Focusing on Spreading Positivity with Survivor and 3-Dayer, Elaine

When I walked across the finish line, and my son wrapped me up in a hug and whispered, “I’m so proud of you Mom,” that went straight from my ear to my heart.

If you walked the 3-Day in Seattle or Atlanta this year, you likely saw Elaine. Or heard her! She’s a solo walker known for her constant smile and jingling outfits that signal her presence even before you see her coming.

This year marked her 9th and 10th 3-Days respectively, and her first year really highlighting her survivor story as part of our partnership with Mohawk Flooring. She says that recognition was never really something she looked for, and as a solo walker, not something she always got. She flew under the radar and made her 3-Day connections in the smaller moments. This year changed that for her.

“To have Mark say ‘Hi!’ to me by name in the morning, or to see the photographer on the route, I feel like the arms have truly been opened to me and I have been fully welcomed into the fold. And I have felt that support and recognition so much this year. I’ve been able to share my story and my message this year in a different way, even after doing this for 8 years. The arms have been opened wide. It’s a beautiful thing and a beautiful welcome.”

The 3-Day family first welcomed Elaine eight years ago, when she walked her first 3-Day while in the middle of radiation. She had already signed up for the 3-Day before her diagnosis and had even sent out more than 100 fundraising letters! She knew she knew she had reached her fundraising goals and felt that she could meet her physical goals as well. Her doctor gave her approval to walk and told her to listen to her body. So, she did. And she walked every one of those 60 miles.

Along the way, she had her first welcome from the 3-Day Pink Bubble.

“I met two Crew ladies on my first walk in Seattle. I was nervous about wearing a survivor shirt and they just enveloped me in this hug. And I was bawling, and they just kept telling me that I could do this. And to be held by them, and feel that support, was everything to me.”

She has continued to have similar memories and stories over the last decade, making new friends each year and finding new strength with every step.

“Whatever you believe in, it’s a comfort to know that there’s a plan. And it’s tough to think, “How could this be part of a plan?” But meeting those ladies on my first 3-Day, or talking to women in Atlanta this year, it just shows me that these things are meant to be this way.

I’m a pretty positive person, and I try to focus on that positive outcome. So, this has been my way to do my part.”

She also does her part year-round, fundraising all year and encouraging those around her to learn about their breast health.

“I want to shake strangers and remind people to go get their mammograms! Just go do it! Early detection is everything. I talk to everybody, whether it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month or not.”

She finished her 10th walk during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year, and her son was there to welcome her across the finish line. Though her journey has been long and difficult, she says being a survivor has helped her find more compassion for herself daily, and that the 3-Day has shown her the worth that she brings to the world time and time again.

“It is so much more filled with compassion for me, and for anyone else who has this diagnosis. I can be so much nicer to myself, and the 3-Day helped me with that.

The universe draws us to where we need to be. The universe drew me here to the 3-Day.”

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!”

Susan G. Komen 2017 Twin Cities 3-Day Wrap Up

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On Friday morning of our Twin Cities 3-Day, we began our 60-mile journey at the Southdale Mall in Edina. This historic spot was actually the location of the original Mall of America, and it was the perfect place to welcome both local and out-of-town walkers to the 3-Day.

The day started with perfect walking temperatures as our 3-Dayers arrived at the Disco Boobie Diner at Pit Stop 1. Already with 2.8 miles behind them, the walkers danced and boogied with their first taste of grahamwiches and 3-Day crew love.

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Pit Stop 2, at mile 6.8, was right along the water at Utley Park. Fittingly, the theme for the pit stop was Lake Minitata, and walkers could stop to “fish” for bras, or pose with floaties along the crew-created dock.

Lunch took place at Loring Park after 11.7 miles on the day, before our walkers made their way through more beautiful views at Father Hennepin Bluffs and B.F. Nelson Parks. The day ended on the University of Minnesota campus, before walkers were bussed to our picturesque camp at Harvest Park.

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Camp was a celebratory affair on Friday night as walkers relaxed in the Bank of America massage chairs, picked up their mail and sweet treats from home, and cheered on the top fundraisers (team, individual and crew) and award winners for the Twin Cities. Then, it was off to their pretty pink tents for a good night’s rest.

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A throwback photo from Jody’s Couch in year’s past

Day Two started off sunny and warm, and our walkers made great time coming into Pit One at Thunder Bay Park for a quick 3.2 miles. From there, they walked by the iconic Jody’s Couch, and saw love and support from the local community.

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From there, the walkers enjoyed time in Spooner, Acorn and Central Parks as they walked the next 8 miles (for a total of 11.2) to arrive at lunch! This lunch was hopping thanks to a fiesta theme, complete with salsa music, maracas, and lots of space to spread out and relax on the Mohawk Flooring pink mats. Walkers ate, relaxed, and even practiced yoga before heading back out on the route.

Just after lunch, there was an extra festive community cheering section led by the Boobettes, who danced and posed alongside walkers.

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Grab & Go B at mile 14.2 was coffee and barista themed, which gave walkers that extra “java boost” to carry them through Vadnais Park and onto to the Treasure Ye Chest pirates at Pit 4. From there, they only had a few miles left before arriving back at camp, having completed 22.6 miles on Saturday!

Saturday night was Friends & Family night at camp, so walkers got to spend some time with their loved ones. They played putt-putt golf and got chair massages at the Bank of America tent, listened to local musicians as well as speeches by Susan G. Komen researchers, and even had a dance party! They also met our amazing Twin Cities Youth Corps Crew, who received a standing ovation from walkers after providing lots of support and cheers all weekend long.

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Day 3 promised to be the sunniest and warmest of the weekend, so our walkers got right to work first thing in the morning. They reached Pit Stop 1 at Casey Lake Park in record time, and had already checked 3.5 miles off their list for the day!

From there, they passed Maplewood Middle School at mile 5.8 before breezing into lunch at the Conway Recreation Center. There was plenty of room to stretch out and relax in the shade, as well as a playground and even a fountain play area at lunch, making it a fun stop for walkers, as well as some of the community who came out to cheer them on. There was plenty to cheer for, as there were only 7 miles left to go before reaching the finish line!

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After lunch, walkers made their way through Indian Mounds Park, which provided plenty of beautiful views and awesome photo opportunities. Pit Stop 3 at Mile 14.3 especially had gorgeous views of St. Paul spread out below. After that, it was all down hill to Closing Ceremony at Harriet Island.

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It was a victorious final few miles for our walkers as they reached the finish area, and that feeling of accomplishment carried on through Closing Ceremony. Our 400 walkers and 175 crew members in the Twin Cities raised $1.1 million.

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However, their journey does not end here, and is never truly done, as was evidenced in our closing ceremony. We are all still working, and walking, towards Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.

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As we hugged and celebrated and danced in the sun, one message rang loud and clear; that though our feet may ache, our spirit and dedication will live forever; through aches, and pain, and blisters. WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, Twin Cities. We are so very proud of each and every one of you, and cannot thank you enough for each of the 60 miles you walked this past weekend.

If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2018, sign up now at The3Day.org/Register.

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