Carolyn P.’s Heart is Filled with Generosity in 2021 | Word of the Year

Hope you’re having a wonderful February 3-Day family! After kicking off this series in January with Riley W. sharing why she chose GRATEFUL, today we’re honored to introduce our second “Word of the Year” writer, Carolyn P. Carolyn, a 13-time walker who will be walking the Chicago 3-Day in 2021, selected “Generosity” as her 2021 word of the year.

Tell me about your 3-Day experience—how many/where have you walked/crewed? 

I started Feet to Beat Breast Cancer with a small group in 2005. For each of the next 14 years, we built the team by encouraging friends and family members to join us for the Atlanta 3-Day. In 2019, we traveled to walk the San Diego 3-Day, and in 2021, our 40-member team will surpass our $1,000,000 fundraising milestone at the Chicago event!

What is your 2021 word of the year? 

Generosity

Why is that your word of the year? 

2021 is a time when people everywhere desperately need generosity in all forms. To me, someone showing generosity is happy to give time, energy, money, food, forgiveness, respect or kindness to people who need it—without asking anything in return. The positive impact of generosity may be difficult to measure, but anyone who has been on either side of a generous act would agree that more of it would dramatically improve our world.

Why do you participate in the 3-Day? 

The Feet to Beat Breast Cancer team motto speaks directly to why I participate. “In memory of loved ones lost; in honor of courageous survivors; in support of those fighting the battle; in hope for a future free from this disease. Side by side we walk, every stride, one step closer to a cure.” This plays out in our everyday life. I fondly remember two dear teammates who used to share the road with us, and I celebrate the survivor status of my mom, sister, and many dear friends. I am offering support to a family of a young mom with metastatic breast cancer, and I pray that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in the research. 

What does the 3-Day family mean to you? 

I was asked this recently, and the first word that came to mind was “home.” I stumbled onto the Susan G. Komen 3-Day just following the birth of my two boys. For the past 15 years, I have had the honor and good fortune of sharing the experience with a growing team of men and women I honestly can’t imagine my life without. While some members of this world-class group I knew outside the 3-Day, many I would never have met—what I would have missed out on! For those I did know, being part of this community has strengthened our relationship. As if I need icing on my already fabulous Pink-Bubble Cake, in 2021, I get to enjoy all of this with two sisters, my youngest son, two nieces, and one nephew. It goes without saying that 3-Day crew, staff, local volunteers, and host city create a positive and supportive environment. It truly feels like “home.”

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day?

There’s a quote we use on our team page every year, and it expresses generosity perfectly. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” —Nelson Henderson. We may never know the full impact with an act of kindness on the 3-Day, how sharing our story might inspire a stranger, or learn the name of the young woman who will get a life-saving mammogram because of the money we raised. But that’s not why we do these things. We are generous. We are happy to give time, energy, money, respect or kindness to people who need it—without asking anything in return.

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?

  • Be present. Listen. Feel every emotion that comes up along the 3-Day journey.
  • Be inclusive. Somebody along the way needs you. Be there. Don’t be afraid to reach out of your comfort zone.
  • Be generous. Let the needs of others motivate you. Your generosity may just inspire others to give more of themselves, and there is something very satisfying about giving what you can to help someone else.
  • Be appreciative. Appreciate your supporters. With all the demands on their hard-earned dollars, it is an honor to have their support. Appreciate your fellow walkers and crew, staff, local volunteers, and the cheering crowds. They are helping make this a life-changing experience.
  • Have fun. Laugh at yourself, dance at the Pit Stops, wear a crazy costume, celebrate making it up that hill, high-five the police officers, relish that graham cracker PB&J, and find the joy of a porta-john (ok, that’s a stretch).

Carolyn, thanks so much for your generosity and for giving you whole heart to your 3-Day family. Keep living your chosen word of the year, and next month, we’ll introduce a new person and share their word, why they chose it, and learn about their Komen 3-Day journey along the way.

Other Word of the Year Blog Posts

Riley W. Chooses To Walk Into 2021 Being GRATEFUL | Word of the Year

Riley W. Chooses To Walk Into 2021 Being GRATEFUL | Word of the Year

During the first week of 2021, we asked you to pick a “Word of the Year”. (If you missed it, check out the blog post here.) To guide us through this special year, we’ve selected twelve members of the 3-Day family to share their 2021 Word of the Year. Each month, we’ll introduce a new person and share their word, why they chose it, and learn about their Komen 3-Day journey along the way.

First up, we’re excited to learn why Riley W., a nine-time walker who will be walking the San Diego 3-Day in 2021, chose “grateful” as her 2021 word of the year.

Tell us about your 3-Day experience.

I walked my first 3-Day with my sister in 2010. I have walked every year since 2012 for her!

What is your 2021 word of the year?

GRATEFUL

Why is that your word of the year?

I think it’s very easy for us to forget the big picture and all we have. I believe if I wake up breathing, it is a good day. Everything else, God can handle. But we’re all human, so of course we always are thinking ahead or about things we want to change. 2020 taught me a lot. One, slow down! Two, make sure to really appreciate every little and big moment. Three, it also taught me to buy stock in Charmin…which I was very, very grateful for many times.  

