Congratulations to the 2019 San Diego 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Betsy Sears

Please join us in congratulating our 2019 San Diego Milestone Award Winner; Betsy Sears! The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the San Diego 3-Day camp show, we presented Betsy with this special honor.

Betsy has been walking in the 3-Day since 2005, most often alongside her friend and team captain Lindsey Bock. Lindsey captains their team, The Ta-Ta’s from KC, and says the whole team is “blessed” to have Betsy on their team.

Lindsey says, “Betsy is so deserving of this recognition for her contributions and commitment to the 3-Day because she is SO busy with her job (she travels all of the time), visiting New Jersey to see her sweet granddaughters and spending time with her adorable Corgi dogs and husband, she STILL makes it a priority to fundraise for the 3-Day. She is an inspiration to all who know her and a loving, caring, sweet, funny and amazing person!”

Their fellow teammate, and Lindsey’s mom, Caryn Firebaugh echoes Lindsey’s love for Betsy, saying, that she “is such a special person and important part of our team. She blesses us on each step of our 60-mile adventure!”

Now let’s hear from Betsy in her own words…

What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?

My inspiration was friend and current team captain Lindsey Bock. She was moved to join the walk after an aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. She invited me to walk with her. I walked that first 60 miles in memory of my mother-in-law who died of breast cancer many years ago.

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?

The diagnoses of friends and family members continues to motivate me – and the desire to make even a small difference with the funds our team raises. I am so inspired by the hundreds of other walkers “all in” for the same reasons.

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?

I have the most incredibly supportive and generous friends, family and clients . . . AND my employer, Quest Diagnostics, that has a phenomenal matching program.

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?

High quality socks and good walking shoes are very important components of a successful blister-free 60 miles. But the most important element is the camaraderie with amazing team members who love and support each other (and like to talk about food, recipes, and fun facts for 60 miles!)

What’s a fun fact about you?

Early in my career in the clinical field, I drew blood from both Bess Truman and Faye Dunaway.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?

You can persevere through any pain and discomfort; it’s not cancer. Despite any hardships in life we might endure, there is always someone worse off who needs our support and encouragement.

Meet Your San Diego 3-Day Coaches

Before we head to the West Coast for the start of the San Diego 3-Day tomorrow, we wanted to make sure you are well acquainted with your local coaches! These are the amazing women who support the walkers and crew members all year round, answering phone calls and emails, hosting community events, assigning crew captains and juggling dozens of other tasks to make sure that the 3-Day is the best weekend of the year. If you don’t know Coaches Jen and Staci, Crew Coordinator Amy and Event Planner Meredith yet, you’re missing out! They are everything that is amazing about the 3-Day family, all wrapped up into one dedicated, supportive and loving team.

Before you lace up your shoes for this weekend, let’s meet your San Diego team, and hear why the 3-Day means so much to them (in their own words) …

What are you most excited for this year?

Coach Amy: Seeing the smiling faces of my sweet crew. It is a magical feeling when you are surrounded by people who desire nothing more than to give all that is asked of them and so much more. That includes the whole 3-Day community, too. The 3-Day is a beautiful example of what happens when you allow love to rule over everything you do!

Coach Staci: I am so excited to welcome participants from afar to my beautiful hometown! Seeing the 3-Day friends I’ve known for years and finally meeting new participants face-to-face is always amazing. I also love watching the 3-Day route come alive with community support.

Coach Jen is at left

What can walkers and Crew look forward to over this weekend?

Coach Meredith: The views, the hills, and the community support. What can I say, there are many reasons why San Diego is “America’s Finest City!”

Coach Jen: The breathtaking natural beauty of Torrey Pines, the newly added Quince Street Bridge on Sunday, and our Closing Ceremony at Waterfront Park, in the shadow of downtown San Diego. It’s going to be the time of our lives!

Coach Amy: So much beauty! The Top of Torrey Pines hill, waves crashing along Sunset Cliffs and sunrise at Mission Bay.

What is your advice for any San Diego 3-Dayers?

Coach Meredith: The 3-Day is an emotional journey as much as it is a physical one. Take a few moments before the walk begins to mentally prepare for the love, support, and emotional connections that are the foundation of the 3-Day community.

Coach Jen: Make time to make new friends. Laugh a lot, but know that it’s okay to cry, too. Be proud of every step you take, every dollar you raised and every minute you volunteer — you are making a difference in the fight to end breast cancer!

What does the 3-Day mean to you?

Coach Amy: It is magical. On the 3-Day, you will experience something that defies explanation. You will be challenged, inspired, pushed harder and appreciated more than you have ever before. It is a magical thing and I wish I could bottle up this magic and sprinkle it all year long!

Coach Staci: People from all walks of life coming together with a common purpose and determination. Yes, we’ll have fun (and lots of it), but the underlying mission of our time together is the unbreakable thread of connection that comes from a desire to make the world a better place.

Tell us about your fellow coaches!

Coach Meredith: I get to work with the DREAM TEAM in San Diego. My fellow coaches are dedicated, have a rich historical knowledge of the 3-Day and are just plain fun to be with!

Coach Jen: The most compassionate and committed women I know! Whether it’s assisting a new local walker, finding the perfect position on our crew or creating the safest and most memorable route for our San Diego 3-Day walkers…they are always ready to help!

Coach Staci: I’m incredibly lucky to work with the most compassionate and smart event professionals there can possibly be. Being able to also call them friends is the icing on top!

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: