When a submission email for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® blog came in from Lisa C., I was immediately hooked by her subject line: “At Mile 1, I found my BFF.” Lisa, who is walking in the Komen 3-Day this year in San Diego, wrote, “I love surfing around on the 3-Day® website and have been inspired by the banners that read such things as: At Mile 20, I Found My Commitment; At Mile 34, I Found My Inspiration; At Mile 60, I Found My Strength, etc. This got me to thinking about what I found along the miles of my own 3-Day journey. The first thing that came to mind was: At Mile 1, I Found My BFF.”
In 2011, a friend approached Lisa about participating in the 3-Day and she agreed without hesitation. “I immediately said yes, [but not] because I knew anyone with breast cancer. I said yes because I love a challenge. I signed up right away.”
The friend who had recruited Lisa ultimately decided not to walk, but that didn’t stop Lisa from charging forward. “I threw myself into fundraising and training. I was a constant visitor to the Connections [Message Board] for the Twin Cities 3-Day. I was asking questions left and right and receiving responses. Finally, someone asked if I wanted to join Team Girlapalooza. It turns out that there were several lone walkers joining this team for various reasons that year.”
Team Girlapalooza met up early on Day 1 of the Twin Cities 3-Day, and after the Opening Ceremony, they started walking together. That’s where Lisa met a fellow Palooza, Marli.
Lisa describes their first meeting: “Have you ever met someone and it seems like you knew them forever? That’s how it was for me [and Marli]. Within the first mile, we found ourselves walking side-by-side, at the same pace. We began chatting.” They learned about each other’s lives, jobs, homes and families as they walked. Nothing like 60 miles to allow you to cover every topic under the sun!
Lisa also learned that Marli is quite camera-happy. “She was constantly stopping to take pictures of or with various landmarks, sunrises, sunsets, pit stops, fellow walkers, crew and safety personnel. By the end of the walk, I just had to hold out my hand for her camera. I just knew when she wanted a picture. She taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey, which was great because I am the type of person who would have put my head down and just plowed through.”
By Day 3, Lisa and Marli were as tight as could be, and were saddened to have to part ways (Lisa would head back to Wisconsin, Marli would be going home to Arizona). They agreed to walk the following year in Washington, D.C.—the home of Team Girlapalooza. “We kept in touch with each other via Facebook and a year later we found ourselves in D.C. We met a few days early and got in some sightseeing (yes we walked about 20 miles before the 60-mile walk!). During our trip we laughed at the same things, finished each other’s sentences and tripped over the same cracks in the sidewalk. We often found ourselves saying things like ‘I was just going to say that’ or ‘I was just thinking that!’” Lisa says they got so involved with talking and catching up that they missed seeing the White House and had to double back to take pictures.
It was around that time that Lisa found out about a friend’s breast cancer diagnosis. “I no longer was walking for myself but to honor Nancy’s struggle and determination to beat this disease. Knowing someone with breast cancer has made me much more aware of the struggles of others.”
Lisa and her 3-Day bestie Marli met again for the 2013 3-Day in Seattle but sadly, Lisa was unable to walk because of a broken foot. “I felt like I had failed. Marli was there to support me the entire time. She convinced me that I wasn’t quitting. I posted online that you know you are a 3-Dayer when you are laying in a hotel room on a comfy bed eating pizza but you really want to be eating mac and cheese and sleeping on the ground in a pink tent.”
Lisa, Marli and other Girlapalooza teammates will be reuniting for the 3-Day in San Diego later this year, and they both look forward to reconnecting and continuing their adventure.
Lisa wrapped up her story with a final thought: “So, for all of you first time walkers out there, know this: the Susan G. Komen 3-Day will change you in ways you never imagined. At Mile 1, I met my BFF.”
What have you found on the miles of the 3-Day? Tell us in comments!