Debbie S. is More Than Pink — Meet a Survivor & New 3-Day Walker

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As our 2018 3-Day season draws closer and closer, we are welcoming past AVON 39 walkers into our 3-Day® family. We want to show them the 3-Day love, because they are a wonderful addition to our cause and they are More Than Pink®.

Debbie S., will also be a proud member of our survivor and those living with metastatic breast cancer community when she joins the San Diego 3-Day in November.

Debbie was officially declared cancer-free in 2005, and since then has been an active crusader for a cure for breast cancer, as well as a staunch supporter and inspiration for those undergoing their own treatment.

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She participated in her first AVON 39 while still bald from her own treatment, and has walked in six AVON 39’s since then. She has also spoken at a breast cancer charity event in Los Angeles, A Cause for Entertainment, and was featured in Avon’s commercial last year. To say she lives to be a part of the fight against breast cancer is an understatement.

“It is so important to keep walking and raising funds for research and awareness! This is what is going to ultimately help cure this disease! Everyone knows about the strides that organizations, such as Susan G. Komen and Avon, have made and I am often asked why other cancers don’t do the same things. My answer is always: They should, you should! Raising funds and awareness is the most important thing!”

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That is why Debbie knew she could not hang up her walking shoes in 2018. She had to keep going, and was excited to join the 3-Day family. Her excitement extends towards fundraising, which she says was one of the things that drew her to the 3-Day in the first place.

“I’m actually most excited about raising more money and walking with others who are doing it for the same reasons I am: a cure! I’m always excited to show everyone how you can beat breast cancer and persevere. Nothing can stop us if we are determined!”

She is determined, in fact, to raise $25,000 this year alone, and has already raised almost $3,000 in the first 24 hours after registering. Though she says she began her fundraising journey with “The mentality that the minimum was enough,” she soon realized that “It is never enough! With every walk, my goal is to beat my last walk!”

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How does she do it? With the same passion and exuberance that has stayed with her throughout her breast cancer journey. She starts via email, sending messages to everyone in her address book (whether she knows them or not!) as well as to any emails she can collect from friends and family. She begins emailing at least six months before her walk, also using social media to kickstart her efforts.

After that, she sends reminder emails to everyone who has not donated on the first of each month. As the event approaches, she will kick it up another notch.

“About two months before the walk, I will start sending it every two weeks. The last month, I will send it every week and eventually daily! I break them all down! They all give! I also upload my letter, with my story, to my personal page for the walk.”

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Simple, but effective, is her approach, and one that has shown great success in the past. This is not just how she approaches fundraising, but how she approaches life in general.

“Being a survivor means everything to me! It means that being strong and having a positive attitude goes a long way! It means I can assure others that they can survive too! Because I am proof!”

If you see Debbie on the 3-Day route in San Diego, say hello and share a hug! She is walking solo this year, but can’t wait to meet new friends and share her story and dream of a world without breast cancer.

Meet Jaden C., Incredible Kid and Incredible 3-Dayer

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Happy Incredible Kid Day! We have plenty of Incredible Kids as a part of our 3-Day family, so this day is always a fun and exciting one to recognize the future of our pink family. They are the next generation of walkers, crew members, supporters and more. Every kid who joins this journey is making a difference towards reaching Komen’s Bold Goal.

One amazing (or incredible!) example of that is Jaden C. from the Atlanta 3-Day. He started off as a walker stalker, then Youth Corps member, and is now walking the full 60 miles alongside his “Nana” Gwen this year. This journey, she says, is all part of a promise that Jaden made to her years ago.

“I am overcome with pride to see Jaden’s continued commitment and dedication to the fight to end breast cancer! I could not have imagined he would ever be walking the 3-Day. He kept the promise he made as a new Youth Corps member years ago, which was to walk the 60 mile 3-Day as soon as he was old enough!”

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Nana was also the catalyst in Jaden’s joining the Youth Corps in his younger years. She encouraged him to apply, and he says he was “lucky” to be accepted. Since then, he has made friends and new family on the 3-Day.

Jaden says, “My Youth Corps involvement was an amazing experience over the past several years. I have met so many friends that I now consider family. We stay in touch and have formed a bond that can never be broken. Participation in the Youth Corps has changed my perspectives about commitment, dedication, determination and leadership in many areas of my life.

