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 Milestone Award Winner, Erika McKee

Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Milestone Award Winner; Erika McKee. 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 Erika with this special honor.

Erika is an amazing asset to the 3-Day family, and her story is a deeply personal one. Her husband and family say she is an “inspiration to our family and your dedication to the cause is awe-inspiring.”

Erika receives her award at the Michigan 3-Day.

Fellow walker Shelley echoes that, saying, “You couldn’t ask for a more loyal supporter of the 3-Day than Erika McKee. I have known her for almost 25 years and she is the most generous and caring person I know….Always putting everyone before herself. She is truly a special person and loyal friend.”

More love came from her parents Dave and Deanne, “We are proud parents of Erika. She has always excelled in work, academics, and helping others. She walks each year for breast cancer awareness as many have survived (including her Mother) and many have lost to the disease.”

Want to learn more about the amazing Erica? Let’s hear from her! When she answered these questions, she didn’t know she’d be getting this honor!

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

My mother, Deanne Nelsen.  The toughest woman I know.  At age 58, she was diagnosed with heart disease.  After 4 unsuccessful angioplasties, she underwent Open Heart Surgery.  After recovering from that major surgery and rehab, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Thankfully, she caught it early and was able to beat it after a lumpectomy and radiation.  She just celebrated her 80th birthday this past year!

Once my mom was through all of that, I was beyond thankful.  I felt strongly that I had to do SOMETHING to give back.  I heard about the 3-Day and told my husband about my “crazy idea”.  He didn’t even blink, and instantly responded “I’ll walk with you”.

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

The first year, our weather conditions were horrible.  We had extreme heat and thunderstorms during our first night (and we were evacuated into a school in the middle of the night, for safety).  And, I was only going to do this ONCE!  After all, between the training and the fundraising, it was a huge endeavor.  But, the energy of the event and the incredible people that I met drew me in right away.  Somewhere early in Day 3 (in 2004), I started talking to my husband about “next year”.  He looked at me and said “We haven’t even finished the 60 miles yet.  Isn’t that like talking about the 2nd baby, when you’re still pregnant with the first?”  I laughed and told him that I knew it would be another big undertaking, but after that first experience, how could I not come back?  I mean, all I had to do was WALK!  And in doing so, there were SO many people I could help.

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

The first year, I wrote letters to everyone I knew – friends, family and friends of my parents.  After all, we were celebrating her surviving breast cancer (and heart disease).  Donations flooded in and we raised $10,000 in 2004.  But, when I decided to walk again, I knew I had to get creative.  After all, how could I keep asking friends for donations, year after year?  So, I came up with the idea of a Silent Auction.  I canvassed local businesses for donations and hosted a huge party at our house.  We just hosted our 14th annual Silent Auction – and most of our friends can’t wait for the event every year.  We’ve even added absentee bidding to the event – for friends who can’t make it in person, but still want to participate in the bidding/donate to the cause.  Since 2004, our family has raised approximately $115,000 for the Cause.  And everyone around me knows that I am far from done!

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

Walk at a comfortable pace (it is a LONG walk, not a race) and stretch often.  First time walkers often walk far too fast on Day One and pay for it later.  Do not rush to get to camp.  The experience is about the walk itself.  Enjoy the route, talk to as many new people as you can, listen to their stories, share yours.  The people you meet will truly change your life.  The 3-Day is 3 days of how the world should be – kindness, friendship, love, compassion.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I love playing sports and rarely sit still.  Although I spent most of my childhood as a competitive swimmer, I now play volleyball in the winter and golf in the summer.  However, I found my absolute passion at age 38 – Ice Hockey.  I traded in my childhood figure skates to hockey skates and absolutely love the sport and the camaraderie of hockey team.  (Perhaps it was always in my blood though – my mother, my inspiration for walking in the 3-Day, played college hockey at the University of Toronto, in the late 1950’s).

