A Salute to the 3-Day Medical Crew

Today is National Nurse’s Day, and we are honored to have many accomplished nurses as part of our 3-Day Medical Crew. Along with doctors, physician’s assistants and other medical professionals, these nurses keep all our 3-Day participants safe and healthy during the 3-Day weekend.

To celebrate them, and nurses across the country, we had a few of our 3-Day Medical Crew Captains share their 3-Day stories.

Barb Diamond Johnson, Medical Captain at the Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Days

My commitment to the 3-Day and our local Komen affiliate is thanks to the care my mom received when her insurance fell short. Her care was funded by Susan G. Komen. I initially did the 3-Day in 2007 as a way to pay that back. My intention was to be one and done. But I’m still here…haha! My husband, two daughters, and son-in-law all now participate, too. I even met my current three best friends through the 3-Day.

I have so many amazing memories from my time on the 3-Day…

Years ago, my grandmother lived in Oregon. She used to help take care of the “neighbor girl.” I was in college at this point. I don’t ever remember hearing the neighbor girl’s name. My 1st year in Seattle, (Medical Lead) Jason Page assigned a social worker to my crew. I felt very drawn to her and would continue to have dinner with her when I would come to Seattle to visit my oldest daughter. Later while visiting with her, someone asked where she grew up. She mentioned the town where my grandparents lived. Lo and behold, she is that same neighbor girl! I had quite an ugly cry at that moment. We both now have bracelets that say “Gramma Glady’s Girls.”

Then, another year, we had a participant with Stage IV breast cancer whose family had been pushing her through the event. She would nap at lunch on our cots. Dr. Jim Lummus pushed her from Pit Stop 4 into the Participant Finish Area. We all were affected and inspired by her courage.

I have so many funny memories, and even a few moments of intense emotion, all from the 3-Day.

Robin Knapmiller, Medical Team Captain at the Twin Cities and San Diego 3-Days

It’s hard to express in words the love and appreciation I have for my Medical Team, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize them and thank them for all they do. They have shown over and over the ability to work with complete strangers in a new environment, and to do so with love and compassion, what a gift! I truly believe the personal connection makes a difference in the lives of the walkers. I have seen over and over how they not only treat the blisters and illnesses…but really get to know the walkers by name, share in their stories, meet their families and cry both happy and sad tears together! Sending love and thanks to ALL the3Day Medical Crew. You truly are THE BEST!

I am so honored to be among you, and to have my family at my side too! My daughter Jenni grew up watching me work the event, but since there was not a Youth Corps then, she had to wait until she was older to help. In 2013, Jenni got her Nursing Degree and we could finally work the events together. We haven’t missed a year since!  

Do you have a member of the medical crew who you would like to salute? Are you a medical crew member with a memory from the 3-Day to share? Tell us in the comments! We are honored to have so many talented medical professionals keeping us safe all weekend long.

For more stories about our 3-Day Medical Crew, you can check out these blog posts:

Two Walkers, One 3-Day Love with Dylan and Karla from the San Diego 3-Day

It only took 3 days and 60 miles for Dylan and Karla to feel the spark. 365 days later, they took that journey again, this time as husband and wife. Though they had both been involved for the 3-Day in years past, Dylan and Karla didn’t officially meet until friends introduced them on the 2017 San Diego 3-Day. Dylan started walking for his ex-wife’s good friend in 2002 and has now participated in 13 events. 2016 was Karla’s first year walking. But 2017 was the one that counted, because that’s when they met each other. That’s where their story began…

How did you then meet each other?

Dylan had walked in the Philly event in 2016 and again in 2017 along with other good 3-Day friends. When the 2017 San Diego 3-Day came around we were introduced by common friends at the Red Marlin Day 0 party. Our friends had no idea what would happen in the days to come.

What was your first walk like together?

That depends who you ask. 😉 Dylan would say the first day wasn’t like any other walk. Karla might say she had her eye on Dylan, but the first day was fairly normal. The second day we walked together more, talked more and started to realize there was a spark. By Day 3, it was pretty clear we had a strong connection. Plans were altered and the Monday following the 3-Day we spent all day wandering around San Diego. For the sake of brevity, many details are being left out, but it goes without saying (now) that we couldn’t deny the connection.

And how has your 3-Day experience changed over time?

We continue to meet amazing people who have become dear to our hearts and unfortunately a few of these dear friends have lost their lives, which gives us more reason to continue this effort. Together we are more determined to raise money and participate. As far as the actual walk goes, it’s changed considerably given we basically walk all 60 miles holding hands.

This year was your first walk as a married couple!

Dylan proposed to Karla a month after the 2017 3-Day (right before Christmas). She moved to Raleigh from Atlanta two months after that. We both decided pretty quickly we wanted to get married in San Diego right before the 2018 3-Day but the details kind of fell into place over the next few months. On a drive from Orange County to San Diego in January 2018 we passed Oceanside, the city Dylan’s dad grew up in. We visited the house his dad grew up in and, subsequently, drove a few miles south to Carlsbad where Dylan’s grandfather had established a church in the early ‘60s after retiring from the Navy as a Chaplain. The visit wasn’t intended for scoping out a wedding venue, but we both decided after walking the church campus that there was no better place to profess our love for each other and to bring both families together. As more plans came together, we decided the Red Marlin (where we had originally met) was an obvious location for the reception and of course that meant our guests would be staying at the Hyatt Mission Bay. It was not only our wedding host hotel, but also the 3-Day host hotel! It was pretty cool seeing our wedding family transition to our 3-Day family.

