The 3-Day becomes like a family for many in our community, bringing people from all walks of life together in the fight for a world without breast cancer. Some even bring their own personal family and friends along with them to the 3-Day. When the 3-Day family becomes one with your own, magical and amazing memories are made.
If you need any inspiration to invite your family to join your 3-Day team this year, you can look no further than Melissa L. and Team Independent in Dallas/Fort Worth. Their team of family members and supporters is the perfect example of incorporating your own motivation and family love into your 3-Day journey.
Everyone from her daughter Alex and her husband David to nieces, her sister-in-law, and her nephew have all joined Melissa on Team Independent over the years. In fact, Alex has continued to walk while attending college, graduate school, and having multiple children. Melissa’s nephew Becket was a Youth Corps member who is looking forward to walking his first 3-Day this year. To say the 3-Day has become a family affair for Melissa is quite the understatement!
After years of walking and crewing with her family, Melissa is full of tips, tricks and memories to help you make the most of your own 3-Day experience. Whether you walk with friends, family or solo, she is a well of information. We’ll let her take it from here…
How did you first find your way to the 3-Day family?
I initially heard about the 3-Day back in 2004 on a radio commercial. I was five years from my diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer and my daughter Alex was in high school then.
However, we didn’t fully jump into the Pink Bubble until 2007. Alex was in college and my husband was our “walker stalker.” My husband is an avid cyclist and saw the Route Safety Crew riding their bikes, which got him interested. He jumped onto Route Safety in 2008! He enjoyed being part of the crew and couldn’t understand why I hadn’t joined the 3-Day crew yet, too. So, in 2010, I joined him on Route Safety with the provision that he would walk with us in 2011. I have to say that Route Safety was great fun, but it was so much harder than being a walker for me! So, David walked in 2011 for the first time and he has been a walker ever since!
We always walk in Dallas/Fort Worth. We love supporting our hometown and hosting out-of-town team members!
What are your tips for walking and participating with your own family?
- Know everyone’s pace and capabilities and use the buddy system with teenagers. Empower everyone to stick to their pace and avoid injury both on training walks and on the event.
- At the 3-Day, make a schedule to meet for meals or activities, so more experienced walkers can help and encourage the new walkers.
- Make fun shirts and pink bling! Matchy-matchy is the way to go! Be “family proud.” 😊
- Train together. Training walks are a great way to unplug and spend time together. It’s amazing how much you can learn about nieces and nephews when you leave electronics at home!
What are some of your best memories from the 3-Day?
Being a long-term part of the 3-Day family, I was asked to speak at the camp show in 2017 and David also spoke at the Opening Ceremony that year. We were both proud to take an active role in sharing our story with our pink family.
Then in 2018, my husband and I walked with our daughter and teenage nieces. Our nephew was on Youth Corps in the same year. It was great to experience the 3-Day through their fresh eyes. We held up on Day 3 so we could all cross the finish line together! We were so proud of those teenagers!
That year was eventful, too! In 2018 we were evacuated from camp because of a severe thunderstorm. Since David and I are avid backpackers, we secured our tent before vacating and after the storms passed, we jumped back in our tent and it was warm and dry. It was seriously so impressive to watch the Susan G. Komen and event staff manage the crew and walkers to keep us safe and then to get us back to sleep before we had to walk on Day 3. Well done everyone!
In general, though, the best memories come from the friends we have made walking thousands of miles on training walks and on event.
What does “commitment” mean to you?
Commitment means standing strong with our pink family of survivors, co-survivors and the loving and dedicated family and friends of those who continue to fight for those we have lost. Commitment means no matter what else life brings our way — death of parents, serious illnesses, welcoming our son-in-law and then welcoming grandsons — we keep putting one foot in front of the other and we keep raising awareness and money to find the CURE!
What are your 2020 3-Day plans?
2020 once again finds David and I walking in Dallas/Fort Worth. Our daughter, Alex, will be a 20-mile walker as she will be giving birth to her second son before the event this year! Our nephew Beckett will be a first-time 3-Day walker this year and our youngest twin nephews are going to apply for Youth Corps! I’ve challenged myself to raise $12,000 this year. It’s a personal bold goal, but I think I can do it! Nothing can stop us!
You can join Melissa and Team Independent in Dallas/Fort Worth in November, or the rest of our 3-Day family at our other 2020 cities by signing up on our website!