The 3-Day headed south for our final event of the year, and was welcomed to California and the West Coast with open arms! We started our Friday morning with a little liquid sunshine, followed by an amazing double rainbow, as the Opening Ceremony began. Our 2,200 walkers and 325 crew started their journey with an inspiring and emotional Opening Ceremony led by local participants.
The walkers filed out of the iconic Del Mar Fairgrounds and into the community, where they were greeted by tons of local cheering stations and support. By Mile 3, they also passed the famous “Toast Lady,” one of our favorite walker stalkers, who toasted all the walkers as they passed.
Then they conquered the Torrey Pines Hill, our biggest hill of the weekend! They were greeted at the bottom by more cheers, and an amazing view of the California coastline. By the time they reached Pit Two at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, walkers had already conquered 5.1 miles.
Walkers made their way through the University of Southern California, San Diego campus in the afternoon and lunched at Kellogg Park along the beach.
There were more cheering stations and smiles throughout the end of Day One, before walkers headed home to camp at Crown Point Shores Park.
Day Two started with a walk along the water just outside of camp, and another hill in downtown San Diego. Walkers reached the top with smiles on their faces though, because they had already clocked 4 miles on the day.
Before lunch, they stopped at Pit 3 at Dog Beach South, and our walkers loved seeing all the four-legged 3-Day fans. Then, they took a break at lunch on our comfy pink Mohawk Mats and kept loose by dancing with the San Diego Police Department.
We also met our amazing Youth Corps at lunch, and walkers were greeted with hundreds of pink blooms as they left lunch.
From there, they traveled through Bonita Cove and South Mission Beach Park before coming back home to camp. It was Friends & Family night at camp, complete with an evening dance party! Many of our walkers also visited our Remembrance Tents to honor loved ones lost.
Day Three started with a quick 4.4 miles before arriving at Pit Stop 1 at De Anza Cove Park. From there, walkers wound their way through the picturesque San Diego neighborhoods and climbed the infamous San Juan Street Hill for amazing city views.
The second half of the day passed quickly, with stops at Balboa Park before coming to a close at Waterfront Park along the bay. Walkers celebrated with hugs, smiles and dancing as they completed their 60-mile journey.
After all of our walkers crossed our beautiful pink finish line, we celebrated together at Closing Ceremony. As the sun set on our 3-Day season, there was much to be proud of, given that our amazing 2,200 walkers and 325 crew members raised $6.5 million this weekend!
Our journey is never truly done, though, as was evidenced throughout 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.
As we hugged and celebrated and danced together, 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 are shouting loudly and proudly that in this fight, where we seek to live in a world free of breast cancer, WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, San Diego. We are so very proud of each and every one of you.
If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2018, sign up now at The3Day.org/Register.
We began our 2017 Susan G. Komen Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day with an inspiring Opening Ceremony as the sun started to rise on a crisp fall day in Texas. Our Opening Ceremonies this year are led by participants, with special recognition given to our breast cancer survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer.
Crew members, walkers, and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep and mile at a time. Take some time to get to know our Opening Ceremony speakers.
Paul Rakofsky – My Sister
I walk for my older sister who battled breast cancer and won in 2008, for my younger sister who battled and won in 2011, for my business partner who battled and won in 2012, and for five clients who have battled, one who lost the battle. And I also walk for my two-year-old granddaughter… may she not even know the disease exists. I’m Paul and I am More Than Pink.
Amy Kowalchyk – My Mother
In March of this year, my mom―at the young age of 72―was diagnosed with stage 1, invasive, ductile carcinoma breast cancer. Because of her self-exams and yearly mammograms, it was caught early. Her cancer was surgically removed, reduced by radiation and she is now CANCER FREE! And because of the funding from Susan G. Komen for research and development on how to treat certain types of breast cancer, she did not have to undergo chemo! She is why I walk this weekend in my 7th 3-Day. I’m Amy, I walk for all of the moms out there, especially for my mom, Caroline Tollefson, and I am More Than Pink.
Mary TenBrock – My Aunt
More than 50 years ago, my Aunt Ellen received her diagnosis. As a young wife and mother, she wished for a cure, she prayed for a miracle, and then she agreed to experimental treatments―treatments that today we call chemotherapy. Then my Aunt Shirley’s diagnosis caught everyone off guard. She taught us the importance of self-breast exams, how to live, and then lastly, she showed us how to die with grace. I walk for both of them. Lisa, Debra and Stephanie, each day you face this cancer with courage and determination, and I walk for you, too. I’m Mary and I am More Than Pink.
