Congratulations to the 2019 Twin Cities 3-Day Milestone Award Winner, Cynthia Geye

Please join us in congratulating our 2019 Twin Cities Milestone Award Winner; Cynthia Geye. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a walker or crew member who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. At the Twin Cities 3-Day camp show, we presented Cynthia with this special honor.

Before she left home for the 3-Day this year, we talked to Cynthia about what the 3-Day means to her. She is walking this year with her granddaughter Callie Powers, and walking for Jen, Callie’s mom and Cindy’s daughter. When Callie was born, Cindy had just completed treatment and she told the family that Callie would be her reason to live and keep fighting. Now, Callie is walking with Cindy for the first time, in Jen’s honor.

Jen says that Cindy is “a very positive person, always looking on the bright side, laughing and is totally goofy. She has made this walk her passion and will not stop until we eradicate this disease.”

We are honored to share Cindy’s story, in her own words, below…

Back in 2005, one year after surviving 3 bouts of metastatic breast cancer, my oldest daughter suggested, no, she insisted that we do something big in the fight against breast cancer. She had seen an ad for the Susan G. Komen 3-day Breast Cancer walks. She used every coercive method she could to convince me to walk. I, of course, came up with every imaginable excuse as to why I should NOT walk. But, walk we did (even convinced my younger daughter to join us).

Since then, I have walked every year and every city multiple times. Sometimes with my daughters and many times as a solo walker. This year, I am walking with my granddaughter. This is my 27th walk and each walk is so memorable. With every walk, I meet new friends. We share our stories, our tears, our hopes for the future. We laugh, we cry, and we support one another. Each walk is 3 days full of kindness, caring and commitment.

When I first started walking, there was a song titled “Why We Walk.” The refrain says it all: “We walk to remember. We walk to celebrate…. For those who are gone and those who live on. We honor them all and that’s why we walk.”

You see, God has given me amazing health these last 20+ years and I can use it to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. The blisters, aches and pains are nothing compared to what every cancer patient goes through when we are battling this disease.

As I am a fast walker, I have been told many times that it is not how fast you walk, but, rather, enjoying the 3-Day journey. This is about all the people, not just the walkers.

It’s all the people that come out to cheer us on. The bald women with their signs that say “Thank you. You’re walking for me.”  To know that we are helping them have a second chance at life. Every survivor, no matter where they live, deserve the best possible care.

It’s about the little girls holding their signs that say, “Please find a cure before I grow up.”  To have the color pink be more than the symbol for breast cancer, but rather the color for hair ribbons and prom dresses.

This is not about what you endure while walking – the blisters, aches and pains – it is so much more.  It is what you walk away with – the memories that will last a lifetime.  While my own cancer journey was very scary, not knowing if I would survive, it has ended up as a true gift.  It has brought me many blessings, a deeper faith and a richer perspective on life.  It has brought me to the 3-Day.

2019 Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day Wrap-Up

Our first 3-Day of 2019 was one we’ll remember for a long time to come! From the sunshine, to the comfort of our new hotel camp, to the many memories that our Michigan 3-Dayers made over the course of the weekend. The community support was unparalleled, the Youth Corps sprinkled their magic throughout the journey, and our Crew provided support and expertise every step of the way. To say we’re going to look back on this weekend with a smile is quite an understatement.

And it all started with our updated Opening Ceremony on Friday morning! We gathered inside one of our host hotels and highlighted several people in the Michigan community who have committed so much of their heart and soul to Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal over the years. We also recognized survivors and those who live with metastatic breast cancer. These strong women and men led our walkers out of the hall and into the sun, kicking off our Michigan 3-Day in style.

The walk began through our new 3-Day pink tunnel of fun, sponsored by Amgen, and out onto the sidewalks and trails of Novi. Walkers were greeted at pit stop 1 by the much-loved BOOBees and even got Panera bagels for the perfect kick-off to their journey. From there, they passed by our first local cheering station and headed to pit stop 2 at Meadowbrook Elementary School. Cheerleaders, grahamwiches and some very important stretching carried them through to lunch at the 11.8 mile mark.

