Meet Carley Cummings, Twin City 3-Dayer

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“She was a light that shined so bright that the light still remains even though she is gone.”

That’s how Carley Cummings, team captain of Twin Cities 3-Day team “Live Like Laurie,” describes her late mother.

Carley, her sisters Anna and Liz, as well as her best friend Beth have collectively walked in more than 20 3-Days in the Twin Cities in honor of Laurie, and they don’t plan on stopping!

IMG_0301.JPG “The walk has given us a way to cope. Knowing that we can continue fighting my mom’s war by helping to end breast cancer helps us a lot. The walk has given us purpose and has helped us to be strong.”

Much of that strength comes from her mom. Laurie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 when she was only 38 years old. After a double mastectomy and seven years in remission, the cancer came back in her bones. The cancer then eventually spread all over her body and into her brain. However, with three young children and a loving husband, she refused to give up.

Laurie lived with Stage 4 cancer for five more years.

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Carley says, “She never let the cancer define who she was. She smiled, danced, and laughed through the pain and the long days of chemo and radiation rounds. To say she fought hard is an understatement.”

Laurie had an amazing doctor and was constantly blessed with new treatments and support from family and friends that kept her going.

She also continued to be a part of the 3-Day, walking for 10 years in total. She walked her first 3-Day shortly after her 2002 diagnosis, when Carley was just in kindergarten, and made the 3-Day a part of her whole family’s lives. She even walked one year with a back brace, and just a few months after she got her hip replaced. Carley was able to walk side-by-side with her mom in Laurie’s final 3-Day.

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Later, in 2014, Carley and Anna were hesitant to walk because Laurie’s health had rapidly declined, but she encouraged them to walk without her. Just a few hours after crossing the finish line of the walk, they and their family held their mom’s hands as she took her last breath. Carley truly believes Laurie held on long enough for them to finish.

“Even when my mom was dying, she was still filled with so much life. She was passionate about life and put all her energy into living in the moment. She left us with the most amazing memories. My mom was one of kind. She did more for us in the time we had with her than most moms do for their kids in a lifetime. Her love still gets me through each day.”

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After her passing Carley and her team re-named their group “Live Like Laurie,” in her honor. They continue to walk together, supported by friends and family, and wear a photo of Laurie on their backs as they take on those 60 miles year after year.

“Walking with my sisters and having my dad cheer us on along the route is amazing. We are constantly supporting one another and encouraging one another throughout every mile. I don’t think that I could do the walk without my sisters. They help me to finish strong.”

They also help each other train, and fundraise as a team by sending out letters every year to family and friends and selling custom designed t-shirts. This past summer, they also organized a donation garage sale, and all the money they made was put towards their 3-Day fundraising. These creative ideas have helped them meet their goals each year, and return to their 3-Day family side by side.

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“The 3-Day is an emotional roller-coaster for me. Those three days are filled with tears, laughter, and conversations that move you. We are lucky enough to have friends and family cheer along the way which helps me out a lot. Everyone we meet along the way cheers us on as well and makes us feel so loved.”

Carley also feels the love of her mom as she walks. And whenever the trail gets tough, it’s the memory of Laurie that keeps her going.

“I keep walking because I can’t walk away. I promised my mom I’d fight to find a cure. Just because my mom lost her battle doesn’t mean this war is over. I walk so others don’t have to go through the pain that my family and I have had to endure. I will keep walking for a future free of all cancer.”

We will continue to walk alongside you, Carley.

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Susan G. Komen 2017 Twin Cities 3-Day Wrap Up

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On Friday morning of our Twin Cities 3-Day, we began our 60-mile journey at the Southdale Mall in Edina. This historic spot was actually the location of the original Mall of America, and it was the perfect place to welcome both local and out-of-town walkers to the 3-Day.

The day started with perfect walking temperatures as our 3-Dayers arrived at the Disco Boobie Diner at Pit Stop 1. Already with 2.8 miles behind them, the walkers danced and boogied with their first taste of grahamwiches and 3-Day crew love.

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Pit Stop 2, at mile 6.8, was right along the water at Utley Park. Fittingly, the theme for the pit stop was Lake Minitata, and walkers could stop to “fish” for bras, or pose with floaties along the crew-created dock.

Lunch took place at Loring Park after 11.7 miles on the day, before our walkers made their way through more beautiful views at Father Hennepin Bluffs and B.F. Nelson Parks. The day ended on the University of Minnesota campus, before walkers were bussed to our picturesque camp at Harvest Park.

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Camp was a celebratory affair on Friday night as walkers relaxed in the Bank of America massage chairs, picked up their mail and sweet treats from home, and cheered on the top fundraisers (team, individual and crew) and award winners for the Twin Cities. Then, it was off to their pretty pink tents for a good night’s rest.

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A throwback photo from Jody’s Couch in year’s past

Day Two started off sunny and warm, and our walkers made great time coming into Pit One at Thunder Bay Park for a quick 3.2 miles. From there, they walked by the iconic Jody’s Couch, and saw love and support from the local community.

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From there, the walkers enjoyed time in Spooner, Acorn and Central Parks as they walked the next 8 miles (for a total of 11.2) to arrive at lunch! This lunch was hopping thanks to a fiesta theme, complete with salsa music, maracas, and lots of space to spread out and relax on the Mohawk Flooring pink mats. Walkers ate, relaxed, and even practiced yoga before heading back out on the route.

Just after lunch, there was an extra festive community cheering section led by the Boobettes, who danced and posed alongside walkers.

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Grab & Go B at mile 14.2 was coffee and barista themed, which gave walkers that extra “java boost” to carry them through Vadnais Park and onto to the Treasure Ye Chest pirates at Pit 4. From there, they only had a few miles left before arriving back at camp, having completed 22.6 miles on Saturday!

Saturday night was Friends & Family night at camp, so walkers got to spend some time with their loved ones. They played putt-putt golf and got chair massages at the Bank of America tent, listened to local musicians as well as speeches by Susan G. Komen researchers, and even had a dance party! They also met our amazing Twin Cities Youth Corps Crew, who received a standing ovation from walkers after providing lots of support and cheers all weekend long.

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Day 3 promised to be the sunniest and warmest of the weekend, so our walkers got right to work first thing in the morning. They reached Pit Stop 1 at Casey Lake Park in record time, and had already checked 3.5 miles off their list for the day!

From there, they passed Maplewood Middle School at mile 5.8 before breezing into lunch at the Conway Recreation Center. There was plenty of room to stretch out and relax in the shade, as well as a playground and even a fountain play area at lunch, making it a fun stop for walkers, as well as some of the community who came out to cheer them on. There was plenty to cheer for, as there were only 7 miles left to go before reaching the finish line!

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After lunch, walkers made their way through Indian Mounds Park, which provided plenty of beautiful views and awesome photo opportunities. Pit Stop 3 at Mile 14.3 especially had gorgeous views of St. Paul spread out below. After that, it was all down hill to Closing Ceremony at Harriet Island.

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It was a victorious final few miles for our walkers as they reached the finish area, and that feeling of accomplishment carried on through Closing Ceremony. Our 400 walkers and 175 crew members in the Twin Cities raised $1.1 million.

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However, their journey does not end here, and is never truly done, as was evidenced in our closing ceremony. We are all still working, and walking, towards Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.

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As we hugged and celebrated and danced in the sun, one message rang loud and clear; that though our feet may ache, our spirit and dedication will live forever; through aches, and pain, and blisters. WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, Twin Cities. We are so very proud of each and every one of you, and cannot thank you enough for each of the 60 miles you walked this past weekend.

If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2018, sign up now at The3Day.org/Register.

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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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