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


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.


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.”


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.”





A Family United: Julie G. and the “Trekkers for Tudy’s Tatas”


I Walk For: My Daughter. My Sister. My Niece. Myself.

On the 3-Day, we hear that people are walking with and for family members all the time. They walk alongside them, in their memory, and with their family cheering from the sidelines. What we don’t always see, though, is four sisters all walking together, alongside their daughters and nieces. All as one, walking for seven years!

That’s the story of Julie G. and her “Trekkers for Tudy’s Tatas” team in Dallas/FortWorth. In 2017, she walked with her sisters Kim, Lori and Chris, along with her daughter Lindsey and her niece Morgan.


Julie’s sister Chris first brought the family into the 3-Day bubble, walking for two years as a part of another team. Then, in 2010, Julie’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately, all three sisters signed up for the next 3-Day walk, and have walked ever since in her honor.

Julie says they have all walked together simply for the “sheer joy it brings our mother. She is so humbled by the fact that we fundraise, train and walk all in her name.”


Since that first year, their team has also added Julie’s own daughter Lindsey, and her niece.

“Walking with family members is by far the most special part of the walk. It started out with just my sisters and then it has grown to my daughter and my niece. We are a family of 18 including husbands, sons and other nieces, and to see that whole group standing with matching t-shirts along the route screaming our names and holding up posters bring tears to my eyes.

It really is a family effort. My husband and son are so supportive when it comes time to train and when the walk actual takes place. They are there every day driving around making sure to hit every cheering station along the route. But the most special part of the walk is the finish line and seeing my mother there. She knows it’s for her. We include her in the closing ceremony because she is the reason we walk.”

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Each member of the family approaches the walk differently, although they all swear by the 16-week training program. They try to train together on weekends, and Julie recommends early morning walks for quality time and cooler weather. Also, Julie says to be sure to get your walking shoes EARLY so you can break them in. All of this will have you ready to go when 3-Day weekend arrives and let you just take time to enjoy your 60-mile walk.

That is what Julie says she and her family loves most about the 3-Day: all the small moments of happiness that happen throughout the walk. Her daughter is a fan of “the silly outfits teams wear as well as the signs that husbands hold up along the way,” while Julie can’t get enough of our puppy supporters. The rest of the family loves seeing all the pit stop and cheering station themes, and they will even be hosting their own cupcake-themed cheering station this year.


It’s a family affair from start to finish for Julie and her family, but it always comes back to the matriarch.

“My mother can’t put into words what it means to have us walk year after year. She knows it’s a sacrifice for us financially and physically and that proves to her more and more how much we love her and how proud we are to call her our mom.”

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Melissa and David: 3-Day Power Spouses

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Today is Spouse’s Day, and we are lucky to have many spouses, along with significant others of all kinds, walk with us on the 3-Day. Their love and support mirrors the love and support that surround the pink bubble on our 60-mile journey. It’s inspiring to say the least! One such couple is David and Melissa from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day.

They have been together for a decade, and now walk the 3-Day with their daughter Alex, plus four other couples! Together, they have walked and crewed and made themselves a staple in the “powerful pink bubble of love” that is the 3-Day.

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But it all started with Melissa. She is a breast cancer survivor (20 years now, and counting!), and walked her first 3-Day in 2007 along with her daughter. At the time, David was their walker stalker, but soon he was walking and crewing alongside them.

Melissa says that even now, “Doing the 3-Day as a couple is an extraordinary way to do the event! Sharing something that is so important keeps us focused on our shared values and we are there for each other when training is tough, motivation wanes, or simply to enjoy each other’s company. We both have full time careers that take up a lot of time and the world is a busy place. Training walks are ‛our time’ to shut down phones and just be together, talk about life, and plan for the future. We now walk long walks year-round.

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“When we are on event, we have the advantage of having our partner and best friend on site to share the experience, to take care of each other, to share that extra dessert in the evening or to bring each other coffee in the morning!”

That is the case whether you’re walking or crewing! Melissa and David have done it all, supporting each other when David didn’t think 60 miles was a big deal (Melissa still reminds him of this) or when Melissa took a tumble as part of bike safety crew (David helped her get back up and out onto the route). Those long miles together bring them closer every year.

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Melissa says that no matter how you get involved, the 3-Day is a great way to connect with your loved ones.

“The 3-Day brings us back to the sense of community where we are all in it together and if anyone is in need, then we have all failed — so the spirit of being there for each other is present in everything we do throughout the weekend. David and I live our marriage like this as much as possible, but life today can make us all a bit self-centered. The 3-Day always brings a wonderful experiential reminder of how powerful kindness really can be when someone is tired, hurting, losing motivation or simply walking with sadness and grief. There is no substitute for a kind word and a helping hand.”

Since they have started participating together, David has also spoken at the Opening Ceremony in Melissa’s honor, and Melissa spoke at the Camp Show in 2017. They are also training walk leaders and members of the Komen Advisory Council. The 3-Day has become a part of their life and their marriage, and they encourage other couples to also participate together.

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“I would say that any couple who are considering walking together should jump in. There is plenty of space for alone time and together time and time with your friends on the event. There are only upsides to walking with your partner — or even walking while a partner is on the crew. Making the 3-Day a family affair helps in every aspect of the event.”

Do you know a 3-Day couple, or are you part of one? Tell us how the 3-Day has brought you and your spouse closer in the comments!