Cate E. knows first-hand you need PERSEVERANCE take on a challenge like the 3-Day

Continuing our “Word of the Year” series, this month Cate E. shares her experience, on the 3-Day and in life, of PERSEVERANCE. Cate first joined the 3-Day in 2009, but this year brings new resonance and new meaning for her as she faces her own breast cancer battle. 

Tell me about your 3-Day experience. 

I did my first walk in 2009 in Washington, D.C. and proceeded to walk the next two years in D.C. Then I switched to crew. I crewed in D.C. when the 3-Day was in that city, then switched to Philadelphia and then to New England, doing both the Philly event and New England event in 2019. I’ve served on several crew: gear & tent, grab & go, and sweep, but most often pit stop 3. I’ve been a crew captain multiple times over the years. 

What is your 2021 word of the year?   

Perseverance. 

Why is that your word of the year? 

I have had the honor of watching women and men on the 3-Day in various stages of survivorship. Whether they are a survivor or the family/friend of a survivor, these individuals are all still affected by the disease. Seeing their perseverance has given me the strength to fight my own battle with breast cancer. 

Why do you participate in the 3-Day? 

In January of 2009, I saw a commercial for the 3-Day. I sat on my couch and got teary over what I was seeing. I told my husband I wanted to go to a Get Started Meeting to learn about the 3-Day and sign up. At that point in my life, I felt so blessed and knew it was time to give back. I started participating in the 3-Day to honor my Grandmother Marion and my Great Aunt Eileen, who both died of breast cancer. In 2021 I will be participating to celebrate and honor myself as well. 

What does the 3-Day family mean to you? 

On the 3-Day, I have gotten to know some of the most thoughtful and generous people I have ever met. The friendships and bonds created on event are just as strong as those of blood relation (sometimes stronger). I have a core group of women who I have been on event with since the start. They were the ones I reached out to when I was first diagnosed. Their strength, support, and compassion, accompanied by some hilarity and hijinks, helped me cope with those first few days after hearing the word “cancer.” Their guidance and understanding are far beyond anything outside of our 3-Day bubble. I’m so lucky to have them in my life. 

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day? 

I think everyone on the 3-Day shows perseverance. From the walkers who are faced with blisters, heat, strains, sprains, and training, to the crew members who are setting up, breaking down, dealing with location challenges and supporting the walkers, to the staff who are juggling the demands of the towns, route challenges, the crews and the walkers—everyone on event shows a perseverance to succeed. This is doubly so for those who are also fighting cancer during the event. The perseverance of each and every individual working toward a world without breast cancer is what the 3-Day is all about. 

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be? 

Meeting you, talking to you, hearing about your journey and watching you succeed in your own way has been a blessing to me for the last 12 years. Hearing your words of encouragement, of thanks, of love, compassion and understanding have shown me that there are amazing people out there in the world. The knowledge that with a few keystrokes I could reach out and be surrounded by our big Pink Bubble and knowing that I can feel your love and be lifted by your support has given me courage and strength to fight my own battle. Thank you to each and every one of you who put yourselves out there year after year to find a cure. 

We want to know: What does PERSEVERANCE mean to you? Check back next month for the next blog post in our “Word of the Year” series. 

What the 3-Day Promise Means to Me

We walk because we must. 

We are strong because the journey demands it. 

Together in body and united in spirit,  

We lay down our footsteps for this generation and the next. 

This is our promise: A world without breast cancer. 

What the 3-Day Promise Means to Me

The 3-Day promise means a world without breast cancer, but this promise goes even deeper for everyone who joins the 3-Day journey. It means walking to finding a cure, honoring loved ones, and standing together united against breast cancer. We commit to the 3-Day promise each time we fundraise to support research and care for breast cancer warriors. We act upon the promise we made with each mile we walk alongside our 3-Day family. It is a promise we make to ourselves and every member of the Pink Bubble. So, we asked members of the team: what does the 3-Day promise mean to you? 

“Everything! The 3-Day promise is at the heart of everything we do here at Komen.

We walk because we must. We will never give up. We won’t stop. We will do whatever it takes.

We are strong because the journey demands it. We find strength in each other and ourselves.

Together in body and united in spirit. We are all one, bound forever by the same goal.

We lay down our footsteps for this generation and the next. We walk to help those who need it now and ensure our children and grandchildren have better lives.

This is our promise, a world without breast canver. This says it all. —Steph Myers

‟The 3-Day promise means making a personal commitment to raise funds and awareness to ensure Susan G. Komen can continue to fund research to find the cures and provide care and treatment options for those battling breast cancer today. My personal 3-Day promise also encompasses the connection and commitment I feel to encourage and support the members of this community. We’re truly all in this together with shared goals and dreams for a future without breast cancer!” —Staci Roos

‟When I first read and heard these words out loud during my first 3-Day event in 2018, I remember the overwhelming emotions I felt. I remember saying to myself ‘Oh my gosh, I am a survivor! I can help bring an end to breast cancer? I’m in!’” I will do my very best to raise money and will lay down endless footsteps to have a world without breast cancer. Walking is easy, fighting breast cancer is not! 