And what was it like walking only a few days later?

It made for a LONG week. We got to San Diego the Sunday before the 3-Day and didn’t get back home to Raleigh until the day after Thanksgiving. We both had a blast walking in the 3-Day for our honeymoon. 😊 We also spent a couple of days at the Hotel Del Coronado following the Closing Ceremony.

You were also featured in the camp show this year for the Newlywed Game!

It went by so fast we barely remember! Dylan does remember being right on more of the questions than Karla. LOL

What are some lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day that also apply to your relationship?

Sometimes in the real world it’s good to have the 3-Day family as an example of giving and philanthropy to look back on for reference. We both have lifelong friends we’ve met at the 3-Day and get to see throughout the year.

What makes a great 3-Day walking partner?

One who will hold your hand and listen to your rambling.

And partner in life?

Not much different! We are each other’s priority and nothing else is more important. It helps that we basically think the same way.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

Well, Karla’s birthday is 2 days after Valentine’s Day so it’s kind of a combined thing. We honestly don’t put much emphasis on Valentine’s Day. We don’t need a holiday to remind us to love each other. That said, for Karla’s birthday she wanted to go to the Daytona 500 so we’re going to Florida that weekend and watching fast cars turn left for a few hours. I’m sure we’ll be holding hands the entire time 😊

My 3-Day Experience: Checking in with Former AVON 39 Walker, Debbie

This year on the 3-Day, we were happy and honored to welcome many past AVON 39 walkers to our pink family. One of those walkers, Debbie S., joined the 2018 San Diego 3-Day and was our Top individual Fundraiser for the event! After raising more than $75,000 as a six-time AVON 39 walker, she raised $32,000 in her first year on the 3-Day.

We were so honored to have this breast cancer survivor and grandmother of two on the 3-Day this year. After her first 60-mile walk, she’s giving us an inside peek at her journey, and her top fundraising tips!

You are a fundraising rock star! What are your favorite fundraising techniques?

I fundraise very simply, yet diligently. I start about six months ahead of the walk. I create a personal email message, which I also used on my participant center page. I include a picture of myself to keep it personal. I sent the email to every email address I have in my contacts, everyone that has ever emailed me, everyone I know, lots of people I do not know; friends, family, friends of friends and family, doctors, work contacts, clients etc. Hundreds of emails!

The first round of emails always gets a good amount of donations and keeps me going. For the next 3-4 months I send out monthly emails to those who have not yet donated. I change the email message up each time, but still keep it very personal. I continue to send my original email to ‘new’ email contacts I have gathered along the way. I ask everyone for their email and ask friends and family to share their email lists.

By September I was sending emails to those remaining donors every other week. Come October I was sending emails every week and took advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sometimes I was just sending a picture or a saying or a cartoon and my link to my donation page. It was my goal to stay in their face every time they went to their emails. I figured, the worst thing that could happen is they would just delete or block me! 😀 No harm! Many thanked me for reminding them, because with all the emails we get, they do get lost and forgotten. I sent emails every week, all the way up until the day of the walk.

I immediately sent every donor a personal thank you email. Also, every once in a while I would update those who already donated on my progress, showing them how much they were a part of raising so much money, which would occasionally make them donate again! I stressed US, and WE, not just me! I showed them what a big part of finding a cure and reaching a goal they were. The fundraising is so fun to me and gives me a great sense of accomplishment! I would wake up every morning and check email immediately to see my donations. The more I got, the more I wanted! I would raise my personal goal accordingly.

I didn’t do anything big or unusual, but I just never stopped asking!

What about training for your 60-mile walk?

As for training, I am a walker by nature. I walk year-round. I started walking diligently 13 years ago, after my cancer diagnosis. It was my escape. I have not stopped walking since. I walk an average of 30 miles a week!

You were also a part of our Opening Ceremony….

The Opening Ceremony was great! Being a part of it was so amazing and special. It was the right length of time and got everyone motivated to get out there and do this! I appreciated the time taken the day before for rehearsal and the time put into making it great!

What were some of your favorite spots along the route?

The route was beautiful! After very chilly mornings, the weather was spectacular, and the views were magnificent. Day 1 had gorgeous ocean views, but every day was beautiful. Having walked in 6 AVON 39 walks in different cities, I must say San Diego blew me away. I have never walked in a city with so much neighborhood support! It was amazing! The crew and residents and businesses were out everywhere! It was a wonderful feeling of love and support, from survivors and women going through treatment thanking us to kids and elderly showing their love!

As a survivor I couldn’t feel more support and love. The crew along the way was great! On Day 1, as it heated up, I took off my long-sleeved shirt. As I was attempting to tie it around my waist, a woman came right over to me and offered to bring it to camp for me. She put it in a bag, wrote my name and phone number on it and delivered it to camp! It seems silly, but so great to not have to walk with a shirt wrapped around you for 20 miles! She even called me later that night to make sure I got it! That’s just how people were! So sweet!

What was it like crossing the finish line?

Crossing the finish line was super special. My son walked the last day with me as a 20-mile walker! I can’t tell you how special that was! We had a great time and as we approached the finish line, my 6-year old granddaughter made a mad dash for me across the field. I picked her up, carried her and the three of us crossed the finish line together! My son said he would love to do it again, maybe all 60 miles, and my granddaughter said she would walk with me in 10 years, when she’s 16! 😀

It looks like we have a future 3-Dayer on our hands! Thank you to Debbie, and all our former AVON 39 walkers who made this 3-Day season something truly special!