“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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Meet Philly’s 3-Day Fighter: Walker Caren S.

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On the 3-Day, it’s not uncommon to meet people who walk for their friends, their families, themselves or people they know who have been affected by breast cancer. Caren S. didn’t know anyone who had been affected by breast cancer – until, just one day after walking the 2017 Philadelphia 3-Day, she found out that SHE was now living with the disease.

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In 2017, Caren walked her first 3-Day in Philadelphia. She didn’t know anyone with breast cancer, but had been inspired to join the 3-Day after seeing a woman wearing one of our Victory T-Shirts while she was running a half marathon. Caren trained and walked all on her own, coming in from Boston just to make that 60-mile, 3-Day journey. Right after the Closing Ceremony, she headed home…to what turned out to be a whole new world.

“The day after the walk ended, I drove back to Boston and immediately to a doctor’s appointment I had scheduled months in advance. It was just an appointment to get a prescription refill, but since this was a new physician’s assistant, she insisted on doing a well woman exam. Well, that PA found a lump in my breast. Flash forward to today, and I have stage 3 HER2+ breast cancer.”

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This turn of events is one that many who are diagnosed with breast cancer know all too well. It immediately gave Caren “a whole new appreciation for Susan G. Komen, the 3-Day, all of the coaches, all of the volunteers, the survivors and the caregivers,” and has inspired her to already begin planning her 2018 walk goals.

One of them is to be walking as a survivor. And she’s going to approach that goal like one of her favorite movie characters.

“I’m obsessed with Rocky, literally. And during one of his fights, after 11 rounds of being beaten to a pulp, Rocky stood toe to toe with his opponent, looked him in the eye and confidently said, “I’m still standing here.” To me, that’s what the word “survivor” means. After chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, possible radiation, and 9 additional months of infusions, when I can say, “I’m still standing here,” that’s when I can call myself a survivor. To me, a survivor is someone who stood toe to toe with cancer, took all the hits, and kept moving forward until they beat it, scars, short hair and all.”

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As she continues to undergo treatment, battling her own scars, she’s also encouraging people to join her in 2018 on the 3-Day! It’s all part of her goal to keep moving forward, and she wants as many people as possible to join her on her journey.

“Between the volunteers, staff and other walkers, someone will always have your back and make sure you get what you need! I would say that the cause for which you are walking, mixed with the stories you hear over the 3 days, as well as the gorgeous and fun scenery, will make it an event you will remember for a lifetime. It’s all worth it as you’re walking.”

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Caren plans on walking throughout her treatment, though her training plan is different this year than last. Her heart has been weakened by her infusions so she will be bringing a friend with her for long walks, for the extra fun and support. She also gets help from her training playlist, which now doubles as her chemo playlist, too. The songs that pump her up and keep her going? Unsurprisingly they include the “Rocky” playlist, as well as:

  • “It’s A Fight” by Three 6 Mafia
  • “Stronger” by Kanye West
  • “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon
  • “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy
  • “Watch Me Shine” by Vanessa Carlton

And shine she will. She’s going to keep fighting, and like her pal Rocky, she’s never down for the count.

“I live my life by my favorite movie quote of all time, which was said by Rocky in Rocky Balboa:

‘It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward?’ That’s something I remind myself on a daily basis.”