Last year, in 2020 when all the 3-Day events were postponed because of the pandemic, I thought about the 3-Day promise and its meaning. Breast cancer doesn’t pause because of a pandemic and neither does the spirit of the 3-Day. I made a promise to lay down my footsteps and walk 20 miles on every weekend there was a scheduled 3-Day event. The 3-Day promise was my mantra before, during and after each of my walks!  

As a survivor I know hearing ‘You have breast cancer’ are probably the scariest words I have ever heard. As a survivor I know the fight takes strength. As a survivor I have seen and felt the loss from this horrible disease. As a survivor, I will continue to lay down my footsteps for this generation and the next until we live in a world without breast cancer!” —Christine Jessen 

“I have the good fortune of being part of the behind-the-scenes team who puts the ceremonies together. Listening to the 3-Day promise is my favorite part of both Opening and Closing Ceremonies. It’s a moment that unifies our entire community as they join together saying those inspiring words. It’s a powerful start to the moving experience they’re about to have. And then it cements their three days of participation when we come back together on Sunday and say it all over again. We’re all different people by the end of the event, so those words take on a different meaning.” —Molly Fast

‟The 3-Day promise means we will never give up. We will fundraise and walk and crew as long as it takes to see breast cancer brought to an end.” —Tisho Jessop

We want to know what the 3-Day promise means to you! Share your story with us by using #The3Day on Instagram.

Bringing the 3-Day Tenets Alive Through Acts of Kindness

On the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, we create an atmosphere of love, acceptance and kindness. Some of us fondly call this the Pink Bubble. In the Pink Bubble, we live by a few simple tenets:

1. Be kind. 2. Have fun. 3. Make new friends. 4. No whining. 5. Give hugs and high fives freely. 6. Don’t be afraid to cry. and 7. We are all in this together.

We also try to carry those tenets into our regular lives when we leave a 3-Day event and travel back home.

Current times are making it difficult to make new friends and give hugs and high fives freely. But our first tenet is one that doesn’t cost anything, you can do it from the safety of your home and it comes naturally for many of our walkers and others throughout the country.

A few of our 3-Day walkers and crew members have shared how they are spreading acts of kindness to help their communities, bring smiles to people’s faces and spreading that Pink Bubble love.

Sandy K. (20-time Walker): “I am writing daily notes to medical and first/frontline responders, as well as senior housing patients. GirlsLoveMail’s Gina M. gets letters to breast cancer treatment patients. Many of us are doing a lot; perhaps some don’t know what to do. We have an army we can mobilize in so many ways. I am lost without my volunteer work opportunities right now…so this is how I course correct. Having a purpose is serving me well.”

Lynne M. (7-time Medical Crew): “In many ways 25 years of critical care nursing did not prepare me for what is happening now, but in the most important ways it did. My knowledge of isolation procedures, my experience treating patients, my compassion…these are the things that give me not only hope, but also give me comfort in this time of so much ‘fear of the unknown.’

As a hospital educator, one of my jobs is to make sure that EVERY person who may be exposed has the right PPE and knows how to use it. Right now, it is a BIG job. On the front lines, I see nurses helping each other more than ever before. I see ancillary departments stepping up to make sure that if the surge hits, we will be prepared. I see staff risking everything to be at the bedside of the dying patient who is not allowed to have any visitors.

As a 3-Day volunteer for many years I know what the bubble feels like. I feel that bubble at work these days and I am thankful.”

Sandee H. (1-time Walker): “I’m sewing fabric masks for senior retirement community…keeping residents and staff safe💕.”

Kathy P. (12-time Walker and 3-time Crew): “I’m making masks and scrub hats for my EMS and nursing coworkers. Any money people want to pay is being asked to be donated to my 3-Day fundraising this year.”

Jamie W. (2-time Walker and 3-time Crew): is a nurse in Texas who has decided to help on the front lines in New York.

Kathleen B. (9-time Walker and 8-time Crew): “I’m repurposing the chalk in my crew box and writing notes on the sidewalk to inspire others!”

Jacqueline B. (First-time Walker in 2020): “I’m making masks to donate and bracelets to put a smile on someone’s face. It keeps me busy and feels good. ❤”

Michele. (14-time Walker and 2-time Crew): An administrative assistant for the city of Cartersville, GA, Michele has been coming to work each day at the fire station to help support first responders.

Julie J. (23-time Walker and 2-time Crew): “Every morning I start the day singing a song with my morning coffee on Facebook live.”

Pala L. (35-time Walker): “Perhaps I can’t sew masks, but my husband, Tom, and I did find a way to help! We’ve joined with volunteers at Angels Wear Gowns to assemble (at home) these simple no-sew plastic gowns for workers needing extra protection caring for COVID patients. If you have scissors, a marker and some clips/clothespins, everything else is provided. Or perhaps you — or someone you know — may be able to donate supplies.”

What are you doing to spread kindness during these unprecedented times? Share in the comments below or on social media by tagging @The3Day on Facebook or Twitter and @Komen3Day on Instagram and using the hashtag #3DayTogether.