It’s personal and means so much to me in ways that many people wouldn’t understand. My Youth Corps friends promised we would someday all walk together as a team. I’ve wanted to walk for years and to finally be so close to doing so means the world to me. I can’t wait!”

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He is only months away from walking his first 60-mile 3-Day, and Jaden has already begun training and preparing. This spring, he will use his Track and Field practices to help sneak in extra training and has no doubt he will meet, or even exceed, his fundraising goals. He is motivated to keep his promise to his Nana, and all the walkers he has supported in years past.

“The camaraderie of people, the environment, the overall family affair aspect of the 3-Day, the celebration throughout Atlanta, and keeping my promise…That’s all what I’m most looking forward to.”

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Jaden truly is More Than Pink.

But, when we asked him who is More Than Pink in his own life, Jaden’s answer was easy. It all came back to his Nana.

“My grandmother (my Nana) is more than pink! She works hard for our family on a constant basis regardless of how she may feel. She’s battled through breast cancer before and, years prior to her diagnosis, lost her sister (who she watched battle this disease on more than one occasion), and she has had to adjust to a “new normal.” She encourages other survivors who now come to her with concerns and questions about her experience.

She has continued to walk and support the 3-Day for years. Nana and I walked together as 20-milers last year as the VA DUO! It was a privilege and pleasure to team up with her to walk in my aunt Debbie’s memory and in my Nana’s honor as a survivor. We crossed the finish line as a family along with Pink Angel Divas!

I will be her legs and strength this year! The journey is not over!”

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Gwen echoes his excitement, love and support.

“I am so proud of this young man who has fought to overcome so many obstacles in life. I believe his determination and outlook can be attributed, in part, to the experiences and lessons learned as part of the 3-Day family!

We (his family) are all so proud of him for embarking on this incredible journey for such a worthy cause because for us, IT’S PERSONAL!”

We are honored to be a part of your journey, Jaden and Gwen. We can’t wait to see you take on those incredible 60 miles in October in Atlanta.

What You Can Find on the 3-Day YouTube Channel

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If a picture can say a thousand words, imagine how much a video can tell us! When it comes to the 3-Day, we take videos on event, at training walks and beyond to help preserve that unique 3-Day experience long after you have crossed the finish line and headed home.

As the 2018 event season draws closer and you really dig in to your training and fundraising goals, it’s important to remember back to the 3-Day bubble and the Susan G. Komen family. Immersing yourself in those memories and happy times will give you an extra boost as you set out on your next training walk, and put passion into your latest round of fundraising letters. If you’re new to the 3-Day, our videos can give you a sneak peek of what’s to come.

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If you need help reconnecting with your big pink family, you need look no further than our 3-Day YouTube page! The collection of videos will bring a smile to your face and resolve to your heart.

We have 3-Day commercials from as far back as 2014, which give a beautiful look at 3-Days past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adn9xG8AvLw

There are also stories of inspiration from past walkers that give a voice to many of the reasons why we walk: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ0ttoG6MrV__XCdonsoPuO1dPO0hCvZ9

If you need fundraising tips and tricks, we have that too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0UQ0VtK4NI&t=1s

Are you walking in a new city this year? Or just want to feel some hometown love for your own city? Meet our event cities! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b9_5-PliJg&list=PLZ0ttoG6MrV87Wpt1xM7SFyMGb47FfAQl

A great way to encourage donors to support your 3-Day goals is to let them know where their money is going! We have a series of videos of doctors, researchers and others who have directly benefitted from the money raised on the 3-Day. Include this link in a fundraising email or share on your social media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh8Vb_YDOs8&list=PLZ0ttoG6MrV-zDdlXSyOobTWqZu7Pfo47

You can also thank your past donors by sharing one of the post-event recap videos from this past year!

And if you want to pull at the heart strings, or need a more emotional reminder of the gravity of our cause, watch “I Carry Your Heart, by the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Community” – but have the tissues ready! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncbKJPkhDlU

What are some of your videos on our YouTube channel? How have you used our videos in your fundraising efforts or at a team meeting? Tell us in the comments!