The Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day Honors Our Opening Ceremony Speakers

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We began our 2017 Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day with an inspiring and beautiful Opening Ceremony as the sun broke through the clouds in Edina at the Southdale Mall. Our Opening Ceremonies this year are led by participants, with special recognition given to our breast cancer survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer.

Crew members, walkers, and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep and mile at a time. Take some time to get to know our Opening Ceremony speakers.

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Shelly Owens – My Sister

I walk for my bestest friend and little Sister, Angela, who is here today to witness her first ever 3-Day, and is battling Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She needs a miracle drug so her 3- and 4-year-old children can enjoy many more years with their mommy, and because this world will never be the same for Me if she’s not in it. I’m Shelly and I am More Than Pink.

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Carolyn Opsahl Hopp – My Friend

I walk in memory of my friend Becky! She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 30 and lost her courageous fight at the age of 36. I made her a promise to be a part of creating a world without breast cancer, and I have every intention to make that promise a reality. I’m Carolyn and I am More Than Pink.

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Lisa Healey – My Family

My immediate family has logged more than 30 3-Day walks, but this year’s 3-Day took on a whole new meaning when my sister, Jill, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of Komen, she was diagnosed early, which also helped to make the early stages of her journey a little bit easier. Jill still has a long road ahead, but I’m hoping with the research that Komen continues to fund, a cure will be found very soon. I’m Lisa and I am More Than Pink.

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Lauren Rectenwal – My Mom
I am walking this weekend to honor my mom’s strength and determination throughout her battle. My mom is my best friend and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Cancer sucks! I’m Lauren and I am More Than Pink.

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Todd Wallin – My Wife

I walk in honor of my best friend and wife, Kay, who is also a 15-year survivor. I also walk for the future: for my daughter and granddaughter and all of you! I’m Todd and I am More Than Pink.

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LeAnn Poirier – My Children

I walk in honor of my children for the sixth year in a row, in the hopes they will NEVER have to fight breast cancer. I walk for those who cannot and for those who have lost their battle against breast cancer. I honor and admire all women and men for their fight and determination to never give up. I’m LeAnn and I am More Than Pink.

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Melissa Dickhausen – Ceremony Host

I walk because it is the one thing I can do to help make a difference. I have watched too many of my friends and co-workers battle breast cancer and have lost too many amazing women to it. By walking, I’ve been able to spread awareness about breast cancer beyond just my family and friends, which has led to earlier diagnoses and quicker starts to treatments. And that’s why I continue to walk. I’m Melissa, I am More Than Pink… and I’m honored to welcome you to the 2017 Twin Cities 3-Day!

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Meet Lisa Partner, 3-Day Walker- and Breast Cancer Survivor

June is National Cancer Survivor Month, and is an excellent reminder of the strength, power and optimism we see from survivors on the 3-Day, and in all our own lives.

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We’d like to introduce you to Lisa Partner, a 3-Dayer and training walk leader from the Powered by Optimism team in San Diego. Lisa is a 12-year metastatic breast cancer survivor who has raised more than $23,000 for the 3-Day since her first walk in 2007.

 

Lisa found a lump in her breast when her daughter was only three months old, and after many doctors’ visits, tests and more, was finally diagnosed in early 2005. Her daughter was only 18 months old. From her initial discovery to her diagnosis, she admits that “cancer never really was in my thought process,” but it soon became a part of her everyday life.

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A few months after her first surgery, Lisa explains “It was found that my cancer had spread to a single rib on the right side of my body. I was then restaged as metastatic. Due to restaging I will be on Herceptin indefinitely. After pondering my thoughts for a few months, I decided to have my right breast and ovaries removed.”

That initial reconstruction did not go smoothly, but Lisa has since seen more success with following reconstruction surgeries. Through it all, she has remained strong for herself and her family. Marianne Masterson, San Diego 3-Day coach, has sung Lisa’s praises for that immeasurable strength.

“Not only has Lisa confronted the trials associated with surgery and treatment, but also the stark odds that her daughter may be growing up without a mother. Lisa’s attitude was to do everything possible to stay alive to ensure this didn’t happen.”

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When she was able, Lisa joined the 3-Day in 2007, and since then has become an active participant, partaking in the Survivor Circle in 2010 and 2015, which she said was a “highly emotional” Experience. When talking about how being a survivor has affected her 3-Day experience, she explained,

“This is going to sound silly, but the walkers make me feel like a rock star. Funny, right?  Survivors are looked at as heroes, even though I don’t feel like one.  […]  Just the fact that so many people join together for a single cause is astounding.”

