Debbie S. is More Than Pink — Meet a Survivor & New 3-Day Walker

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As our 2018 3-Day season draws closer and closer, we are welcoming past AVON 39 walkers into our 3-Day® family. We want to show them the 3-Day love, because they are a wonderful addition to our cause and they are More Than Pink®.

Debbie S., will also be a proud member of our survivor and those living with metastatic breast cancer community when she joins the San Diego 3-Day in November.

Debbie was officially declared cancer-free in 2005, and since then has been an active crusader for a cure for breast cancer, as well as a staunch supporter and inspiration for those undergoing their own treatment.

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She participated in her first AVON 39 while still bald from her own treatment, and has walked in six AVON 39’s since then. She has also spoken at a breast cancer charity event in Los Angeles, A Cause for Entertainment, and was featured in Avon’s commercial last year. To say she lives to be a part of the fight against breast cancer is an understatement.

“It is so important to keep walking and raising funds for research and awareness! This is what is going to ultimately help cure this disease! Everyone knows about the strides that organizations, such as Susan G. Komen and Avon, have made and I am often asked why other cancers don’t do the same things. My answer is always: They should, you should! Raising funds and awareness is the most important thing!”

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That is why Debbie knew she could not hang up her walking shoes in 2018. She had to keep going, and was excited to join the 3-Day family. Her excitement extends towards fundraising, which she says was one of the things that drew her to the 3-Day in the first place.

“I’m actually most excited about raising more money and walking with others who are doing it for the same reasons I am: a cure! I’m always excited to show everyone how you can beat breast cancer and persevere. Nothing can stop us if we are determined!”

She is determined, in fact, to raise $25,000 this year alone, and has already raised almost $3,000 in the first 24 hours after registering. Though she says she began her fundraising journey with “The mentality that the minimum was enough,” she soon realized that “It is never enough! With every walk, my goal is to beat my last walk!”

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How does she do it? With the same passion and exuberance that has stayed with her throughout her breast cancer journey. She starts via email, sending messages to everyone in her address book (whether she knows them or not!) as well as to any emails she can collect from friends and family. She begins emailing at least six months before her walk, also using social media to kickstart her efforts.

After that, she sends reminder emails to everyone who has not donated on the first of each month. As the event approaches, she will kick it up another notch.

“About two months before the walk, I will start sending it every two weeks. The last month, I will send it every week and eventually daily! I break them all down! They all give! I also upload my letter, with my story, to my personal page for the walk.”

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Simple, but effective, is her approach, and one that has shown great success in the past. This is not just how she approaches fundraising, but how she approaches life in general.

“Being a survivor means everything to me! It means that being strong and having a positive attitude goes a long way! It means I can assure others that they can survive too! Because I am proof!”

If you see Debbie on the 3-Day route in San Diego, say hello and share a hug! She is walking solo this year, but can’t wait to meet new friends and share her story and dream of a world without breast cancer.

A Toast to the 3-Day from Haviland F., Your San Diego Toast Lady

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But behind all that excitement and fun is someone deeply dedicated to the 3-Day cause, who works tirelessly for a world without breast cancer. Havliand lost her aunt to breast cancer before she became involved in the 3-Day.

She was first recruited to volunteer by her friend, Kit L., and lost her voice the first year she cheered on 3-Dayers. After a few years of this cheerleading-style weekend, the two wanted to do something different. They wanted to toast all the amazing work the 3-Day was doing, but knew that alcohol wasn’t allowed on event. So, they grabbed slices of sourdough bread instead, and began their “toasting” tradition!

The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, she and Kit have become a staple in the Del Mar community as “The Toast Girls.”

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Haviland raves about Kit and the rest of her San Diego 3-Day community.

“I can’t tell you how much I look forward to the 3-Day event every year, and cheering on every single one of those walkers while wearing more pink than should be allowed in public. Plus, holding up slices of bread.  It’s my honor to do this for these amazing people who are trying to find a cure for breast cancer.   Truly, spending four days with my 3-Day family is something that makes my soul sing every year.”

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To learn more about her dedication to the 3-Day cause, we heard Haviland’s story in her own words…

What are some of your fondest memories of meeting with walkers while you cheer them on?

Holy cow where do I start?!  All the ones I’ve made and the ones I have yet to make. From that first year cheering in over 3000 walkers to the last few years as a toast girl.  I love that I can inspire people.  It’s the least I can do because truly they are the ones who inspire me to come back year after year.

What keeps you coming back year after year?

