Debbie S. is More Than Pink — Meet a Survivor & New 3-Day Walker

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As our 2018 3-Day season draws closer and closer, we are welcoming past AVON 39 walkers into our 3-Day® family. We want to show them the 3-Day love, because they are a wonderful addition to our cause and they are More Than Pink®.

Debbie S., will also be a proud member of our survivor and those living with metastatic breast cancer community when she joins the San Diego 3-Day in November.

Debbie was officially declared cancer-free in 2005, and since then has been an active crusader for a cure for breast cancer, as well as a staunch supporter and inspiration for those undergoing their own treatment.

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She participated in her first AVON 39 while still bald from her own treatment, and has walked in six AVON 39’s since then. She has also spoken at a breast cancer charity event in Los Angeles, A Cause for Entertainment, and was featured in Avon’s commercial last year. To say she lives to be a part of the fight against breast cancer is an understatement.

“It is so important to keep walking and raising funds for research and awareness! This is what is going to ultimately help cure this disease! Everyone knows about the strides that organizations, such as Susan G. Komen and Avon, have made and I am often asked why other cancers don’t do the same things. My answer is always: They should, you should! Raising funds and awareness is the most important thing!”

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That is why Debbie knew she could not hang up her walking shoes in 2018. She had to keep going, and was excited to join the 3-Day family. Her excitement extends towards fundraising, which she says was one of the things that drew her to the 3-Day in the first place.

“I’m actually most excited about raising more money and walking with others who are doing it for the same reasons I am: a cure! I’m always excited to show everyone how you can beat breast cancer and persevere. Nothing can stop us if we are determined!”

She is determined, in fact, to raise $25,000 this year alone, and has already raised almost $3,000 in the first 24 hours after registering. Though she says she began her fundraising journey with “The mentality that the minimum was enough,” she soon realized that “It is never enough! With every walk, my goal is to beat my last walk!”

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How does she do it? With the same passion and exuberance that has stayed with her throughout her breast cancer journey. She starts via email, sending messages to everyone in her address book (whether she knows them or not!) as well as to any emails she can collect from friends and family. She begins emailing at least six months before her walk, also using social media to kickstart her efforts.

After that, she sends reminder emails to everyone who has not donated on the first of each month. As the event approaches, she will kick it up another notch.

“About two months before the walk, I will start sending it every two weeks. The last month, I will send it every week and eventually daily! I break them all down! They all give! I also upload my letter, with my story, to my personal page for the walk.”

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Simple, but effective, is her approach, and one that has shown great success in the past. This is not just how she approaches fundraising, but how she approaches life in general.

“Being a survivor means everything to me! It means that being strong and having a positive attitude goes a long way! It means I can assure others that they can survive too! Because I am proof!”

If you see Debbie on the 3-Day route in San Diego, say hello and share a hug! She is walking solo this year, but can’t wait to meet new friends and share her story and dream of a world without breast cancer.

Meet Philly’s 3-Day Fighter: Walker Caren S.

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On the 3-Day, it’s not uncommon to meet people who walk for their friends, their families, themselves or people they know who have been affected by breast cancer. Caren S. didn’t know anyone who had been affected by breast cancer – until, just one day after walking the 2017 Philadelphia 3-Day, she found out that SHE was now living with the disease.

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In 2017, Caren walked her first 3-Day in Philadelphia. She didn’t know anyone with breast cancer, but had been inspired to join the 3-Day after seeing a woman wearing one of our Victory T-Shirts while she was running a half marathon. Caren trained and walked all on her own, coming in from Boston just to make that 60-mile, 3-Day journey. Right after the Closing Ceremony, she headed home…to what turned out to be a whole new world.

“The day after the walk ended, I drove back to Boston and immediately to a doctor’s appointment I had scheduled months in advance. It was just an appointment to get a prescription refill, but since this was a new physician’s assistant, she insisted on doing a well woman exam. Well, that PA found a lump in my breast. Flash forward to today, and I have stage 3 HER2+ breast cancer.”

Carol and Caren

This turn of events is one that many who are diagnosed with breast cancer know all too well. It immediately gave Caren “a whole new appreciation for Susan G. Komen, the 3-Day, all of the coaches, all of the volunteers, the survivors and the caregivers,” and has inspired her to already begin planning her 2018 walk goals.

