David of Cleveland Cleavage and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Community

Those who know the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® know that above all, the Komen 3-Day is a family. New and returning participants alike are greeted with open arms, warmly welcomed into a bold community that is bravely fighting breast cancer with passion, drive and stamina. We caught up with David G. and several of his Cleveland Cleavage teammates, to learn more about what the 3-Day® means to them.

David and his Cleveland Cleavage teammate Tina head to the lunch stop on Day 3 of the Michigan 3-Day.

David and his Cleveland Cleavage teammate Tina head to the lunch stop on Day 3 of the Michigan 3-Day.

David’s friendly blue eyes twinkle as he recounts his numerous 3-Day events; all told, David has raised over $24,000 in the 11 3-Day events he’s been a part of (nine as a walker and two as a crew member). David became involved in the Komen community in 2005 by participating in several Race for the Cure® events in Cleveland with Nancy, a decades-long friend who was battling breast cancer. David decided to walk the 3-Day for her and several other people in his life who were lost to cancer. “I decided to surprise her in 2010 and told her that I was going to be doing the 3-Day. She was over the moon happy. I did it in July of 2010 in Cleveland, did the final Race for the Cure with her two months later, and then about three weeks later she took her final turn, after a ten year fight. I walk for her, and for my grandma, my best friend, my neighbor. I’m walking for them all,” said David.

Like David, his new Cleveland Cleavage teammate Rachel K., from Macomb, Michigan, also has a very personal connection to the cause. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Rachel remembers those she’s walking for as a way to keep her inspired on the route. “I always remember the reasons why I’m walking. Don’t forget, because those people are cheering you on. That’s what gets me through.” Rachel walked the 3-Day once before in 2008. (Fun fact: Rachel joined the Cleveland Cleavage team after seeing the team’s photos on Instagram!)

In addition to Rachel, David was joined this weekend in Michigan by several other members of the Cleveland Cleavage team, and his face lights up as he describes his love for Cleveland. “Born there, raised there, lived there my entire life. I love Cleveland!” While the team’s name is inspired by the Ohio city, the sixteen members of the team (including one Youth Corps member) are from all over the country, including Michigan, California, Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia. “We’ve got half the country represented,” David jokes.

What does this bunch think of walking Michigan, even when their team names boasts an allegiance to Cleveland? “I could almost throw a rock at Michigan from there,” David says of Cleveland. “I’m blessed to still be so close to an event,” he said. “I’m driving to Philly and flying to San Diego, so distance won’t deter me.” He adds, “Plymouth was the most awesome cheering station I’ve ever seen.” That’s saying a lot, from a guy with David’s level of experience.

David and Jodi, a member of Cleveland Cleavage

David and Jodi, a member of Cleveland Cleavage

David’s love of the Cleveland community also echoes in the way he’s successfully raised funds over the years. David describes his fundraising efforts as creative and local, including several types of events like bowling parties and wing nights. “I just try to come up with new things,” he said.

It’s a pleasure talking with David and his teammates, and before we know it, their lunch break has ended and they’re ready to keep moving. I know that with the Michigan 3-Day Closing Ceremony just a few hours away, this may be the last time I see David on this event, but I smile knowing I’ll spot his tall, smiling personage in more 2014 3-Day cities. His parting thoughts? “Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the people. Enjoy the atmosphere. If you walk all 60, great. But you’ve already done the hard part by fundraising to get here. And that’s where you help the cause. The walk is a celebration of that.”

Congratulations to Bert S., the Michigan 3-Day’s Milestone Award Winner!

Congratulations to Bert S., the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, who has raised approximately $175,000 over the 10 events he’s participated in (nine in Michigan, and one in Chicago.)

Bert’s inspiration to walk his first Komen 3-Day came after a very dear friend of his was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Her husband and I felt helpless and just felt we needed to do something. We formed our “Mavens” team and that first year was literally life changing for both of us, and we’ve been walking every year, ever since. I am happy to report that my friend has beaten breast cancer – she’s a survivor!” said Bert. (Bert, 81, laughs as he describes the meaning behind his team name — “The wise guys!”, and Bert’s wife, whom he calls “his maven”, defines as a knowledgeable person.)

Milestone Award Winner Bert on his way to 60 miles on Day 2 of the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day

Milestone Award Winner Bert on his way to 60 miles on Day 2 of the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day

Bert says that fundraising letters have been the key to his success. Bert’s assistant of 34 years, Pam, helps Bert write his fundraising letter. “It wouldn’t happen without Pam,” he said. Bert also notes how details are important when it comes to sending out fundraising letters, as they can help guarantee your success and help your donors realize what they will accomplish by supporting you. “We probably sent out 145 letters this year and we got about 142 responses. You have to tell people how far we’ve come in conquering the disease. And, what a wonderful percentage of recovery we have today.”