Megan Weyant – My Friend
My mom was my best friend. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 11, and I started walking the 3-Day when I was 18―the summer after she passed away. Two months ago, my dear friend discovered she is BRCA positive, and now I walk for her, too. I’m Megan and I am More Than Pink.
Sara Galvan – My Grandmother
I walk for the eight women in my family who have battled breast cancer: my grandmothers, my mom, my aunts, my cousin, my best friend. The 3-Day gives my family and me hope… hope for a future where breast cancer is a thing of the past. Hope that my daughter and granddaughter never hear the words, “you have breast cancer.” I am empowered as I walk, knowing that every step I take helps fund another minute of research, another minute your mother, daughter, sister or friend could live a full life. I’m Sara and I am More Than Pink.
Mary Frances Hoover – My Family
Twenty-three years ago, I volunteered for my first ever Race for the Cure by handing out packets at the mall. Since then, I’ve seen such hope and inspiration in the women, men, and families fighting this disease. I walk for them and for the hope that one day we will live in a world without breast cancer. I’m Mary Frances, I am the Executive Director for Susan G. Komen North Texas, and I am More ThanPink.
Brooke Kincade – Ceremony Host
My mom, Kathy, was first diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 10. She then battled Stage 4 breast cancer for eight years before passing away at the age of 57, leaving three daughters behind.
As a 6-time walker and a 2-time crew member, I participate in the 3-Day because this is where I feel closest to my mom. My mom taught me everything… except how to live without her.
I’m Brooke, I am More Than Pink… and I’m honored to welcome you to the 2017 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day!
The bond between sisters is truly unique and special, but the bond between “Titsters” is even deeper! Just ask Angela and Shelly, a sister duo who are part of the 3 Day family. Angela is currently battling breast cancer, and Shelly walks for Team Titster in the Twin Cities 3-Day in her honor.
From a young age, these two were joined at the hip, which meant Angela getting all her hair cut off when Shelly wanted to play “beauty parlor” or putting on plays and concerts together in their neighborhood. These “Titsters,” Angela’s childhood name for her sister, have been there for each other through it all.
That journey and support also includes Angela’s ongoing fight with breast cancer, one that Shelly has been a part of since Angela’s diagnosis. Angela was initially diagnosed with cancer when she was seven months pregnant, and her sister “was there immediately to ensure she was there for the birth of my baby girl and to hold my hand during my first chemotherapy. During that chemotherapy, all we did was laugh at videos, reminisce on memories, and I think about that more than being sick after the treatment.”
“After I completed my treatment after my first round of breast cancer, I went to a pretty dark place. The mental and physical struggle after treatment can be more challenging than anything. Woman and men feel more alone than ever. They have constant help, messages, and support during treatment, but what happens after is way more crucial. During treatment, we are in survival mode and cannot fully comprehend that we are going through cancer. Once treatment is done, the messages and help dwindle but the pain is still there. Our body is adjusting and still combatting the toll of chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation. Mentally, we never recover. The constant thought of recurrence always lingers and life is never the same. At the same time, we gain strength in a different way and look at the world and see that life is a gift. We cherish memories differently, we see the kindness of family and our community, and know that every day counts.”
Angela’s treatment will continue for the rest of her life, as she was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in January of 2016. Stage IV research made up nearly 40% of Susan G. Komen’s overall research investment in 2016, with more than $166 million in funding for over 400 research grants and more than 40 clinical trials focused on metastatic disease to date. Aside from research and monetary support, Angela says she is constantly amazed by the support she receives from her family and even the community at large.
“What is so enlightening with all these clinical trials is that everything is so new at this point. And it is scary regardless, but what I like to tell people is that every day is a gift, but also a battle. Cancer is not going to control my life. It’s always going to be a part of me, but it does not define me.
“I’m also confident that I will live my life to inspire people and show people that despite being diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t define you. I keep a happy journal, and at the end of every day I write my favorite part of the day, whether it’s a wonderful moment with my kids or a great conversation with my sister.”
Angela also credits Shelly as her rock, even from states away.