That feeling of community includes walker stalkers and other San Diego locals, who Lisa says are some of her favorite parts of the walk each year.

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“It is unique in that there are so many people coming together for a singular cause. And our community support here in San Diego is bar none!  We have the best city!”

Marianne summed it up best when she said, “Lisa is as dedicated to the cause as she is dedicated to living. She fully embraces living in the present and to me embodies everything the 3-Day represents!”

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If you want to make a difference for a breast cancer survivor, or help someone battling breast cancer in your own life, Lisa says it’s very simple; just be present.

“Be available to listen, offer a positive attitude, and offer to do grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking meals.  Anything so that the person can focus on getting well.”

That is something Lisa focuses on every day. We are honored to have her in our 3-Day family during Cancer Survivor Month, and always.

 

 

A 3-Day Family Affair: Mother’s Day with Heather Morse

Some moms will spend this Mother’s Day weekend at brunch or the spa, on a vacation with their families, or even by simply taking the day to sleep in and relax. For others, including mother and 3-Dayer Heather Morse, this Sunday will mean a town-wide canning event to raise money for her long-time 3-Day team “Cup Crusaders.” Luckily, Heather wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Joined by her family, including three sons aged 16 to 29, Heather will once again be supporting the 3-Day this year, and that includes on Mother’s Day.

Being a mom has shaped much of Heather’s experience with the 3-Day family, including speaking at 3-Day camp in San Diego last year.

“My sons didn’t know I was doing it until that night, but I thought it was important for them to see. I wanted them to see what I was capable of. I wanted them to see the inspiration, and the hope and why it was so important to me.”

That was evident in her speech, where she broke out her 3-Day journey into steps. She walks her initial 8,000 steps for her boys, because they come first in her life. The following steps are for all the other children’s parents who have the disease and everyone with loved ones who are fighting.

“I wanted it to be more impactful and inspirational, but put a little humor in it. I even talked about lunch where you laugh and cry and talk with people. You can feel alone when you have this diagnosis, but ever since I’ve done the 3-Day I’ve had an outlet and a support group to not feel so alone.”

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Her first breast cancer diagnosis came before her involvement with the 3-Day, but once she was re-diagnosed, Heather realized it was something she had to do. She started off by crewing, and then joined a team to walk those 60 miles. After the first few years, her youngest son joined the Youth Corps to support her and last year, all three of her sons walked side-by-side with her as she continues to fight Stage IV breast cancer.

That diagnosis was the original reason she became a part of the 3-Day, because she wanted to meet others also battling Stage IV. She was looking for a “little hope” from a new support system, and the one she found has also become a support group for her boys.

“It has made me feel so proud, and I was so happy that they were getting an outlet as well. It makes me happy for them to see so many cancer survivors, because it gives them hope.”

20170509_122911Hope and passion are something Heather and her family have in spades, as is evidenced by their increasing involvement in the cause. This involvement begins, and continues, with fundraising.

Though her family was involved with her fundraising efforts “since day one,” that fundraising has grown and evolved over the years. In addition to her annual Mother’s Day canning event, Heather and her team also fundraise on their personal social media channels, at local restaurants, and with a motorcycle barbecue.

“We do a motorcycle ride every year where people pay to be part of a guided motorcycle ride, and then there is also a whole BBQ with live music and vendors. We’ve done it for a few years so almost everything is donated, and we raised around $3,500 last year. Then we had a few local companies do a $1,000 match as well, so we end up making even more for our team!”

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The key, she says, is to look professional, and take your fundraising as seriously as possible.

“You need to have posters and signs and dress in pink and present yourself well. Really try to look as legitimate as possible!”

It is the fundraising aspect that makes the 3-Day truly unique in Heather’s eyes.

“It’s amazing the people that you meet and how they touch your lives,” she says. “This raises so much wonderful money, and so much awareness for Stage IV. When you do the fundraising, you meet a lot of people. You touch a lot of people, and they touch you. You learn their stories! And then on the 3-Day you become a family.”

Morse is, of course, lucky to always have her own family on event with her. This is what she is looking forward to most for 2017; seeing her sons walk and captain the Youth Corps again. She can’t wait to watch them succeed along with her friends and breast cancer survivors.

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These wins, and positive successes, are part of what keeps her going year after year.

“The biggest thing in the world, and one of the ways you survive, is keeping your psychological part of your body healthy.  If you keep your mind healthy, that helps keep your body healthy. Being positive and keeping busy and active, I think plays a direct role in your physical health.”

That’s why you’ll see Heather out and moving with her family this weekend, and this coming 3-Day.