May Pink Bubble Story of the Month 

Meet Sharon R., a passionate advocate for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. What started as a simple act of volunteerism in 2011 has turned into a deep-seated commitment to making a difference in the fight against breast cancer. With an impressive track record of 18 Komen 3-Day events under her belt and two more already on the horizon, Sharon’s commitment to the 3-Day is fueled by her dream of no one having to lose a loved one to this disease ever again. 

What is your connection to breast cancer? 

My connection to breast cancer started with someone I met who was an advocate at a local hospital and we started talking about it. I never realized how many people this disease affected, so I knew I had to be involved in any way I could. 

When did you first get involved in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day? 

The first time I got involved with the 3-Day was when I was volunteering for the local Komen affiliate in Dallas and was asked to help volunteer at the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. WOW! I had no idea what I was in for. I started helping at 3-Day Main Street, sorting mail and legacy pins. The amount of mail people sent to the walkers and crew was overwhelming; so many people supported their friends and family on their journey. I met many great people and heard many moving stories. On Sunday of that event, we went to Fair Park to help hand out victory shirts and flowers to the survivors as they crossed the finish line. Another WOW! I was not prepared for all the emotions I felt that day. I felt happy to see everyone complete their journey, sad that the event was ending, heartwarming to hear more stories. I was hooked and signed up to crew for the following year, and so my journey began and continues on to this day.   

How many Susan G. Komen 3-Day events have you participated in? What cities are you participating in this year?  

Since my first event volunteering in 2011 to present day, I have participated in 18 3-Day events. I have gone to Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Boston and Chicago. I have done multiple cities in the same year. This year I signed up for Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth. 

Why do you think raising money for this cause is important? 

Without funding we cannot research and help find the cures for this disease. Fundraising also brings awareness to people who may not otherwise know where the money goes.  

Why are you so passionate about wanting to put an end to breast cancer? 

I am tired of hearing about friends and family passing from breast cancer. I am tired of seeing the suffering of those going through it and how it affects their family and friends. I am tired of children not knowing what it’s like to have a healthy mom or dad. I am just tired and heartbroken at the loss of life.  

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about registering for the 3-Day? 

It is so hard to put our Pink Bubble into words without experiencing it. Being with thousands of people all there for the same reason is an extraordinary experience that is addicting. You must be a part of it to totally get it! Just try it and you will see what I mean.  

Anything else you’d like to add? 

The friendships I have made through the 3-Day are life changing and could not have been possible if I had not become a part of this great fight. It saddens me for those we have lost, but I am grateful to have known them and called them family. 

Read our other Pink Bubble Story of the Month features on the 3-Day Blog here. 

Defying the Odds: Shirley E.’s Empowering Journey as a Breast Cancer Survivor 

At 81 years old, Shirley E. has already signed up for all five 3-Day events in 2023, inspiring others with her unrelenting spirit. As a breast cancer survivor, Shirley believes in the transformative power of walking and encourages everyone to join the cause. Read on to learn more about why Shirley continues to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. 

My 3-Day walking adventures began in 2009 with my first walk in San Diego. I was not familiar with Susan G. Komen and the 3-Day until the previous year, 2008, when my niece sent me a donor request. I told her I would donate if she would walk again the next year so that I could walk with her. She did, and that was my first 3-Day and it changed my life. At that time, I was a 13-year breast cancer survivor, so I was walking to celebrate that. Now I am a 27-year survivor and walk in hopes that we find the cures so that no one else hears those words, “you have breast cancer.”   

My mammogram did not show any cancer, but I had felt a lump that my gynecologist did not find, so I thought I was imagining it. The following year there was still no indication from either the mammogram or the doctor that there was a problem, but I said, “what is this lump?” He did not think it was anything to worry about but sent me to see a surgeon to check it out. After an ultrasound found nothing, he decided we should take out the lump anyway. I then heard the words “we’ll send it out, but I think it is probably cancerous.” It was, and I had to have a second surgery to get a wider margin, followed by eight weeks of radiation. At that time, they did not take a sentinel node to see if the cancer had spread, so I had about 27 lymph nodes removed. I had thoroughly memorized Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book and knew I was at risk for lymphedema, so I requested physical therapy to reduce that risk. The surgeon agreed and it worked! 