Simple: The 3-Day is my family.  […] It’s my privilege to cheer and support these fearless walkers on the route and at camp. I come back to remember my Aunt Joanne and honor her. I come because my heart calls me to do so. It makes me feel that I have power over something that can make you feel powerless.  I will always be a 3-Day “Toast Girl.”

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Why is it so important that we continue to support breast cancer charities?

It’s important to continue so that we can put a stop to families losing time with loved ones. Time is precious and we all deserve a full lifetime.

Who are other people you want to “toast” to in your life?

My beautiful children Taylor and Ian.  My amazing family.  My closest friends Jen, Melanie, Kit, Janet and a ton of others all these people have touched my life in a significant way. And of course, my amazing 3-Day people – those who I know and those who I still have yet to meet!

We toast to you, Haviland!

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Tales from a Slumber Party Tent: Kendall C., San Diego 3-Day Walker

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Glamping is a huge part of the 3-Day experience, and our fields of pink tents are always a welcome sight for participants after a long day out on the 3-Day trail. Last year, though, participants had the opportunity to upgrade their glamping experience even further with our Slumber Party tents! Complete with air mattresses, a friendly doormat, camp chairs and more, they were a special reward for those who had recruited two new walkers to our pink family.

And they’ll be back in 2018! Open to walkers and crew, if you recruit two new 3-Day walkers by May 31, you can have a big pink slumber party on-event! You and your pals can celebrate your 60-mile journey in a Slumber Party Tent, a large tent that sleeps up to 4, complete with air mattresses, sheets, pillows, camp chairs and a phone charger. We can promise it will be tons of fun, especially because you’ll have your friends with you on the walk. Don’t take our word for it though! Kendall C., who walked her first 3-Day last year, got the luxury of spending her weekend in the Slumber Party Tent with her teammates from The Divine Sisters of the Ta-Ta Sisterhood…and she’s already trying to recruit friends for 2018 so she can be back in that tent again in November!

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“I’m always telling people how much I loved it and how it’s an experience I will never forget. Actually, one of the best in my life!”

Part of that was thanks to her team, who recruited her as part of their neighborhood team. Kendall walked for her three friends who have all been diagnosed with breast cancer, but didn’t know when she signed up that she would be sleeping in the Slumber Party Tent. Talk about an extra perk!

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“The tent was SO much larger than we anticipated and the air mattresses and pillows were such a treat to have! I also couldn’t believe there were chairs, which we loved having at the end of the day to relax in. We also would bring all our chairs together to hang out in the evening before bed. I also remember a welcome doormat, and a little table complete with a fake succulent! I mean, that is glamping in my book and I’ll take it any day! To top it all off, there was a cell phone charger we ALL got to use, even at the same time. We were so, so happy to have the Slumber Party tent and it completely made our camping experience perfect!”

Kendall says all the special touches made the experience all the more enjoyable, and encourages everyone to recruit and try to earn their own Slumber Party Tent experience this year. It brought her team even closer together, especially as they decorated the larger tent. Her tent won the decoration contest for its “All I Want for Christmas is a Cure” theme, which Kendall is still glowing with pride over.

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“When else can you decorate a tent while camping with your girlfriends?! It even heightened the excitement we already had for the walk. We put tons of Christmas lights on it and you could probably see our tent from a mile away! Once we had our theme, “All I Want for Christmas is a Cure,” we could not stop buying pink Christmas decorations. We had pink stockings (with our names in glitter of course), pink garland, pink Christmas trees, and I even wrapped presents in pink paper! It was really fun to come up with all the ideas with my tent mates too.”

Her enthusiasm for all things 3-Day extends beyond her decorating success last year, and right into her training and recruiting goals for this year as well.

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“I am still riding on the high from last year’s walk! It completely exceeded my expectations in every way. The training brought an entire new group of friends my way and I looked forward to every training walk with them. I loved feeling a part of something and felt like I was making a difference! I was raising awareness and fundraising at the same time and that felt good.

The walk itself was also so much fun! The 3-Day crew took such amazing care of us and we always had everything we needed. Whether it was food or drink, help from the medics, our amazing tents, and they even hosted an amazing family night. I really loved every minute and once I start telling somebody about my experience, I just can’t stop!”

Want to join Kendall in 2018? Register now…and then get recruiting! Go to The3Day.org/Refer for all the details and get the Recruitment ID you need to recruit two friends to walk 60 miles with you by May 31st, and you could be enjoying your very own Slumber Party Tent!