“The bond I have with my sister has helped me tremendously with this struggle and she truly showcases the bond that sisters have. She was there to comfort me and help me understand this it’s okay to still cry, but more importantly to laugh. We live in different states and I know that signing up for the 3-Day was just another way to show that she’s always there to face my battles with me, even if we cannot do it together.”
Part of Shelly’s support has come through her involvement in the 3-Day, which began as a crew member and has continued as a walker and fundraiser for the team she formed last year, Team Titster. Her first year on the 3-Day was a monumental one.
“When I signed up to be in the crew, part of the sign-up mentioned possibly being a part of the Opening or Closing Ceremony, speaking and carrying the sister flag,” Shelly explained when talking about speaking at her first walk. “The day before the walk at Crew Training, I met a bunch of very friendly, fun gals, who when I spoke on stage the next morning, cheered me on, even though I was nervous, and even though I was a stranger to them up until the day before. That has been my experience with everyone connected to the walk. Just good people.”
For her second year with the 3 Day, Shelly took to the trails and walked in her sister’s honor.
“When I decided to walk the next year, I was a little intimidated by the fundraising. But I found that when I reached out to my network to let them know why I was walking, and asked them to consider donating, people were more than willing to support me and Angie and the cause. I also found that almost every one of them had a connection to breast cancer. That alone is sad, but it motivated me even more to walk for those who also had loved ones battling or had battled the disease.”
Shelly helped her fundraising cause by casting a wide net for her initial email ask with a link to her page, along with a write up about Angela and a picture of “my little sister hero.” She also writes a 3-Day blog and shares that along with thank you cards to all her supporters to help them feel like they were there for her journey along the 60 miles.
When she started Team Titster in her third year on the 3-Day, Shelly expanded her fundraising email list and worked on her social media to raise even more. She targeted her competitive spirit and eventually raised more than $2,000 more than her first year. She was also the #7 Top Fundraiser for the Twin Cities 3-Day.
This success is no surprise to Angela, who has always been inspired and supported by their sisterhood.
“Shelly has always been my role model, and is someone that I’m inspired to be like. She is always the first person I want to talk to when I’m having a bad day, but more importantly, I want to talk to her in my great days.”
The love is certainly mutual, with Shelly calling Angela a super hero.
“Angie is small in stature but big in personality, perseverance and mostly in heart. She is feisty and fun, outgoing and stubborn, and those are all things we have in common. […] I realize that I have the best sister in the world. She doesn’t judge me, she’s been there for me when others have not been, and I am so proud of her in every way possible. Angie is my heart.”
That heart is going to finally experience the 3-Day for the first time this year. Angela will be making the trip from Chicago to the Twin Cities 3-Day in 2017 to cheer on Team Titster, which Shelly hopes to grow this year as well.
“I’m excited to be there the first time to cheer on my sister and Team Titster!” Angela enthuses. “I’m also happy to be able to volunteer and see the 3-Day. I’m thrilled and a bit nervous for the emotional experience but more importantly, I can’t wait to see and listen to the inspiring stories, and to hold the hands of Team Titster and fellow walkers.
“I know this walk means a lot to Shelly, and I know that every mile she walks, she truly is walking in my shoes to take some of the pain away. I’ve always looked up to my sister. She has more determination, heart and spirit than anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve also come to realize that those qualities are what inspires me to fight harder every day.”
Shelly echoes that determination, saying that the 3-Day is “emotional (lots of crying, both happy and heart wrenching), challenging (walking and training to walk 60 miles is no easy feat), and unforgettable (experiences and memories that are priceless and make you want to come back).”
Both Angela and Shelly will continue to come back as walkers, volunteers or supporters, until a cure is found.
“There is still no cure for breast cancer,” Shelly states simply. “That in itself gives me purpose and determination to keep doing the walks. My favorite button on my 3-Day water pack is ‘Every Blister Saves a Sister.’ I am prone to blisters, no matter how much training I do, (last year, I had 11 by the end of Day 3) so walking until there is a cure is something I feel like I can do, and will try to keep doing until there is no more breast cancer. Blisters do not hurt, physically or emotionally, as much as cancer does. And of course, my sister inspires me, not just to do the walk, but she inspires me every day.”
The power of sisterhood on the 3-Day is real, and every step makes a difference.