2021 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Recap

The 2021 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day was two years in the making. With lots of planning and pivoting and Covid protocols and safety measures put into place, the Komen 3-Day family finally reunited in beautiful San Diego this past weekend! And what a beautiful and magical three days it was. Grateful and excited participants, volunteers and staff took over the city of San Diego after a two-year hiatus and picked up right where we left off in November of 2019.  

Day 1 

Friday morning was cool and hazy as walkers, filled with excitement, started to make their way into the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Thousands of people decked out in their pink outfits, pink accessories, and even pink masks eagerly gathered for the Opening Ceremony. The crowd was buzzing with elation and anticipation as the ceremony began, freely waving ribbons in the air. We heard from participants whose lives were affected by breast cancer, highlighting how Komen’s four pillars of research, care, community and action have played a role in their personal experience with breast cancer.

Our survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led us out on the route to signal the start of our 60-mile journey together. A parade of pink took their first steps on the route, passing Dog Beach and continuing into Del Mar Village.

A tunnel of cheerleaders and walker stalkers greeted walkers as they passed by one of our favorite neighborhoods on the route! Their eyes widened as they passed through the pink-hued bubbles from the bubble machine and welled up as they felt the love from the Del Mar community. Passing through a huge arch of bright pink balloons with pink bras scattered around the building next door was one of the highlights of this spot along the route! 

Walkers then stopped for a quick snack at the second pit stop along Torrey Pines Beach, posing for photos on the lifeguard towers before heading up the infamous Torrey Pines Hill. At the bottom of the hill, walker stalkers cheered boisterously and held signs with words of encouragement. Walkers certainly earned their lunch at Kellogg Park after trekking up the steep hill! 

One of the most beloved spots along the route is the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, where walkers watched the seals down below sunbathing on the rocks. Walkers stopped to pose for photos at this fan-favorite destination.  They made their way through the quaint neighborhood of Bird Rock, where a handful of shops and boutiques were handing out goodies. This was a perfect spot to take a break and admire the colorful mosaic benches scattered throughout the neighborhood!  

Later that day, walkers made their way past Fanuel Street Park and then into camp, buzzing with excitement to pitch their pink tents! Smiles across their faces emerged as they crossed off their first 20 miles. They ended the day with full stomachs from dinner and yummy desserts, some settling into camp overnight, and others heading off in shuttle buses to local hotels. They ended the day with full stomachs from dinner and yummy desserts, the perfectly sweet and tart lemon bars were a favorite among walkers!  

At camp, walkers picked up mail from friends and family as well as legacy pins they had earned. ecoATM provided highly coveted battery packs that walkers used to charge their phones at camp and Natura Bissé provided refreshing mists and samples to try throughout the weekend. There also was a ShopKomen tent with clothing and accessories available for purchase, our sweet mocktails and munchies, and massage chairs provided by Bank of America.

Our Friday night activities officially kicked off as the last walker made his way into camp and raised the flag. Afterwards, the Bingo Boyz took the stage for a night full of bingo, prizes, and lots of laughs! 

Day 2 

At our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, we celebrated our top fundraisers and awarded them with donations toward their 2022 3-Day fundraising provided by Bank of America. These participants raised an astounding amount of money this year that is helping us get that much closer to a world without breast cancer. 

Afterwards, walkers headed onto the route for Day 2 as they passed over the bridges of Mission Bay and crossed into Ocean Beach, enjoying the views of the water as the sun peeked out from behind the morning marine layer. 

The San Diego bike cops grooved with and greeted walkers into the Sunset View Elementary pit stop before stopping to take photos at picturesque Sunset Cliffs! 

After walking along the stunning ocean-front streets of Sunset Cliffs, walkers made their way to lunch at Bonita Cove where a multitude of walker stalkers and furry friends cheered them on. At lunch our Halfway Celebration welcomed in walkers as they passed through the metallic silver and pink streamers. The DJ cranked up the tunes and gathered a large crowd of hyped-up walkers, crew and youth corps for the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Wobble.” 