As a veteran 3-Day walker, Bert said that his best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day is to train, train, train. “I cannot put enough emphasis on training — start with short distances and work your way up.  Stay focused on “finishing” the event,” he said. Bert also adds that in his personal experience, after about fourteen miles, completing the walk is “all mental”.

Like many 3-Day walkers, Bert is aware of the risk of breast cancer and how it can change a family. Bert has been married for 60 years, to his wife Marion, and he has four daughters, three granddaughters, and a grandson. “I have a lot of good friends who have been touched one way or another by this disease. It’s their mother, their grandmother, their wife…This disease can hit anyone at any time and I literally walk today so that someday, there will be no reason to walk.  I have met some amazing people over the years and they continue to inspire me with every step of every walk.” You inspire us too, Bert.

 

Blister Prevention Advice for 3-Day Walkers

Walking 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® can take a toll on you physically, and the most commonly affected body part is sure to be your feet. Blisters are one of the most frequently treated medical issues on the Komen 3-Day, and a bad blister (or two, or ten…) can sideline an otherwise healthy walker.

The good news is you don’t have to resign yourself to living with blisters. There are steps you can take to stop a blister before it starts and further actions you can take to deal with a blister if you do get one.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

What is a blister? – The type of blisters that most 3-Day® walkers experience are friction blisters (as opposed to, say, a blister from a burn or an insect bite). When part of your foot rubs up against something—your sock or shoe or another body part, such as toes rubbing against toes—repeatedly, the top layer of skin will separate from the underlying layer. The separation will fill with fluid, causing a painful blister.

Stay Dry – Moisture can exacerbate the friction that causes blisters, so it’s important to keep your feet as dry as possible. If you’re prone to excessive sweating, consider using foot powder to minimize the moisture. It’s also a good idea to change your socks midway through a long walk (calculate the halfway point of a 10+ mile training walk and stop there, or swap socks at the lunch stop on the 3-Day).susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

Socks – Speaking of socks, choosing the right ones can mean the difference between blister-free tootsies and a painful walk. Stay away from 100% cotton socks and opt instead for socks made with some sort of moisture-wicking material (look for names like Coolmax® or Dri-Fit on the packaging), which will draw moisture away from your skin. Also, make sure your socks fit snugly and don’t bunch up inside your shoes or around your toes; folds in fabric are a common cause of friction blisters.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

Shoes – Good shoes might well be the most important gear for 3-Day walkers, so take the time to get yourself fitted with shoes that are right for your feet. We recommend that you buy shoes from an outfitter who is knowledgeable about athletic footwear, as they will be able to see how you walk and put you in shoes that are right for your particular stride. Consider shopping at a store that specializes in running/walking shoes, as opposed to a “big box” sporting goods store. Taking the time to find the right shoes could ultimately make the difference in whether you get blisters or not.

Preventive Treatments – Aside from the foot powder mentioned above, there are other pre-walk treatments you can apply to prevent blisters before they start. I’ve had great success with the “foot lube” method. Lubricating products such as SportSlick™, HikeGoo BodyGlide® or even regular old petroleum jelly can be applied directly to the skin; slab it on your heels, the balls of your feet, between all your toes and anywhere else that’s prone to friction on your own feet. Put your clean, dry socks on over your gelled-up feet, and you’re good to go (and of course, you’ll repeat the process when you change your socks at the halfway point of your walk). You’ll feel like you’re walking through Jell-O for the first few steps, but before long you won’t even notice it. Meanwhile, the lubricant will keep a slick layer between your skin and your socks, never letting enough friction build up to form a blister. I’ve been using this method for over 10 years and have not gotten a single blister in that time.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

Ouch! – What if, in spite of your best prevention efforts, you still find yourself feeling pain in a particular spot on your foot? We use the term “hot spot” to define these pre-blister points, because it will literally feel like a little area of localized heat or irritation on your skin. This is not a full-blown blister yet, so as soon as you start to feel a hot spot coming on, stop walking and treat it by applying more powder or lubricant, or bandaging the spot to protect it from further friction. Many walkers prefer bandaging products like moleskin or molefoam over other adhesive bandages, but as with all of your 3-Day gear and products, you should try them out during your months of training to discover what works best for you personally.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

 

You can find more information about blister care and prevention and blister treatment can be found in your 3-Day Participant Center.