Bev D. finds ways to be GRATEFUL, both in her life and for her Pink Bubble family

Next up in our “Word of the Year” series, this month Bev D. shares how she has been able to remain GRATEFUL, despite whatever challenges the past year has presented. She joined the 3-Day in 2011 to walk it once, and 15 3-Days latershe’s still here! The spirit of the pink bubble family keeps her coming back. 

Tell me about your 3-Day experience. 
I’ve participated in so many events since 2011, it’s hard to count…I think I am at 15! 

What is your 2021 word of the year?  
My word of the year is GRATEFUL.  

Why is that your word of the year? 
Even though 2020 was an awful year for the world, I am grateful because I was still able to spend time with my “pod” of friends and family. We hiked and went to the beach, and we were grateful we were able to do things like that. ALSO, my daughter had a baby girl! Baby Pearl Rhiannon was born on Thanksgiving Day. They spent the whole pregnancy quarantined and everyone is healthy and beautiful. She is my first grandchild and I am enormously grateful for her.  

Why do you participate in the 3-Day? 
My mom had breast cancer, which was the reason I walked the first year. I honestly thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: “one and done” as they say (LOL) but like many of us, that is NEVER the case. The pink bubble became my family and forever friends and I love you all!

What does the 3-Day family mean to you? 
The 3-Day family is the family I chose. They mean the world to me! I feel safe and loved and part of a special community that the outside world can never understand unless they join “the bubble.”

How does your word of the year connect to the 3-Day? 
I am grateful not only for the things in my life, but for my 3-Day family, too. My 3-Day friends are in my bubble that I stay in and travel with. I have so many friends near and far that I call family who I know I can always depend on to be there! They have enriched my life ten-fold.   

If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be? 
I am so grateful for my pink family that is close by, for always being here. I am grateful for the pink family from afar, for keeping us connected to each other in so many ways. We’ve had virtual walks, sent cards to each other, and have always been there to offer prayers when needed.  

My symbol for my mom is a ladybug and there have been so many times when someone randomly will send me a text to tell me that they saw my “mom” in their office, in the park, on the sidewalk, in their house. And it always comes at a time when I just needed to hear it!

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

The Four Words That Changed My Life

By Beth B.

Beth B. at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®

I never get tired of telling my story. Four words. 

It all started on October 26, 2011 —10 days after my 30th high school reunion. I went for my annual exam. Ten minutes into the visit, my gynecologist said, “You have a lump.” Four words. Thirty minutes later, I was having a mammogram a month before my regularly scheduled one and an ultrasound. An hour later, the technician took me into a room and put me on the phone with my doctor, who said, “We found something suspicious.” Four words. They told me to find a surgeon and schedule a biopsy as soon as possible. Six days later, I had a biopsy, and on November 4, 2011, my world turned upside down. I was 48 years old when I heard “You have breast cancer.” Four words.  

Part of my story involves how and where I received my diagnosis. I am a lobbyist for a financial services company, and the day after my biopsy, I traveled to Washington, D.C., on a business trip. As every cancer patient knows, the thing that you crave the most is normalcy. While I didn’t yet know that I was a cancer patient, I craved normalcy. The thought of sitting at home and waiting for the results was unbearable to me. I was in a meeting room with about 75 people when my cellphone started ringing, and I could see it was the surgeon’s office. I made it out to the lobby where the diagnosis was delivered. It was as if all the air had left the building. All I wanted to do was to get back to my room to call my Mom. I held it together until she picked up the phone, and I burst into tears. I felt like a child who falls off her bike and doesn’t cry until she gets home and runs straight into her mother’s arms. 

I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2B. I had a lumpectomy a week before Thanksgiving in 2011. My margins were not clean, and I had node involvement. I chose to have a single mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, and I have never regretted that decision. The surgery was four days before Christmas. I had eight rounds of chemo. I lost all of my hair and started reconstruction during chemo. I finished treatment on May 2, 2012 and had reconstructive surgery later that summer with the final surgery that fall. I am currently taking Letrozole after five years of Tamoxifen. I still have neuropathy in my feet, but it is gone from my hands. Now my four words are “You are a survivor.” 