They walked through the quaint town of Mission Beach and back along toward camp at Crown Point Shores. On the last mile of the route, the first-ever Memorial Mile featured photos of loved ones who had lost their battle with breast cancer. Quietly and solemnly, walkers made their way back to camp, many with a lump in their throat and tears on their face, as they walked by the beautiful photos of those for whom we walk.   

This led us into the Honor Ceremony later that night where we were reminded of why we walk, why we fundraise, and why we commit to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.Three participants shared their personal stories with us about the people who motivate and inspire them to walk. At the end of the ceremony, we turned to those beside us and told them about who we walk for, sharing stories, memories, and hugs with strangers who quickly became family. And then we solidified our commitment by lighting our candles for those we’ve lost.  

Day 3 

On the morning of Day 3, walkers woke up to one of the most beautiful orange and pink sunrises emerging over the water at Crown Point Shores as they lined up at the start line to finish their 60 miles. We all took a moment to appreciate the beauty that San Diego had to offer and be thankful for the weekend of sunny skies and warm weather. 40 miles down, and 20 to go. 

Walkers made their way through Mission Beach to the first pit stop at Belmont Park and passed by Sea World. After passing this San Diego staple, they walked to Old Town and conquered Juan Street Hill! We watched as a pair of walkers hiked up the hill and embraced each other at the top with tears filling their eyes. It was an emotional moment, witnessing the strength and determination that is within each of the people in the Pink Bubble.  

After the journey up Juan Street Hill, walkers had lunch at the beautiful Pioneer Park in Mission Hills. Our crew was there with the biggest smiles and made sure everyone received delicious wraps and salads to fuel them along the remainder of their walk. Walkers rested on Mohawk Flooring’s SmartCushions as they enjoyed their lunch under the shady trees before heading to the medical tent for massages! 

Walkers stopped at the Walgreens cheer station in Hillcrest for snacks, drinks, and were elated to be offered anti-inflammatory gel to help them on their final leg of the journey! 

At the final pit stop in Balboa Park, the crew was ready to serve up drinks and snacks as the sun beamed down in the afternoon. A cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow was there to welcome walkers into the “Pirates of the Cari-bosom” themed pit stop. Crew certainly dressed to impress for the theme, complete with everything from pirate hats to eye patches. One walker stalker and his talking pet parrot, Emmy, even came out to cheer everyone on! 

It was an emotional end as walkers crossed the finish line into Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. Many walkers Facetimed with friends and family who could not be there with them as they walked through to the end.  

Walkers and crew were excited to receive their finisher medal from our National Presenting Sponsor, Bank of America as a symbol of their incredible accomplishment. Our 2021 3-Day season ended with one of the most memorable Closing Ceremonies that honored survivors, walkers, crew, and Youth Corps. The crowd of pink was set against a stunning view of the downtown skyline on one side and palm trees lining the street on the other. Together, we continued the tradition of raising our shoes to salute breast cancer survivors and those living with breast cancer, filled with so much love for our 3-Day family and for those we walk in honor of. 

Our 2,300 walkers, 250 crew and 180 20-mile walkers celebrated as we recognized the incredible accomplishment of the $9.2 million raised in the fight against breast cancer!  
 
From the moment the event started on Friday morning, through the very last seconds of the Closing Ceremony on Sunday evening, we were surrounded by love, hope and kindness. There were endless moments of inspiration. And it was a constant reminder of the power of this incredible community.  
 
While we revel in the accomplishments of the 2021 San Diego 3-Day, we can’t help but look towards 2022 when we’ll have the opportunity to come together in New England, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego.  
 
Congratulations and thank you! 

Why I Walk: Amber B. from the San Diego 3-Day

You may have heard about some magical traveling pants on the big screen, but the group you really should get to know is ‟The Sisterhood of the Traveling Boobs,” including Amber B. She has been participating in the 3-Day since 2003 and finished her 16th 3-Day in San Diego this fall. Since her first walk, her mom, aunt, and friends have joined her on and off throughout the years. But Amber participates no matter what!

