Congratulations to the 2017 Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award Winner

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Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Seattle Milestone Award Winner; Erin Havens. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Seattle 3-Day camp show, we presented Erin with this special honor.

To get to know Erin better, we asked the 3-Day community for stories about her, and the response was glowing all around!

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Participant Veronica Claudio says, “I have been blessed to know Erin since I was very young, as she was one of my mom’s dearest friends. Our families spent lots of time together back in the day – from family camping trips, poker nights, and holidays. When my mom, Claudia was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was only 7 years old. I remember Erin was often at our house helping my mom or accompanying her to chemo appointments. Or sometimes, just singing karaoke. They both loved to do that together!

“In 2005, my mom had planned to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, and Erin was one of the first team members of CC’s Crewzers. Just before the walk, my mom’s cancer came back. My momma is a true fighter, and while still determined to complete the walk, she realized the only way she could do was with the help of a wheelchair, and teammates like Erin who took turns pushing her for parts of the 60 miles. I have watched Erin become an incredible advocate for a cure to breast cancer and breast cancer awareness through her tireless efforts for Komen. I believe losing Claudia, my momma, and her good friend, is a big part of her determination to fight breast cancer through her volunteering and raising money.

I have cheered Erin on in her trademark pink tutu at cheering stations, handed her countless Lil’ Smokies, and have hugged and cried with her at nearly every 3-Day walk she has participated in. I lost my beautiful momma to metastatic breast cancer when I was 15 years old and Erin has remained a part of mine and my family’s life for many years. I am honored and proud to call her a friend and an “extra mom.” I chose to walk after many years of cheering and supporting the walkers and I was honored that Erin also decided to walk with my dad and I as part of CC’s Crewzers.”

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Veronica continues, “I was blessed to have 15 years with my beautiful mom and am honored to walk on the team she started in 2005 with Erin. I don’t know anyone that has given so generously of her time, talents, and resources to this cause and I am so grateful and privileged to be able to have had Erin as a part of my life.”

If all those wonderful stories weren’t enough, participant Tiffany Davenport also raves about Erin!

“I’m so happy for Erin!  She absolutely deserves to be honored for her dedication, passion and commitment to the cause! I got to work with Erin on the Youth Corps last year and I am so thankful! She is so much fun and brings such light and energy to the event!”

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Marnie Hayes kept the love-fest going!

“I first met Erin at a getting started meeting about 9 years ago, when I first joined the 3-Day family. Erin has been very involved in the 3-Day the entire time I have been part of the three-day. Not only does she have connection with the little Smokey guys…”GO SMOKIES!” her daughter was also part of the Youth Corps. I have gotten to know Erin as both a walker and a crew member as I was honored to be part of the Youth Corps with her last year. It is very apparent in Erin’s dedication that she has a true passion for the cause.”

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Those are some seriously kind words! Now let’s hear about the 3-Day and Erin’s story in her own words. When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!

What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?

My dear friend Claudia was fighting breast cancer and asked me to walk with her. I told her I would donate, but didn’t think walking 60 miles sounded like something I wanted to do. She asked me to please attend an informational meeting, and of course I signed up that night!

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

I love the survivors who give me hope, the walkers who share stories, the crew who keeps me safe and well fed, the strangers along the way who lift me up and remind me how important it is to keep fundraising for the cures, and the opportunity to share the memories of my friend who lost her battle with this disease.

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

Asking often and making sure that everyone knows WHY this walk is so personal to me. Every fundraising post on Facebook should tell people YOUR why.

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

Enjoy every minute! Connect with other walkers and share stories, reach out to single walkers, high-five all the people at cheering stations, eat all the grahamwiches, and be sure to stick around at night to hear the Youth Corps share their stories during the camp show.

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What are fun facts about you?

I hate spiders but am fascinated by bats; one of my toes was crushed by a randomly falling steel pole 5 months before the 3-Day; I sneeze no less than 5 times in a row every time; people think I’m insane for doing 21 3-Day events, but I assure them I’m not alone!

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

Don’t get your Advil PM mixed with your regular Advil, if you lose a toenail you can get a fake one, wearing a tutu results in fewer blisters, and the people you meet on the walk become family.

