We Crew for MaMa Tutu: Meet Ken and Kris Kauker

The sign says it all!

Eight family members. More than 30 events. Walkers, crew, youth corps, walker stalkers. The Kauker and Lawrie families have the 3-Day running through their veins. And that includes Ken and Kris Kauker. Most Philadelphia 3-Dayers know them as the TuTu Brothers and remember their fun outfits and wide smiles as they ride by while on the Safety Crew.

They are just a small part of a true family movement to support the 3-Day’s mission, in memory of their mother, Julie Kauker (MaMa TuTu), who passed away from inflammatory breast cancer in 2011. With Mother’s Day this Sunday, Ken and Kris are giving us a deeper look at their family’s dedication to the 3-Day, and the love for their parents that started it all.

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Meet the Kauker/Lawrie family (TuTu family) members…

Our family of five was always a close family. We did everything together: family camping on the weekends, participating and watching sporting events, vacations to local destinations, working behind-the-scene at our local community theatre and even performing as a colonial family at local historic sites.

Thankfully, many of those things we still do. And yes, still as a family. At the head of the family were our parents. Mom and Dad (MaMa and PaPa TuTu) were involved with everything the family did. No one family member would ever end up being the only one. This goes for everything we do. If one of us is involved, we are all involved.

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And then in 2006, everything changed…

When our Mom was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, she wasn’t the only one getting ready for the battle. We were all involved with every aspect of the treatments, doctor’s visits, hospital stays and everything else that goes along with it. She didn’t go anywhere alone. Someone was always there taking notes, holding all the paperwork, asking all the questions and anything else we could do to make things a little easier.

Things moved quickly through chemo treatments, surgeries, and radiation treatments. We describe the days after a diagnosis like riding a roller coaster. There were the days of climbing the hills. There were the days of flying down the hill. There were the days of screaming around curves. There were days of being turned upside down. There were days when all we could do is hold on and scream in fear. But, like with all rollercoasters, the ride came to an end.

With the help of countless doctors and countless nurses, Mom was given a clean bill of health and the road to recovery was complete. And just like riding a rollercoaster, we laughed and were joyous that the ride was over.

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From there, the family began to move forward…

With everything behind us, it was a radio commercial that sparked the realization to pay it forward and the medium in which to do it. The commercial was for the Philadelphia 3-Day that would be taking place in October. It was this commercial that pushed our family into the realm of the 3-Day family.

And they never looked back…

Our 3-Day family has been with us since 2008. They’ve been there when we needed them and when we didn’t know we needed them. They were there when our Mom passed away and again 10 months later when our Dad passed away. They provided the light down the dark passages that cancer and losing someone forces you to go down. Every city that we’ve crewed has welcomed all of us with loving, open arms and made us a part of their family.

The Philadelphia 3-Day may be our home event, but when it comes down to it, the Crew is a part of every walk, no matter what city it takes place in.

That means our family is always part of the 3-Day, no matter where we are.

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Spread the love this Mother’s Day to the special women in your own life! You can share a personalized love note with your mom this Mother’s Day and Susan G. Komen will then share one with a mother facing breast cancer. komen.org/withlovexoxo

Recruiting 3-Day Crew Members with Coach Kiki

We want anyone and everyone to commit to the 3-Day in 2019. That includes, of course, our amazing 3-Day Crew! Crew members are the heart and soul of the 3-Day. They keep the walkers walking, keep all participants safe and well-fed; they make every 60-mile journey one of fun and inspiration.

How can you recruit friends and family to join you on this amazing Crew team? Coach Kiki, our Crew & Volunteer Coordinator, is sharing some of her best tips and tricks for bringing people into the welcoming arms of the 3-Day Crew. They’re a great group, so you’ll want to have all your besties by your side!

Grab a Friend

I’m trying to be as efficient as possible these days. Pay the bills! Update the family calendar! Get the kids to their activities! Feed the dog!  I’m also, trying to give myself a bit of self-care on a regular basis. That includes time with my girlfriends (who are also super busy).

Crewing the 3-Day with your BFF lets you take a few days to help an organization while you get to spend time with your favorite people. Get some quality in-person time while you help your community. It’s a win-win. If you only have a few hours, and not a few days, sign up to volunteer!

Work Gives

Many companies offer paid time off for employees who volunteer within their community. Did you know this? This is not only a great way to get out of the office cubicle, but an amazing team exercise opportunity. If you can connect with your colleagues on a more personal level (volunteering together is a great way to do that), you might find that your working relationship strengthens.

Power in Numbers

Are you a member of a church group? Book club? National or local organization? Like work, this is also a great way to break from the norm and get your group to connect and do some good…together! A person can do amazing work and making a difference. A group can move mountains.