Lunch was back at Meadowbrook Elementary, and walkers relaxed in the shade (Thank you, Mohawk, for those cool new shade tents!) before tackling the second half of their day in Novi. The Novi Senior Center at pit stop 3 was a high point of the afternoon, as walkers loved the support and cheering from the local seniors. A quick stop in Rotary Park ended the day, and then our last walker returned to the hotel to raise our 3-Day flag and complete Day One.

We celebrated those first 19.5 miles with a new game of 3-Day bingo and practiced the dance our participants would break out at lunch at the Halfway Point. Then it was time for some much-needed sleep (and showers!) to rest up for Day Two.

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful with our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, where we honored our top Michigan fundraisers and teams (including two new awards: the “Small But Mighty Team” Award and “Rookie of the Year” Award), as well as our Michigan Milestone and Local Impact winner. We were so happy to celebrate their contributions!

From there, walkers headed through Northville, spending time in local parks and on shady trails. Once they arrived in Plymouth, the energy hit a peak thanks to the amazing community cheering station at Kellogg Park…complete with the pink fountain! Our walkers stretched out in the grass, danced under the sun and soaked in all the excitement of Plymouth.

That enthusiasm continued into lunch, where we had a special new halfway celebration! Photo ops, flash dance mobs, and all kinds of goodies made this lunch extra special. We were halfway to 60 miles, after all!

After lunch, walkers trekked through Northville and back into Novi before ending back home at our hotel camp. Those Bank of America massage chairs and the famous 3-Day mac and cheese were waiting to welcome them! After our last walkers came safely back home, we had a special evening Honor Ceremony, where we heard some beautiful, moving stories from local Michigan participants and the Youth Corps about why they have chosen to commit 3 days, and how Susan G. Komen has affected their lives. Before the night concluded, we invited all participants to leave a memory in our Honor Garden, and to visit the Remembrance room. It was a solemn but inspiring reminder of how much of a difference everyone makes by being a part of the 3-Day. We are excited to bring this emotional, inspiring experience to all seven cities this year.

Sunday, our final day in Michigan, began with a quick bus ride into Livonia, where our walkers started their final day of walking. That walk included stepping through Livonia, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, along with a stop at the picturesque and shady York Park for lunch. Our 3-Day Crew pulled out all the stops for the final day of walking, from the “Eat, Sleep, Cure. We are here to Serve.” camp services team, to our out of this world Crew at pit stop 3 and beyond. The day ended, as it has in the past few years, at the Ford World Headquarters.

Walkers passed underneath the Amgen pink tunnel and across the finish line, hands held, and smiles turned up to the sunshine. For hours, there were almost 50 volunteers from our presenting sponsor, Bank of America, there to cheer our walkers in as they conquered 60 miles in unity and strength. Our last walker arrived home and raised the flag to help us kick off our new Closing Ceremony in style. With our last walker starting our celebration, our survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led the rest of our Michigan family into the Closing Ceremony. We celebrated all that we have accomplished in Michigan, thanked those who helped us along the way, and acknowledged the great deeds done over the last 3 days. The 2019 Michigan 3-Day raised $1.2 million in the fight against breast cancer!

Our weekend ended with a dance party in the afternoon sun, and many hugs and smiles shared with all our 400 walkers and 200 crew. Our first 3-Day of 2019 is complete, but we have so much more work to do! Twin Cities, we will see you soon…

The A to Z’s of 3-Day Teambuilding

No one ever walks alone on the 3-Day. Even walkers who start off solo end up being welcomed into new groups and paired with other solo walkers, so they are supported and loved every step of their 60-mile journey. The other, larger reason for that is we have so many amazing 3-Day teams on all our walks. Big or small, teams keep each other moving and motivated all weekend long.