Why do you participate in the 3-Day?

I lost my only sister, Kathi, to triple negative breast cancer.

I also lost my grandmother.

I lost my “second mom” Toni, also to triple negative less than two years after my sister.

My aunt and her daughter (my cousin) are both in remission.

We need to stop this.

Before my sister left, I promised her that I would not stop walking and raising money until there was a cure. I intend to keep that promise and not only raise money but also as much awareness as I possibly can.

What does the 3-Day community mean to you?

Family. Love. Support. Understanding. The friends I have met through the 3-Day are literally family to me. I am blessed to have met so many wonderful people!

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day?

Like I said above, these people are amazing. They are truly family. They understand everything I’ve been through, and they don’t care if I just want to sit and cry or scream or just give them a hug. We’re all connected to one another, and for that I am SO VERY GRATEFUL!

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?

First, I missed everyone so much in 2020!

Second, we can’t stop. When we’re in the 57th mile out of 60, when we’re tired of fundraising year after year, or even when we don’t want to remind friends, family or acquaintances to get a mammogram. WE. CAN’T. STOP. Not until there is a cure out there. And I believe there is!

I hate that we all have to continue doing this, but we do. We are all still here, and we are making a difference.

This January, we want to know: What are you GRATEFUL for? Check back next month for the next blog post in our “Word of the Year” series.

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

Happy Thanksgiving, 3-Day family!

While we couldn’t gather “together” in person this year, the 3-Day family found a way to spread Pink Bubble magic during an unprecedented time. We are so thankful for all you’ve done.

You’ve gone above and beyond. You’ve done special acts of kindness, hit incredible milestones, and helped inspire and teach your peers how to continue fundraising when those fighting breast cancer need it most.

You hit the pavement in your hometowns all year. From our Spring Break virtual training walk in April to the Summer Solstice walk in June, to each of our 2021 3-Day Virtual Kick-Offs, we treasured every moment of joy spent with the 3-Day family.

You were there for each other. We are blown away every day by the power of the 3-Day family, its ability to lift up a family member when they need it most, and how it brings support every day to those who are a part of it.

Despite all of the challenges, you brought joy to 2020. When we think of the 3-Day family, this quotation resonates so deeply with us: “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” —K. Barth

For every step taken, every dollar raised, every moment shared—today and all days, we are grateful for you and that you are on this journey with us.

When November began and we started this season of gratitude, we posed a question to the Pink Bubble family on social: “Who in the 3-Day family are you thankful for and why?”

At first, Cathy M.’s quick, clever reply on Twitter made us chuckle: “This is kind of like asking who is your favorite child. Teammates? Crew? Volunteers? Medics? Cheering stations? Coaches? I ♥ them all & am thankful for them all!”

Then, as time went on and more and more of you shared, we read every beautiful note of thanks from the 3-Day family—and our hearts began to overflow with joy and gratitude for this special community.

Dottie C. summed it up so perfectly. “For me, the 3-Day is a collective ‘who.’ Although there are people who are standouts, the Bubble can have a personality of its own. The ‘Bubble moments’ that always grab me are the silent and unsung moments of support and love that are always present during this event. From the opening ceremony, along the route, at camp, to the closing ceremony, we have a rare opportunity to witness some of the best of people. So, to all of YOU in all events. You are my ‘who’ I am thankful for. Cheers!”

Happy Thanksgiving, 3-Day family. We hope you feel our gratitude for you.

Here are a few more responses from the community:

Monica F.: “I would agree with Dottie, the 3-Day is for sure a collective ‘who’ I am thankful for. Almost half of the people in my life today are from the 3-Day. It’s such an inspiring place for all of us collectively.”

Mandie R.: “I am thankful for the entire Pink Bubble—there is truly nothing like it! I am so very thankful for my girls, my sisters, those who I have been with since Day 01, Christine, Becki, and Allie. Through the years, we have cried together, laughed together, supported each other, fought together (not with each other), pushed one another to get up a d*mn hill, dragged the other to the next pit stop/grab & go, or simply whined for hours on end about everything 🤣. No matter how much time goes by that we haven’t seen one another—we pick up right where we left off! There are truly no words to describe my heartfelt ♥ for my girls! I love each one of you. Thank you for making my life better because you are in it. Forever sisters but family for life! #theTataSisterhood #SisterFriends”

Mary N.: “I am thankful for Dottie C….a most energetic, devoted, and heart-full participant and champion of the cause. She is an inspiration! ❤️”

Billy B.: “I am thankful for the friends I have made through the years I have been involved. My very good friend, Joy W., Brad T., and all the other people I have met. They have supported me through the pain of losing my wife, and I have done the same for them with their loved ones. Also, the support of my son and daughter, who lost their mother. She was a daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover, mother, grandmother, and a NURSE. She is missed and loved every day.”

L. G.: “I am thankful to so many in the ‘Pink Bubble family.’ Every coach who inspires walkers to fundraise more and train harder. Every crew member who makes the walks so much easier and enjoyable. Every walker who is brave enough to share their stories of survivorship, loss or doing good for the world.”