Get the family involved

One of my favorite holiday memories is when my family made bathroom kits for the homeless. We all went out shopping for soap, shampoo, razors, and shaving cream. Your family and children truly do want to help others! They just may need a little nudge. My husband and I want to instill the value of giving to others early on with our kids. It is the greatest gift that we as humans, can give others. To help each other. Volunteer as a family. Incorporate it into your family holiday. Register to volunteer together. Connect with an organization that your family is passionate about, like the 3-Day!

Share Your Story

I’m often blown away by how social networking can connect long-lost friends and colleagues. Post a notice on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about an upcoming volunteering opportunity you’re supporting. Share your story as to why you’re supporting this cause. You may be surprised by how many friends pop up and join the fight with you. Sharing your story along the social media lines can create huge numbers and amazing results!

Creating the 3-Day Route: What goes into planning those 60 miles?

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Planning a 60-mile journey is no small feat, especially for hundreds of people in different cities across the country. That is the magic of the 3-Day! For three days, we take over major metropolitan cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, and more, to walk 60 miles towards a cure for breast cancer. One of the many benefits of spending 60 miles on your feet is in how the 3-Day route is a showcase of the amazing host cities we call home for a few days each year.

Planning that route goes on all year long, and involves many people, working to get our 3-Day routes ready. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes!

This applies to all our 3-Day cities, but we asked the Seattle Coaches, Gayla and Liz, our amazing crew & Volunteer Coordinator Libby, as well as our Event Planning Manager, Ann, to give us an in-depth look at how they work to make every step of the 60-mile journey challenging but fun, all while showing off the best of our host cities.

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Planning the Route

Every city is different, and that’s why the elements of the 3-Day route look and feel different in each of our host cities. We base our route on the natural scenery, beauty, and attractions of the host city, but we also must be ready for the route to change based on factors like construction and local events. Can you imagine if we didn’t walk through Gas Works Park in Seattle or stroll past the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia?

What about those parts of the route that aren’t exactly scenic, but unavoidable, like hills? We work very hard to eliminate and minimize hills along our route. This is especially true in hilly cities like Seattle, which is nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Cascade mountains, surrounded by water, islands and bridges. These features provide for unique challenges in the planning process while attempting to achieve the flattest possible path. The beautiful terrain doesn’t provide many flat options in and around Seattle, however, in cases where we cannot go entirely flat, we work with the terrain to the best of our ability. Whenever we are designing the route in any city, we look at different options to get from one place to another, and try to always choose the least hilly or steep path.

However, when a hill is unavoidable because we need to get out of a valley or our route options are limited by construction, sidewalk availability, or city requirements, we look at ways to break the hill up as much as possible. This can include employing a “switch back” technique that breaks the hill up into several smaller, less steep hills whenever possible. Essentially, we try to stair-step our way up the hills.

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No matter what 3-Day city you are walking, proper training is always essential. As we work to plan the best route possible, you should do prep work as well. Try to find a route with some hills and stairs to help prepare for the possibility that they will occur during any event.

Also, check the website for training walks that are being hosted in your area. They are a great way to get ready for the event while meeting and talking to other walkers!
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Involving the Community

Our local teams are already working hard to get businesses along the route to cheer our walkers on, so everyone will feel the constant support from the community. If you have any recommendations or connections along the route, send contact information to your local Coaches. And if you have friends, neighbors and longtime donors who are local, talk with them about setting up a cheering station. The work with communities is continual throughout the year and we have dedicated volunteers (some of them walkers and crew members) who work on community involvement year-round, but while we do our best to line the route with all the support we can, we cannot do it alone!

You can also help by sharing these documents with local businesses, neighborhood associations, clubs, teams, church groups, etc., and by contacting your local coaches at 800-996-3DAY, (Hey, Seattle! Liz and Gayla are at Option 7) or on their coaches Facebook pages to volunteer to help so we can get an early start on lining the route with support.

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Leading the Way

Our Route Team works tirelessly to make sure the route is as clearly marked as possible. We never want a 3-Dayer to feel lost! However, because we mark the route the day before, the signage is vulnerable to changes. That’s why we are always on alert during each 3-Day weekend, and why we also make changes every year based on walker experiences.

For example, last year, Seattle signs were removed and altered by the public in many places, especially along trail sections, which caused confusion and frustration for walkers — and hey, we get it! That’s a huge bummer, especially when it means being on your feet for any longer than you have to be.

To address this problem, this year we will rely on staff members to confirm placement of all signage in the early hours before we open the route for walkers. We will also utilize Route Safety crew members to check each section of the route before the walkers pass through and increase our Route Safety presence and signage along foot paths and areas of high traffic.

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If you have feedback on any part of your 3-Day route, community involvement, or anything about your experiences, please make sure to include those in your post-event surveys! We work hard to make sure every aspect of your 3-Day experience is the best it can be, all year long.

We are putting in that work now, and always, because we know how important your 60 miles are. Every step you take is important to us because every step is another one towards a world without breast cancer. Thank YOU, participants for walking with us, for giving your time and energy, and for being the best part of the 3-Day experience.