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

My experience on the 3-Day has truly changed my perspective in life.  There is so much we can do as a society, together, to help and support others.  I think one of the best by-products of my involvement is the impact it has had on my children.  They are now all involved in the event and each one of them understands the importance of community and giving back.  We only hope we can spread this spirit of giving on to others.

2018 Michigan 3-Day Route Preview

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3day walk in Novi, Michigan on August 4, 2017.

The Michigan 3-Day is this week, and as you get ready for the event, we have a preview of what to expect on our first 3-Day of the year! We can’t believe the weekend is almost here!

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!

Camp will once again be at Novi Middle School after we received such a warm welcome from the Wildcats last year. This outdoor camp allows us to take advantage of the great Michigan summer weather, and since the camp site is safely away from any noise or light, that won’t interfere with your 3-Day beauty sleep.

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New at camp this year will be Bank of America photo booths so you can get that perfect 3-Day photo, and toiletry bags from Hilton Hotels.

Our Michigan Event Production Manager, Ann Love, previously a Michigan 3-Day Coach, is very excited about these new camp amenities!

“I want one of those toiletry bags for my everyday life! They’re such a great addition!”

Bank of America will also be providing more massage chairs than last year, and Mohawk will once again be providing padding to make your tents as comfortable as possible. We want our 3-Dayers to experience a full night of glamping!

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We also listened to feedback from last year and have created a more compact camping layout. It’s more intimate, people will be a little freer to move around and have fun with their 3-Day pals!

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are also in the same locations as last year, with the Opening Ceremony taking place at Walled Lake Western High School. The ceremony itself will be slightly different from last year but Ann and our 3-Day team want all the updates to be a surprise for our 3-Dayers. So, follow along with us on Facebook to see the grand unveiling!

“Walled Lake School loves having us! We will walk by their administrative building, so they have a big cheering station and have the whole district of student staff, teachers and everyone there. It’s a great start to the 3-Day!” Ann promises.

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3day walk in Novi, Michigan on August 4, 2017.

After the Opening Ceremony, walkers will start their day along the Walled Lake Trail, which was a hit last year and is one of Ann’s favorite spots on the route!

“We always love the opportunity to walk along the water. Surprisingly, we don’t always get to walk by a lot of lakes, even though we have so many of them in Michigan!”

Other highlights from Day One are Pavilion Shore Park, Novi Ten Shopping Center and Novi Meadows!

There will be minimal route changes as we walk in and out of camp, due to construction, but Ann and the 3-Day team are working hard to make those changes extra special.

“We’re doing our best to fill that area with cheering stations and make that part of the walk exciting and welcoming as people get closer to camp. We want the route to feel different every day!”

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After a fun night at camp, Day Two will take 3-Dayers through the city of Plymouth. That’s where we will see the now famous “Pink Fountain,” which is an excellent spot for photos! After that, we will pass through the city of Northville. Spots to look out for though the rest of the day are Cass Benton and Kellogg Park (a favorite spot of Ann’s!) as well as Northville Downs.

Day Three will again be a similar route to last year’s because it was such a hit in 2017! Much of the day takes place in Dearborn, including a pit stop at the Dearborn Historical Museum. Ann loves this spot, which is a fun destination right in the heart of the downtown of Dearborn.

Ann says, “The whole city of Dearborn in general loves having the 3-Day there. They’re so excited that we are once again hosting our Closing Ceremony in this hometown. The hosts of these Sunday locations are so awesome and supportive. They’re so excited that we come there and always are so thankful.”

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We will finish, as usual, at Ford World Headquarters for our celebratory Closing Ceremony.

Ann promises for a truly inspiring and personal 3-Day experience this year.

“We really worked, especially in Michigan, to make things feel as intimate and personal as possible. We want people to be surrounded by their friends and 3-Day family.”

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She can’t wait to welcome all the 3-Dayers “home” to Michigan in just a few days.

“I’m always excited to get started! It’s so nice to see everyone and be in the Pink Bubble. I love kicking everything off in Michigan for a fun season!”