I have met the most incredible people on this journey. I am proud to be a survivor, and I feel blessed every day. My fellow survivor thrivers are the bravest people I have ever met. They give me hope and courage every day. I hit the 9-year survivorship mark last November. Some days, it feels like yesterday, and other days, it feels like a lifetime ago. Some days, I scratch and claw my way through, but most days I just feel incredibly lucky. 

We must continue to fund the research that will eventually eradicate this monster. Together we can, and will, lift the veil on this horrendous disease. Together, we are stronger than cancer. Life changes in an instant. I really have no other words. I will NEVER stop telling my story and I will NEVER stop fighting for a cure. 

Here are my final four words to you — GO LIVE YOUR LIFE! 

A Love Letter to the 3-Day Family From the Susan G. Komen® Staff

Dear 3-Day Family,

When we think of the word love, we think of you. As everyone is experiencing life in different ways these days, one thing that never falters is the compassion, commitment and community that is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. This Valentine’s Day, we, a few members of the Susan G. Komen staff, want to show you our love and our thanks for all that you do!

Paula Schneider and Daughters

One of my favorite moments each year is the opportunity to enter the Pink Bubble of the 3-Day community. I am constantly impressed by the passion each of you have for this cause and by the commitment you have for each other. On behalf of my colleagues and everyone touched by breast cancer, I want to send you all our love today and to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Paula Schneider, President and CEO, Susan G. Komen

Victoria Wolodzko (left)

Our mission to save lives from breast cancer is fueled by the passion of our communityand no one can set the world on fire like our 3-Day community! Every minute I’ve spent on the route has filled my heart in so many ways, and I hope on this Valentine’s Day, each of yours is filled to the brim knowing that what you do makes a difference to so many. Thank you for making our mission possible, driving research forward, supporting patients today, and fighting for a better tomorrow. Sending you love today, and always.

Victoria Wolodzko, SVP, Mission, Susan G. Komen

Lori Maris

May you feel the joy and pure unconditional love of the Komen 3-Day pink bubble on this Valentine’s Day!

XOXO,

Lori Maris, SVP, Community Development & Operations, Susan G. Komen

Stephanie Myers (left)

I could not be prouder to be a part of this 3-Day community. You all have shown me vulnerable moments that have, in turn, become inspiring stories that will stay with me for my lifetime. You are the most generous, thoughtful, bad-to-the-bone cancer-fighters out there, and I am better for knowing you. The 3-Day community never ceases to amaze me in the very best wayshappy Valentine’s Day to all of you.
Love,
Stephanie Myers, Sr. Manager 3-Day, Susan G. Komen

Kari Bodell

The 3-Day community is the very model of camaraderie, friendship and love, and the Komen team is sending you all of our affection this Valentine’s Day. We wish we could deliver chocolates and roses to each and every one of you! Thank you for sharing your stories, sharing your hearts, and sharing your passion for ending breast cancer with us. We love you!

Kari Bodell, VP, Development Programs Strategy, Susan G. Komen

Carrie Stovall (right)

This Valentine’s Day, I want to thank each and every one of you for continuing to spread love to the world during this challenging time. I have witnessed this over the last year with the community supporting each other, lifting each other up, and providing love when we have been apart. I know you have given this to me as you have inspired me and made me laugh regularly. Thank you for your continued passion for saving the lives of our loved ones, friends, and members of our community facing breast cancer. Let’s keep spreading our love to the world!    

With lots of love for the Pink Bubble,
Carrie Stovall, VP Events, Susan G. Komen

From our hearts to yours this Valentine’s Day, and always, thank you for all you do to support women and men affected by breast cancer and for your help in ending breast cancer forever.

XOXO,

Your friends at Susan G. Komen