
  10. Getting some quality time: If music isn’t your jam, don’t worry. The 3-Day is also a great chance to get quality time with the friends and family who are walking with you…or with yourself. Make sure to take some time on your walk to reflect. Check in with yourself and acknowledge what an amazing thing you’re doing.
  11. Testing your limits: It’s important to remember the whole journey, not just the final destination. This walk will test you emotionally and physically, but also give you such a feeling of accomplishment at the end.
  12. It’s tutu-friendly: And not just tutus! We also love wigs and bedazzled bras and team t-shirts and more! You will be smiling all weekend long thanks to all of the extra special flair. 😊
  13. For the gram: It seems that more and more people are doing things “for the gram” these days, and while getting a good photo shouldn’t be your sole motivation for joining the 3-Day, we can promise some epic photos for your social media feeds.
  14. To spice up your Bucket List: If the 3-Day isn’t on your bucket list yet, it should be! Not many people can say they’ve walked 60 miles in one weekend, after all.
  15. Re-connecting with nature: The 3-Day route will take you through all sorts of cool sights, including some amazing parks, trails and watersides. Don’t miss them! Our host cities are all unique and wonderful in their own special ways, so take in everything they have to offer.
  16. That feeling of accomplishment: There truly is no feeling like crossing that 60-mile finish line and knowing that your commitment has made a HUGE impact in the fight to end breast cancer. You have trained, fundraised, volunteered time and energy, and it all comes to a peak in that moment. There is nothing like it.
  17. Be inspired: As we said before, there is nothing like this experience. Hearing from our breast cancer survivor speakers, meeting those who have lost loved ones or been saved by Susan G. Komen-funded research; all these experiences will leave you feeling motivated and inspired.
  18. Make a difference: Since its founding in 1982, Susan G. Komen has funded more than $988M in research and more than $2.2 billion in education, screening and treatment. The net proceeds raised by the 3‑Day help Susan G. Komen build a world free of breast cancer through research, community, care and action.
  19. Join the family: Being a part of the 3-Day makes you a part of our family, and an integral part of the fight against breast cancer. You will become part of something that is larger than yourself and make a true difference in the world around you.
  20. You can do this! More than 500,000 participants have supported the breast cancer community, including those living with metastatic breast cancer, since the 3-Day began. You can be a part of all that! Yes, walking 60 miles is hard, but it’s not as hard as breast cancer. Come walk with us. You can do it.