Why I Walk: First-Time Walker Emmie J. Spent Her 21st Birthday on the New England 3-Day

To Emmie Jeffcoat, commitment means “doing everything I am capable of to help find a cure.” It also meant spending her 21st birthday as part of “the most heartwarming weekend ever” on the New England 3-Day!

Emmie had heard a lot about the 3-Day from her aunt (Coach Gayla from Dallas/Fort Worth!), but she still didn’t fully know what to expect. She didn’t anticipate being moved in the way she was over her three days in the New England 3-Day Pink Bubble. She decided to walk in 2019 because she hoped to inspire more young people to walk as well, but she’ll be back in 2020 because of the friends (of all ages) that she made during her 60-mile journey.

What began as a birthday celebration turned into a life-changing experience. Emmie is sharing with us just how much the 3-Day affected her, and why she will continue to commit 3 days.

How did you prepare for your 3-Day journey?

I didn’t follow the training guide as well as I should have. However, I did find that just getting used to being on my feet helped me a lot. I also walk 5-10 miles every day on campus just going to class, so I think that helped me, too! Fortunately for me, my campus is full of hills, so I was prepared for the hills on the walk.

Do you have any fundraising advice for first timers?

My best advice with fundraising would be exactly what my aunt told me: ask anyone and everyone! You never know who is going to have a connection to breast cancer or want to donate, so tell everyone about the walk and what it’s about. More than half of the people who donated to my fundraiser were people I had either never met or hadn’t seen in years. Social media played a HUGE part in my fundraising as well. Putting information on social media platforms helped me get my story out to more people.

Tell us about your overall 3-Day experience!

I have so many fond memories of my three-day experience!

  1. I think I laughed harder with my Aunt than I ever have in my entire life. There’s not one specific memory of that, but just 3 days FULL of laughing until I could barely breathe.
  2. I had the honor of meeting a survivor who was walking her 19th 3-day! Just talking to her and hearing her story made me realize the amount of strength these survivors have. I felt honored to be able to walk for them and be a small part of something so amazing. I know I had technically only been around her for three days, but she quickly became a huge role model for me. She was one of the coolest people I have ever met.
  3. GEORGE! He was such a wonderful example of what true love looks like. He is the sweetest/toughest man, and I loved seeing him every day. I wish everyone in the world could meet George.
  4. The Crew! The 3-Day crew was beyond awesome. I honestly don’t know how they manage. They had food, medical, pit stops, etc. Thank you, 3-Day Crew, for showing me how extraordinary the 3-Day is.
  5. The most amazing ceremony Saturday night. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that night is one I will never forget. It opened my eyes to what the walk is really about.
  6. Hearing “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond was also the best. It’s a song that everyone knows, so when it starts playing it’s so much fun to get a big group singing together!

The 3-Day is a big commitment in a variety of ways. What did this commitment mean to you?

I think the word “commitment” holds a whole new meaning now since I completed the walk. Commitment is making the choice to see something all the way through no matter what. Concerning breast cancer, I think commitment is making the decision to fight as hard as you possibly can. I think for families it means fighting with your loved one(s) throughout the entire process and sharing the strength it takes to get through something like that.

What are your plans for next year?

When I signed up for my first walk, I thought it was going to be a one-time thing I got to cross off my bucket list. However, after participating I realized that it is impossible to do just one! I haven’t decided which city yet, but you will definitely see me at another 3-Day in 2020! My goal is to do one 3-Day walk per year. You will also be able to catch me at some cheer stations dressed up and ready to make some walkers smile!

2019 New England 3-Day Wrap-Up

We returned to New England with a splash this past weekend and could not have asked for a better three days on the East Coast! From Fenway to Boston Commons to the Freedom Trail and beyond, this weekend was one for the books.

Our journey began on Friday morning at our host hotel, the Revere Hotel Boston Common, with a special Opening Ceremony complete with stories from local walkers. Our survivors, and those living with breast cancer, were also honored before they led us out of the hotel and into the morning sunshine.

Our walk began through Boston Common and the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, which gave walkers a real taste of the history of the city’s architecture and environment. Everyone loved both the natural calm of the Common as well as the cobblestones and homes in Beacon Hill. From there, we entered Cambridge, passing through Riverbend and North Point parks before settling in for lunch.

The weather stayed cool for our entire first day, giving walkers great weather to make quick work of a 20-mile day! After lunch, they passed the USS Constitution (or Old Ironsides to the locals) and the Bunker Hill Monument, both of which were excellent photo opportunities as well as being peeks into the history of the city.

Before being welcomed back to our hotel camp by our amazing crew team, walkers passed L Street Tavern, which many recognized from the movie Good Will Hunting. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful Day One! 3-Day BINGO, and the much-loved Bank of America massage chairs, awaited walkers and Crew at Friday’s camp. After that, it was straight to sleep in the comfy hotel beds to be well-rested for Day Two.

Saturday dawned with bright and beautiful fall weather, perfect for another day of walking! The morning was also jam packed with historical sites, including Trinity Church, Old South Church and the Boston Public Library…all in the first mile of walking! From there, we followed the Boston Marathon route in reverse, and walkers had fun celebrating “crossing the finish line” a little early in the weekend.

From there, we walked through Brookline and Brighton before arriving at our halfway celebration at lunch. Walkers lounged on the Mohawk pink mats before jumping up to dance in our celebration flash mob with Mark as Bon Jovi blared across our lunch site.

