“We can do more together” Meet Lenore C., Former AVON 39 Walker

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Lenore (in blue) with her teammates

This year, our 3-Dayers will see some new faces on walks across the country. That is because we are going to be welcoming walkers from AVON 39 into our pink family — and what a welcome addition they will be! Every new participant, from AVON 39 or any other source, is another warrior in our fight against breast cancer.

One new walker who has already joined the 3-Day® is Lenore C., who, along with some of her past AVON 39 teammates, will be walking the Philadelphia 3-Day. Lenore was born in Philly, and her family still lives there, so she is especially excited to be returning home for a cause she loves.

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“I’m excited to walk for freedom from breast cancer in the town that freedom built, and to be cheered on by (sort of) a home crowd.”

And how does she feel about making the switch from the AVON 39 walk (a two-day, 39-mile breast cancer walk that ended in 2017) to our 60-mile 3-Day? She is taking the new challenge on with enthusiasm and motivation!

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“When I saw Susan G. Komen was reaching out to AVON 39-ers, I felt a kinship and felt welcome. We are all in this together, after all. I have always known we can do more together than we could ever do alone. We can cure this thing! I’m walking so that one day, soon, daughters and sons will wonder what was breast cancer the same way they wonder what the heck we’re talking about when we mention rotary phones.”

She, and three members (so far) of her team, Team Transformation, will be making the journey from New York to Pennsylvania in pursuit of this goal. They are excited to join the 3-Day family, and have already begun training and fundraising together. Lenore plans to raise at least $5,000 but secretly has a goal of hitting $7,500.

How is she working to hit that goal? She’s doing it with teamwork!

Team Transformation has been combining training and fundraising with fun, local events in their community. “Bake sale, walk. Grocery store setup, walk. Talent show, walk. Joy of Walking class then a walk.”

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When they can’t walk together, they even FaceTime as they train separately. Anything to keep the family feel of their team alive. If she has to walk alone, Lenore listens to audiobooks to stay motivated, and gets in training whenever she can, be it early morning, late night, or even at lunch. After years on 39-mile weekends, she knows that training will be more important than ever for the 3-Day.

She is following the “your goal will become your warm up” mentality, using social media and apps to track her training while she breaks in her walking shoes, stretches her muscles, and gets ready for one of her favorite weekends of the year.

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She walks, and will keep walking… always. For herself, and for all the warriors and More Than Pink® people in her own life.

“Geri, my stepmom, 15 years a survivor, is More Than Pink! My mom, Jean, one of the strongest, most compassionate women I know is More Than Pink! And following their model strength, so is their daughter: I am More Than Pink! Ariel and Shya Kane, with their support for seeing the brilliance in all people, are More than Pink!”

We are so happy to welcome Lenore, Team Transformation, and all our future 3-Day family members to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day family with open arms!

 

Honoring a Mother’s Legacy of Love: Meet Ryan D. of the Philadelphia 3-Day

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“I walk 60 miles so my wife, daughter, friends and those I don’t even know, don’t have to fear this disease. I walk so every grandchild can be spoiled by their grandmothers. I walk today so others will not have to walk tomorrow. I walk because everyone deserves a lifetime.”

Mother’s Day is a chance to honor the women who mean the most to us, whether they are able to celebrate with us or not. For Philadelphia 3-Dayer Ryan D., this means that on Sunday he will not only be celebrating his wife, the mother of his children, but also the mother he lost to breast cancer.

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“Mother’s Day is one of the days I do take time and specifically reflect on my mother and remember all of the great Mother’s Day we celebrated.”

He has been walking “For Mama Doc” since losing her in 2011, spreading her loving and giving spirit with every step he takes. On this holiday, and always, he wants to ensure that no one else loses a mother to breast cancer. The 3-Day, he says, is a new part of his family, and one that helps him remember his mother in the best ways.

“I really wish everyone who has been impacted by this terrible disease could experience a 3-Day at least once, and I can tell you for sure it wouldn’t be their last. It is even hard for me to verbalize what the experience is. There is just something to be said about walking when you are sore and both physically and emotionally spent, to then have a car honk their horn or have someone say, ‘Thank you for walking.’ […] The 3-Days have been some amazing moments of my life.”