Bras, Tutus, and Harleys

Most of the motorcycle-riding contingent of the Route Safety Crew pose for a photograph at the Opening Ceremony on the Atlanta 3-Day (bicycle riders not shown)

No one will argue that Harley Davidson owners form some of the most closely-knit communities in America (and abroad!), but the Harley Davidson owners who decorate their prized motorcycles in pink bras form an even tighter and more colorful subset of the riders of the open road. And where exactly do you spot such an elusive group? It’s definitely not at Sturgis.

This weekend, it’s in Atlanta at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®.

Robin awaits for the Komen 3-Day to get under way in Atlanta

Robin awaits for the Komen 3-Day to get under way in Atlanta

All over the country, however, riders like Robin Davis, a policeman from Virginia, suit up in the wildest of pink attire, pimp out their rides in bras, beads, and tutus, and take to the routes of the 3-Day walkers to provide road safety for the hundreds and hundreds who are walking to help end breast cancer. “Years ago, my friend asked me to do the walk. After seeing that I could volunteer on my bike, I was hooked,” said Robin, gearing up for this week’s Atlanta 3-Day, which started this morning. “I have two aunts who are breast cancer survivors, my wife walks the fundraiser, and my son is involved in Youth Corps [youth volunteer group].” And as every Harley is unique, Robin has the names of his friends, fallen law enforcement officers, detailed on his front panel. Around the sides and front are the corresponding views of the Police National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.

Paula, a Harley-riding route safety crew member, preps her ride with its customary pink outfit for the Atlanta 3-Day

The full Route Safety Crew is also made up of dedicated cyclists who cover the entire course and especially areas on trails and backroads where motorcycles and cars cannot go. They deserve some special attention in their own article. The entire Route Safety Crew does a remarkable job on both motorcycle and bicycle in keeping 1,000 walkers safe over 60 miles. What a feat!

And while I used to think most of the breast cancer survivors were walkers, that is not the case. They make up a large contingent of the “crew,” the machinery of volunteers who make the event run. A pink SURVIVOR patch emblazoned on one Harley rider affirmed this. “I actually signed up to help with the 3-Day® before I got breast cancer,” said Paula from Atlanta. “I lost my mom to breast cancer, and I am a two-time survivor!” Paula and her husband Lyle have provided route safety for nine events, eight of which have been in Atlanta. Paula carefully decorates her Harley with pink tutus, explaining to a novice like me that her “Softtail” just refers to the soft leather saddle bags.  Lyle’s are hard saddlebags, perfect for writing “Chemo Sucks!” in pink tape and derogatory terms, appropriate for both a solid biker and for someone who hates breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day walkers cross the street that is guarded by a bra-wrapped motorcycle

Sam, the crew captain of this helpful group of riders, has been protecting  3-Day walkers for some time. Sam’s mother is a 15-year breast cancer survivor, and she walked the 60 miles several years ago: “When I found out I could volunteer with my Harley, I couldn’t stop! This is my 17th event.” The walkers should feel safe this weekend with this motley group of professionals. Besides Robin, there are two Atlanta-area policemen on the crew, and not all with Harley’s. To be fair, they are very accepting of other bikes: BMWs, Triumphs, and Hondas all have a place in this lineup, “but we still give them a hard time” says one Harley owner.

Earl throws down his own style on his Honda, complete with fresh decals with pink running ribbon of the breast cancer fight

“It’s OK if you don’t have a Harley,” quips Danny. “They’re known for leaking some, but the ‘sport’ bikes have batteries that die.” The joking among the group is similar everywhere in the world among bikers, but it’s all in good fun. By the time they have enough bras on them, you can’t really tell anyway.

(Thanks to all of the Route Safety Crew on the Atlanta 3-Day: Christopher, Gene, Kerri, Michael B, Krystal, Jerry, Barbara, Grant, Theresa, Paula C, Gary C, Andy, Glenn, Richard, Danny, Earl, Albert, Michael K, Kirk, Laure, Sam, Lisa, Leslie, Charles, Lyle, Paula, Gary W, Pamela W)

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS 

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