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

Rocky!!!!!

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.

Volunteer

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.”

Carol and Caren

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.”

unnamed

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.”

Me and Alyssa

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.”

 

 

 

 

The 2014 Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day Wrap Up

10628413_10154546385460392_4811286787532526925_n

The Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day began against a beautiful pink sunrise at the Willow Grove Park Mall. As Dr. Sheri rallied the energetic crowd, excitement buzzed around as we prepared to embark on our 60-mile journey. In the midst of a touching and inspirational moment, a V-shaped formation of geese flew directly over the Opening Ceremony, honking loudly as the crowd burst into applause. (Some said it was an omen of good luck as the Walkers and Crew prepared for a rousing Day 1.)

photo

 

Walkers enjoyed a cloud-covered sky and cool breezes to Pit Stop 1 and Pit Stop 2, decked out in awesome themes like Flashback to the 80s — complete with jelly bracelets and lots of neon. After snacks, stretching, bathroom breaks and hydration at the Pit Stops, it was on to the Chestnut Hill Cheering Station, which rallied on our walkers at Mile 9.7. The remainder of the day took walkers through Philly’s picturesque neighborhoods, including lunch at New Covenant Church, a winding walk through the lush, green Wassahickon Trail and Historic Rittenhouse, and then finally, to the Philadelphia Art Museum Steps, where walkers posed victoriously, with inspiration from a famous scene from Rocky. Walkers headed home toward camp at the Philadelphia Convention Center, where we congratulated our top fundraisers, and were inspired to take on Day 2 by Dr. Richard Bleicher from the Fox Chase Cancer Center and survivor Joanne Bidwell.

10612899_10154547710870392_8070948301543315408_n

Day two started with a chill in the air, and walkers strolled to Memorial Hall at Mile 3.3, posing for photos in the striking Fairmount Park. A cheering station in Bala Cynwyd helped our 3-Day family set the tone for the day, complete with clusters of pink balloons, dogs in tutus, and candy and coffee stations to put a pep in everyone’s step. Then, it was on to the Haverford College Duck Pond, where ducks and geese floated serenely across the pond, and walkers stopped to have lunch on a grassy slope, a perfect break for tired feet. The community came out again to show their support at the Penn Wynne Elementary School Cheering Station, and in the early afternoon, liquid sunshine began pouring from the sky. Walkers donned ponchos and headed onward to Pit Stop 3 at Gompers Elementary School, still managing to smile despite the pouring rain. Walkers were greeted to another beautiful sight at Boathouse Row, just in time for the rain to stop as they completed 22.3 miles and arrived home to camp. Camp was cozy and dry, the perfect setting for a rallying show, complete with games from Bank of America, an introduction to the Youth Corps, a heartfelt speech from survivor Marieke Ertel, and a moving speech from series walker Melissa Provence. While rain may have dampened the route on Day 2, the overwhelming feeling of pride, hope, and love for Philadelphia could not be shaken.

10615361_10154547245710392_8574102225041769041_n

Walkers began Day 3 against some cool temperatures, which lifted mid-morning to reveal a perfect day, complete with a stunning blue sky, occasional breezes, and the shining sun. At Mile 1.3, walkers posed at the oldest residential neighborhood in America, Elfreth’s Alley, dating to 1702. The historic sights continued past Independence Hall, which houses the Liberty Bell, and then the beautiful Philadelphia City Hall, three miles in.

10698423_10154553223855392_8631185908942032886_n

Walkers powered through their fatigue with the uplifting chants of the Philly community in the Thomas Paine Plaza, and then it was onward to another Philly-centric photo opp – the dueling intersection with both Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks, two famous eateries applauded for their authentic cheese steaks. Some walkers stopped for a bite to fuel their last few miles, which brought them past Lincoln Field, and then finally, into the Closing Ceremony site at the Navy Yard. As our walkers and crew marched into the courtyard, the blue sky was in beautiful contrast to a sea of pink, and Dr. Sheri, Norm, and some of our series walkers reminded us of the amazing significance of the Philly 3-Day. As our walkers raised their shoes to the sky, we all smiled with tears in our eyes, so very proud and moved by the incredible contributions of the 1,350 Philadelphia walkers and 300 crew, who together raised over $3.8 million dollars toward the fight to end breast cancer forever. Philadelphia, thanks to you, we’re 60 miles closer toward a world without breast cancer. We will never give up!

10612579_10154554213175392_5186570257692295301_n

 

10516888_10154554610130392_1086268512816674716_n