It has become her passion, and she loves putting the work into her training and fundraising to make every year better than the last. That includes her plans for 2020 and continuing to recruit new team members to her cause. She will continue to walk until a cure is found. She’s sharing some of that passion with us by sharing her story, and her best tips for newcomers.

How have your 3-Day experiences changed over the last 16 events?

I’ve participated 12 times in Dallas/Fort Worth and 4 times in San Diego.

I slept in the pink tents at camp for the first 12 years and really enjoyed that. I’ve walked through 100-degree heat and rain. I’ve done it all!

Overall, the camaraderie and organization has been amazing over the years. I was a part of the Camp Services Crew in 2009 as a first-time crew member. I really enjoyed it, but quickly figured out my passion was walking.

In the summer of 2016, I was in an accident and broke my neck and sternum. My overall goal was to heal well enough to attend the San Diego 3-Day in November because I had already raised my money. I talked the doctor into taking my halo off on Tuesday so that I could fly to San Diego on Thursday for the event. I had to wear a collar 24/7 for several months but I got the approval to travel (see photo above). I met some wonderful walkers on the flight who were supportive and checked in on me throughout the weekend. I ended up walking 21 miles that weekend, even though most of it was a mile here and a mile there. It was just so wonderful to actually be ‟normal” for the first time in months and knowing I had made a difference, even in my condition, was so good for my soul. As taxing as this event can be on the body, knowing what I was doing for others is what got me through. After that year, I spoke with a couple of ladies I went to high school with, 20-25 years or so ago (but who’s counting) and they decided to join me the next year in San Diego. I got them hooked as well and they’ve been with me ever since! Each year my team averages 2-10 people, and we’re all connected in some way.

What are a few of your top training tips? 

I do have to say that just walking and getting in shape overall was the best advice I received. Starting early and getting some good socks and shoes is also key. Use the new mobile iPhone training app, too! I used it last year and it was really helpful! Plus, the year-round training walks are always fun and a great way to get to know other walkers.

How about any fundraising ideas?

I’m lucky to have a small group of people who donate to me every year. I worry I annoy people because I’ve been asking for donations for 16 years, but people are still so generous!

As a team, we do a lot of events, restaurant fundraisers and football pots. I’ve had bake sales during the lunch hour for the last several years at my office that are also extremely successful. This year, we’re going to have a tailgate fundraiser at a Ranger game and we’re thinking about having a concert or golf tournament as well.

No matter what, just ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. So, write letters, email or ask in person. You’ll be surprised at the responses. The worst they can say is no!

What was it like in San Diego this year?

I had a team of six this year, including my aunt who is a 14-year walker and my mom, who walked with me for the first time in 10 years. So, it was wonderful! The weather was beautiful, the community was fantastic, and the support was amazing

I loved the route as well! I liked the changes that were implemented this year and crossing that final bridge on Day 3 was really beautiful.

What are your plans for 2020?

I’ve already signed up for San Diego next year! Plus, I’ve already talked to a couple of people who may walk with me. When they asked me why I walk, I told them it’s not only for the obvious reason — that one of these days we WILL find a cure for breast cancer — but that it’s also good for our mental health.

For three days we’re all the same and the love we share with hundreds of total strangers, plus the community, is unheard of. It may be physically difficult, but it’s mentally rewarding and refreshing.

Why should everyone #Commit3Days and walk the 3-Day?

First, I know we will ultimately find a cure for breast cancer and give people a chance to prolong their life with the clinical trials and medical treatment they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Also, the event itself is life changing. For three days, everyone is the same religion, same sex, same size, same color, same everything. For three days the world’s regular problems are gone, and your heart is filled with hope and love. Yes, there is a possibility you’ll be so sore you can hardly lift your legs to step up onto a curb on Monday, and you may have blisters between your toes or lose toenails, but for three straight days your heart is filled with love.