I was determined not to let the breast cancer diagnosis interfere with my life. I was a teacher at Eastern Connecticut State University, and because I had been teaching extra classes over the previous few years, I was able to take a reduced teaching load in order to get through treatment easier. The schedule was still very tiring. I taught an undergraduate class on Monday mornings, went for my radiation treatment, and then taught an evening graduate class. On Tuesdays I went for my radiation treatments and then went home to bed. Wednesdays were a repeat of Monday. Thursdays I was able to go home to rest after my radiation treatment. On Fridays I taught an undergraduate class and then my husband (who was retired so he was driving me through all this) and I went to lunch and went shopping. This gave me something to look forward to each week.  

I have completed 27 Komen 3-Day walks, walking all four of them in 2022, and five planned for this year. Why do I keep doing this? Because I now know too many people whose lives were cut short by breast cancer. I know too many families who have lost a loved one to breast cancer. I want to be part of the reason why breast cancer is defeated. I want to see little girls not worry about becoming part of a breast cancer statistic. The money that I am able to raise will help do this. Asking for donations is not easy, but these donations do so much toward the goal of defeating breast cancer.   

When I am walking the 3-Day I am enveloped in the Pink Bubble, which makes walking so much easier than when I do training walks alone. The Pink Bubble has given me so many friends over the years. My message to the Pink Bubble is to embrace the experience and take a piece of it home with you to see you through until the next 3-Day walk, because once you do one walk, you are hooked and you keep on coming back.    

Be an advocate for yourself and remind others to as well. If I had not intervened, I would have gone another year with that lump and possibly not have had as good of an outcome. 

Keep on walking. We will defeat breast cancer one step at a time. 

We all walk and fundraise in hopes of a world without breast cancer. Read more inspiring stories like Shirley’s here.

April Pink Bubble Story of the Month

Denise K. felt the weight of the world on her shoulders when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37 with three young children. Now, she commits to the 3-Day because she knew she had to do something to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. 

Can you tell us about your experience with breast cancer?  

I was 37 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had three young children under five years old at the time. I can remember walking with two of my friends at the Race for the Cure and telling them how getting breast cancer was my biggest fear. Six months later, I found a lump. I had gone for a baseline mammogram before having my third child and was told I had very cystic breasts and to come back when I was 40. Had I listened, I probably would not be here today. I can remember sitting in the doctor’ s office and looking at a brochure that said 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. There were seven other women in that waiting room that day. My life was turned upside down and if it wasn’t for the support of my family, friends and Susan G. Komen, I would not have survived. During the following nine months, I had a mastectomy with a tram flap, chemotherapy that practically killed me and six weeks of radiation.  

What advice would you give to anyone currently going through breast cancer treatment or to someone who was recently diagnosed?  

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to lean on people that love you. The most important thing is a positive attitude and a good sense of humor.  

How did you get involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day?  

I had just finished treatment and knew I needed to do something to help raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen. My best friend Kathy lived in Atlanta and that was where I did my first 60-mile walk. That was in 1999.

How many 3-Days have you participated in?  

I completed my seventh 3-Day walk in 2022! 

What does the 3-Day and the Pink Bubble mean to you?  

EVERYTHING! I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible people during the 3-Day. The Pink Bubble is family. 

What advice would you give to someone who is intimidated by the fundraising minimum?  

Don’t be afraid to post on social media and ask for donations. Everyone knows someone that has been touched by breast cancer…you just have to ask for support. 

What’s something you want the Pink Bubble to know about you?  

This year I am celebrating 24 years cancer free, and I’m excited to see old friends in Denver and of course meet new ones. I am also returning to San Diego for my third time in November. Walking 60 miles is hard, but not as hard as breast cancer. 

Just remember that nobody fights alone, and on the 3-Day, nobody walks alone! 

Do you know a 3-Day all-star who should be featured as a Pink Bubble Story of the Month? Nominate them here: Check out our other Pink Bubble Story of the Month features here.