The second half of the day began with wide smiles leftover from lunch. We headed back into Boston proper, getting more city views before taking the Commonwealth Mall path back to our hotel. The shady tree-lined avenue gave relaxing shade and a respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

When our last walker arrived back at camp, we began our emotional Honor Ceremony and saluted those who inspire and motivate us to commit three days, year after year. We walk for them, and this ceremony celebrated that commitment. Tears were shed, hugs were shared, and we went to bed feeling fulfilled and ready to take on Day Three.

Sunday was our sunniest and warmest day yet for the weekend! The day began with a walk-through the Boston Public Garden and a stop by Cheers, the bar that inspired the titular beloved TV show. It wasn’t open yet, but walkers loved stopping for a photo!

They also posed outside Fenway Park, and declared their allegiance to home teams from across the country. We missed the game that day, but in honor of New England, 3-Dayers cheered on the Red Sox in spirit.

After Fenway, we walked through Brookline and Jamaica Plain before making our way back into the Boston city limits. We passed under the Chinatown Gate and over the Charles River, even passing the site of the Boston Tea Party. Just one more historical landmark in a weekend full of them!

Our walk ended at the Lawn on D, with lots of space for friends and family to come celebrate this amazing accomplishment. Our last walkers began our Closing Ceremony with excitement, which continued as our Crew entered the ceremony area. Then, shoes were raised to honor the strength of our survivor community, and for those living with breast cancer. They are the reason we will continue to walk, and to fundraise, for a world without breast cancer.

And fundraise we did! The 1,100 walkers and 200 crew members of the New England 3-Day raised an amazing $2.9 million in the fight against breast cancer. That’s an accomplishment worth celebrating! As we danced and soaked in the moment, many walkers already registered to return to the New England 3-Day in 2020. They know that the work is not done. And though our weekend has ended, we will not stop here. We will never quit.

Congratulations to the 2019 New England 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Ali Pepe

For the 2019 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, we’re pleased to be continuing the Local Impact Award. This award is being given to participants who have been instrumental in strengthening the 3-Day® community throughout the year. Local Impact Award honorees have gone above and beyond in their efforts leading training walks, attending 3-Day community events, supporting the 3-Day staff year-round at meet-ups and workshops, and in general, making a difference by building lasting relationships and showing commitment to the 3-Day in all they do.

Please join us in congratulating the 2019 New England 3-Day Local Impact Award Winner, Ali Pepe!

Ali has participated in 15 3-Days over the course of 13 years, even participating as a member of our Youth Corps! Since then, she has “walked, crewed and has put her heart and soul in to being the Youth Corps Captain since 2012 in Philadelphia and Boston,” according to Coaches Tisho and Sharyn.

3-Day friend Robin Maxcy also can’t say enough about the amazing Ali!

“The words that come to mind when I think of Ali are kind, bold, generous and always doing something bigger than herself to help others. Ali’s smile and energy is contagious to everyone she meets. I feel fortunate to have met Ali and her family at the very first Boston 3-Day many years ago. From that time frame until now, I have watched Ali grow into a beautiful, smart and empowering woman continuing to help others.”

Ali is a joy and such an asset in our 3-Day family. You can learn even more about her, in her own words, below…

What was your inspiration to do your 1st 3-Day?

My mother had done the 3-Day for years to support my aunt, her sister, who had breast cancer. I was young at the time, but when I saw my mom and aunt walk into closing for the first time, I immediately knew I wanted to get involved and support the cause. Luckily, Boston was the home of the Youth Corps, and when I was 14 years old, I was chosen to be a member. It was an experience I will never forget!

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

After my first 3-Day, I was hooked! Not only does the event support a great cause, but the members of the walk become a second family. I can’t imagine not participating in it. This year will mark my 15th event!

Beyond that, it became an even more important event to me in 2012 when my grandmother, my mom, and my aunt were all diagnosed with breast cancer within 6 months of one another. I vowed I would participate in the 3-Day until we found a cure and there was no need for the walk anymore.

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

I’d say the biggest thing is that I’m usually just very open about my experience with the 3-Day and my family’s experience battling breast cancer. So many people have been touched by this horrible disease and want to help. Beyond that, I just incorporate fun into my FUNdraising whether it’s a band at an event, raffle prizes, or more. People are happy to help and having the opportunity to have a good time while doing so makes it even more enjoyable.

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

Get to know anyone and everyone you can on the event! Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a random stranger because I can guarantee in just a few short miles, they will become a great friend. Laugh, cheer, smile, and even cry! It’s all part of the magic of the 3-Day.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I have completed the past two Boston Marathons! Both times running for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, and have raised nearly $22,000 for cancer patients and their families who are in need.

I’m also a huge Bruins and Pats fan!

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

Ohhh, this is a hard one…I think it probably has to be that you should count every blessing you have and make every moment count. I know it sounds corny, but when you hear the stories of men and women on the event, and realize how awful the disease can be, I realize how lucky I am. My mom, grandmother, and both my aunts are now all survivors, but not every story ends like mine. Unfortunately, breast cancer claims the lives of too many people, and this is why we all walk. The 3-Day really taught me to cherish the ones I love because. It also taught me that no matter how horrible this disease is, we still have hope and each other. 💜