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In addition to his 3-Day family, he has been able to share his experience with his brother, who joined Ryan’s mission, and started walking in 2016. They were motivated, in part, to walk together because Philadelphia’s Closing Ceremony that year fell on what would have been their mother’s birthday. They walked all sixty miles together, and each crossed the finish line with their young daughters in their arms. Seeing the 3-Day anew from his brother’s eyes, Ryan says, brought them even closer.

“You can never truly appreciate what a 3-Day truly means until you participate in one. And I saw firsthand the awe on my brother’s face while he walked the first few miles and experienced these things that are so hard to explain.”

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Other family members support them, with Ryan’s dad even walking next to him for a few miles of Ryan’s first ever walk in 2012. They also have helped Ryan raise nearly $25,000 for the 3-Day cause, a landmark he hopes to pass this year. He also looks forward to once again feeling the support of the 3-Day community this fall.

This support is one he especially appreciates given that it was so important to his own mother to support those battling breast cancer. Following her initial recovery from breast cancer in 2009, she mentored countless people suffering from cancer by offering comfort and advice. Though “through the path of recovery there is tremendous uncertainty, fear, pain and self-esteem issues,” Ryan saw his mother provide support, guidance and empathy. This is true to how she lived her whole life, and how Ryan hopes to live his to best honor her legacy.

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“During these last years, my Mom has missed many wonderful events, which include her youngest son’s wedding, witnessing the births of her two beautiful granddaughters and a grandson. I walk to help ensure that no other family misses these special moments with their mothers.”

Ryan walks, and will never quit, for mothers everywhere. Today, and always, hold your family close, and remember that you walk for a reason. You walk for Ryan, for “Mama Doc,” and for families all over the world. And you will never quit either, until we end breast cancer forever.

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Working Women’s Day: Meet 3-Day Coach Heather

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Coach Heather with her 2017 Michigan 3-Day coaching team

Today is International Women’s Day, and we are so honored to have so many amazing women working for Susan G. Komen and our 3-Day team. Everyone works hard every day to reach Komen’s Bold Goal, and to create the best 3-Day experience for our participants each year. No one knows that dedication and drive better than our local coaching teams!

On this International Women’s Day, we salute all our coaches, including our Programs & Local Events Coach for Michigan and Philadelphia, Coach Heather. She walked her first 3-Day in 2015 in Michigan and was immediately hooked! By 2017, she had joined our full-time 3-Day team and knew she would be forever changed by our family.

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Coach Heather (at left) with Coach Gayla

“The people……my co-workers, the walkers, the crew… are my favorite part of my job. Truly, being among all the awesome people involved in the 3-Day makes my heart so full! To think that even a year ago, folks who are now so special to me were completely unknown, is insane.

What I feel on the event is indescribable! To witness such concern, compassion, love, and support for other human beings is incredible. I am blessed to be able to do this every day.”

And she truly is working every day. Being a 3-Day Programs & Local Events Coach is a year-round job that includes everything from recruiting new walkers, assisting participants with fundraising and training, as well as taking part in walker meetings and training walks. They also partner with local businesses, community groups, large 3-Day teams and other groups to provide support and excitement on the 3-Day.

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This 24/7 commitment means Heather is an expert at training and fundraising, too! Her fundraising advice is simple but effective.

“Ask, ask, ask. Honestly, the worst someone can say is ‘No,’ but they usually say ‘Yes!’ If they don’t respond, ask again, and if they still haven’t responded as you get close to the 3-Day, ask one more time. Often, people have every intention of donating, but time gets away from them. A little reminder usually is appreciated.”

She also recommends using social media to spread your story. The more your donors can relate to you and your goals, the more likely they are to donate to help you make a difference. This also applies to potential new teammates! She says educating your friends, family, co-workers, even your neighbors can be a great thing when you’re looking for to expand your team.

“Be encouraging, positive, and assure potential new team members: Yes, you can walk those 60 miles! Haven’t most first-time walkers felt the same way? It’s the opportunity to be part of something incredible!”

So, join Heather and be part of something incredible in 2018. She can’t wait to welcome all the participants! She knows, and deeply appreciates, the impact that all our 3-Day participants make.

“Every day someone’s mom, daughter, wife, sister, best friend, aunt, granddaughter could hear the words ‘You have breast cancer.’ When I see little girls cheering on our walkers on the 3-Day, I hope that all the efforts put forth today will lead to a breast cancer-free world for them.”

Heather won’t stop working until that hope becomes a reality. She knows you won’t stop working either.