“I think the thing I love most about the 3-Day is how much the entire event is like one big family reunion. Everyone is so open and easy to talk to. Everyone is there to support everyone else.”
When Jessa G. talks about the 3-Day, she is truly describing a family affair. Her mom, Heather, has been a part of the 3-Day in one way or another since it began in 2001. Heather, and now Jessa alongside her, walk in memory of their MeeMaw (Jessa’s grandmother, and Heather’s mom). MeeMaw lost her fight to breast cancer when Jessa was young, and since then Heather has been a part of the 3-Day family.
A few years ago, Jessa also joined the Pink Bubble as a member of the Youth Corps!
“I had finally found a way that I too could join my mom in memory of my MeeMaw!”
Last year was the first year Jessa was old enough to walk the 3-Day…and walk she did! She and a family friend took on those sixty miles with smiles on their faces and determination in their hearts.
Jessa says, “Although I had already been in the background of the walk, helping make sure things went smoothly and happily for all the walkers, I didn’t know how truly challenging it is. Having that walking experience really gave me a new respect for my mom and all the people who walk the 3-Day year after year. Walking in my mom’s footsteps helped me so much. My mom even let me use the same fanny pack that she used in her first 3-Day, 16 years later.”
Jessa’s mom was there to watch her cross her first-ever 3-Day finish line, and they hope to expand their family’s presence in 2018. Both of Jessa’s younger sisters will be on Youth Corps, and her mom will be part of Lunch Crew. Jessa is hoping to make it back from college in time for the event as well, but no matter if she’s walking, or there in spirit, she will have the 3-Day in her heart.
“It’s so important to me to continue to be a part of the 3-Day in any way, because of the amazing work that I’ve seen through the 3-Day do, just over the past few years that I’ve been there. I’ve seen just how it brings people together and creates lifelong friendships of love and support. The pink bubble is something to love and miss when you aren’t there.”
This past year is still fresh in her mind , and she was more than happy to share tips for first-time walkers:
- Train more on sidewalks and concrete than on trails!
- She also warns against doing any form of activity before the event that could put yourself at risk for injury.
- If you need some extra pep in your step, Jessa loves listening to pop artists like Halsey, Ed Sheeran, Avril Lavigne, Bruno Mars, Little Mix, as well as musicals like Hamilton to keep herself motivated during those long training walks.
- Need fundraising ideas? Jessa says to “ask literally everyone you know! People are more willing to help out than you would think; teachers, friends, doctors, family, everyone.”
- She also recommends asking people to donate old furniture or clothes and having a garage sale where all the money goes towards breast cancer.
These tips come from an expert, too! Though Jessa has only walked the 3-Day once, she has grown up around a 3-Day veteran — her mom, Heather. Jessa says that her mom has been a life-long motivation, and the epitome of someone who is More Than Pink.
“She was the first one in my family to start doing the 3-Day, and she has consistently been a part of them for so many years! She’s talked with so many of the people on so many different events. I haven’t gone to a single 3-Day where I haven’t been approached by one person or another asking if I’m Heather’s daughter. Everyone I’ve talked to has had just the greatest things to say about how she has helped them through something in their lives, or just been there to talk with them even outside of the 3-Day.”
With role models like Heather and her MeeMaw, Jessa is going to keeping walking and working towards a world without breast cancer.