One of them is to be walking as a survivor. And she’s going to approach that goal like one of her favorite movie characters.

“I’m obsessed with Rocky, literally. And during one of his fights, after 11 rounds of being beaten to a pulp, Rocky stood toe to toe with his opponent, looked him in the eye and confidently said, “I’m still standing here.” To me, that’s what the word “survivor” means. After chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, possible radiation, and 9 additional months of infusions, when I can say, “I’m still standing here,” that’s when I can call myself a survivor. To me, a survivor is someone who stood toe to toe with cancer, took all the hits, and kept moving forward until they beat it, scars, short hair and all.”

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As she continues to undergo treatment, battling her own scars, she’s also encouraging people to join her in 2018 on the 3-Day! It’s all part of her goal to keep moving forward, and she wants as many people as possible to join her on her journey.

“Between the volunteers, staff and other walkers, someone will always have your back and make sure you get what you need! I would say that the cause for which you are walking, mixed with the stories you hear over the 3 days, as well as the gorgeous and fun scenery, will make it an event you will remember for a lifetime. It’s all worth it as you’re walking.”

Me and Alyssa

Caren plans on walking throughout her treatment, though her training plan is different this year than last. Her heart has been weakened by her infusions so she will be bringing a friend with her for long walks, for the extra fun and support. She also gets help from her training playlist, which now doubles as her chemo playlist, too. The songs that pump her up and keep her going? Unsurprisingly they include the “Rocky” playlist, as well as:

  • “It’s A Fight” by Three 6 Mafia
  • “Stronger” by Kanye West
  • “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon
  • “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy
  • “Watch Me Shine” by Vanessa Carlton

And shine she will. She’s going to keep fighting, and like her pal Rocky, she’s never down for the count.

“I live my life by my favorite movie quote of all time, which was said by Rocky in Rocky Balboa:

‘It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward?’ That’s something I remind myself on a daily basis.”

 

 

 

 

Motivation Monday: Get Inspired with Stories from 3-Day Survivors and Those Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

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To start off the week on the right foot, sometimes you need a little motivation. Mondays can be tough, but it’s important to remember the Bold Goal we are all working towards every day. There are no better people to remind us of this fact than our 3-Day family of survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer. We are proud to honor them at every 3-Day, and even more proud to hear why they continue to walk. Read on for their words of inspiration…

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Lisa P. from the San Diego 3-Day

“I walk with pride, humility, sadness for others who have lost the fight.”

Jen C. from Michigan

“I’ve been a 3-Day walker since 2011, but my reasons for walking have changed now that I’m a new survivor. I now walk to honor and give back to the community that has helped me get through my own breast cancer diagnosis. My 3-Day family has been there for me every step of the way, and I’m eternally grateful for the 3-Day bringing them into my life. <3”

Lori W. from Ohio

“I am a two-year survivor. I am walking to have a world without breast cancer. I don’t want my daughter, daughter-in-law, my sister, my mom my granddaughters, my sisters-in-law, nieces, cousins, friends to ever have to go through what I went through.”

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Michigan 3-Day Coach Jennifer

“I walk because, quite simply, I can. I am now 10 years cancer free and alive and healthy enough to walk, so I it’s something I must do.”

Stacey R. from the Twin Cities 3-Day

“I know that I would not still be around without the research support from Komen and other organizations that has given me the treatment options I have now. I want to pay this forward through continuing to raise awareness and funds for Komen and participate in the 3-Day walks.”

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Mandy H. from the Seattle 3-Day

“I am a survivor with three daughters. I walk to bring awareness to this disease, express the importance in finding a cure, and to remind people to be diligent in being checked.”

Liz B. from Philadelphia

“I signed up for my first 3-Day eight years ago when I was recovering from my mastectomies. Walking 60 miles became a personal goal. I continue to walk and crew each year because I’ve found a second family in the 3-Day. I will keep walking or crewing until there is no more need to do so.”

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Do you have your own story as a survivor or someone living with metastatic breast cancer? Share it in the comments!