Where else can you go to see a little boy standing on the side of the road with a sign that says, ‟Thank you for walking for my mom,” or a 25 year old woman holding a sign that says, ‟What you’re doing saved my life”? Random strangers thank you for walking and offer you food and drinks just because you’re doing something nice for a wonderful cause. Businesses decorate their exteriors in pink and offer discounts to participants. I can honestly say in the last 15 years I have never come across an unkind person. It makes you believe in the world again, and in this day and age, this is definitely needed.

Join Amber on the 3-Day in 2020 by registering to join us now at The3Day.org! Right now, through the end of January, we are offering $20 off registrations, no code needed! We can’t wait to reunite with all of you on the 3-Day next year.

2019 San Diego 3-Day Wrap-Up

We could not have asked for a better weekend to finish up our 3-Days for 2019! The West Coast brought sunshine, perfect walking temperatures and tons of community support to the San Diego 3-Day this past weekend.

Friday dawned bright and cool as we started our walk at the Del Mar Fairgrounds once again. CEO of Susan G. Komen, Paula Schneider, and our Bank of America partners, delivered inspiring speeches before introducing local participants to lead our Opening Ceremony. Survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led our walkers out into the sun and onto the route.

The start of Day One took walkers through the city of Del Mar, which always comes out in full force to support the 3-Day. Cheerleaders, local businesses and even the Toast Lady lined the streets to cheer walkers through their first few miles of the day.

After Del Mar, walkers made their way up and down the hills of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. With amazing views of the ocean, this reserve is always a favorite for photos and was lined with cheerleaders and well-wishers. From there, we made our way through the University of California San Diego campus and on to our lunch site at Kellogg Park.

Once again, walkers were beach side, and they enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine! We also met our San Diego 3-Day Youth Corps, who gave us a preview of their Honor Ceremony speeches. We left lunch inspired and ready to take on the afternoon. Walkers then made their way through La Jolla before coming home to our campsite at Crown Point Shores. The sun set as our last walkers came home, and our 3-Day family was complete at the end of Day One.

Day Two began with our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, where we honored top San Diego 3-Day fundraisers, as well as our Milestone and Local Impact Award Winners. It was such a fun and celebratory way to start Saturday!

From there, walkers made their way through San Diego with stops at Ocean Beach and Robb Field before we came to lunch at Bonita Cove. It was a sunny and spacious spot for our Halfway Celebration! Mark led everyone through our final halfway dance for the year, and then the San Diego Police Department led in further celebratory dances before lunch closed.

Saturday afternoon passed quickly, and soon our walkers were back at camp at Crown Point Shores. Our last walker kicked off our final Honor Ceremony for 2019. This ceremony honors all of the reasons we commit to this cause, including members of our San Diego community, survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer. We then raised candles to the night and renewed our promise to continue to walk, and fight, for the cures for breast cancer.

On our final day of the walk, we said goodbye to our beautiful campsite and spent the day walking through downtown San Diego. From Mission Beach Park and Bonita Cove to a cheering station at Sea World, walkers had plenty of time to enjoy the California sun and surf. Right before lunch, walkers conquered the infamous Juan Street Hill! More community support cheered everyone up the hill, and everyone made it to the top with smiles and hearts full of accomplishment!

Then we had a quick lunch stop before finishing our 60-mile journey at Waterfront Park. Our finish line festival was quite the celebration, complete with live music, games, and medals from Bank of America.

And then our 2019 3-Day season ended with an amazing Closing Ceremony, complete with one final dance party as the sun set on the West Coast. Our 1,900 walkers and 325 crew members had a lot to celebrate: they had raised $5.7 million in the fight against breast cancer!

San Diego, you and your community were amazing hosts for our final 3-Day of the year! Thank you all for your support and love and dedication to our cause. We can’t wait to see you in 2020!