So, if one of your goals for the year is to grow your team, or you’re having trouble getting some long-time walkers to come join you once again, we want to help! Here are our A to Z Tips for building your team, recruiting new team members, and making sure you’re surrounded by all your favorite people on the 3-Day this year.

  • ASK: We are starting off with the obvious one here because it truly can be something people struggle with. You won’t know if someone is interested in joining your team unless you ask them! Don’t be afraid! The worst thing that could happen would be that they say “no.” And then you’re no worse off than when you started.
  • Be a teammate as well as a team leader. Every team needs a captain, but never forget that you’re part of the team too! Take time to focus on your own 3-Day journey so that you can fully enjoy this process.

  • Co-Captains (Lean on them!): Coach Sharyn says that as a Team Captain of her team, “A String of Pearls,” she makes a point of making sure everyone knows who their teammates are. She also introduces her co-captains and leans on them when she is most busy. When everyone knows each other, everyone always has a good source of information and a support system.
  • Delegate: You can’t be expected to do all the teambuilding all on your own! Work with your other teammates, or even ask your local coaches to help find people who might need a team.
  • Encourage bonding between your existing teammates. This will create friendships that are sure to last long past the 3-Day weekend. This will also increase the reach your teambuilding efforts have.
  • Family and friends: They’re the most likely to want to join you on a 60-mile walk so if you haven’t asked them yet, now is the time! Also, remember that just because you’ve asked them in the past, it doesn’t mean their answer is final. It might not have been a good year for them, or they might have been previously unavailable. 2019 could be their year!
  • Go slow: Don’t feel the need to recruit 10 new team members in a single week! It will only leave you frustrated. Take it slow and grow your team as you can.
  • Have a plan: Give yourself small deadlines and tasks that you can easily work into your existing schedule. Making a long-term plan will make it easier to hit your teambuilding deadlines.

  • Include Crew and 20-Mile walkers in your teambuilding efforts, too! Coach Tisho loves recruiting ALL members of the 3-Day family to her teams, so she wants to remind other teambuilders not to forget the Crew and 20-Milers.
  • Just keep at it! It’s all about the follow-up and the reminders. In a busy world, staying in touch with potential teammates will keep the 3-Day top of mind for them.
  • Know the details about the event so you can share with your potential teammates. Talk to your coaches and find out where the ceremonies and camp are as well as any details that are available. It might just spark more interest to get someone registered!
  • Leverage every contact that you have. You never know who might want to join the 3-Day! Your tax accountant could be a breast cancer survivor or maybe your kid’s swim team coach loves long distance walks. Everyone could benefit from a little 3-Day love in their lives ❤️

  • Make teams within a team! If your team gets larger, break your people up so they can focus on what they do best. Have the super fundraisers on call to help other teammates or tap those with big social circles to recruit new team members.
  • Never stop sharing your passion about the 3-Day. It might just be the inspiration someone needs to join you. Coach Gayla swears by passion and enthusiasm to help you achieve all your 3-Day goals 😊
  • Organize happy hours and social events with friends, then talk to them about ways they can be part of the 3-Day. As a 3-Day walker, crew member, 20-mile walker, volunteer, private cheer station, or even as your walker stalker. Even if you don’t add any new team members, you’ll have a fun night out with your pals.

  • Personal connections are great, but you can also take recommendations from other people! Your best friend’s mom might want to walk, or your neighbor’s sister. Expand your reach!
  • Questions are a great way to start a teambuilding meeting! Coach Gina says that for a “welcome meeting” she asks people to give one word that describes their leadership or one word that describes what the 3-Day means to everyone at the meeting.
  • Rock on 🤘 Coach Gayla recommends painting rocks with words like #Commit3Days and The3Day.org and leaving them along trails and sidewalks as you do your next training walk. Add your team name or Facebook group so other walkers can find you! People will see them as they pass by and you might get a new team member you never even knew.

  • Social media is a simple way to stay connected, especially if you have team members in other cities. Create a team Facebook Page (Coach Liz loves this idea) and keep in touch all year long.
  • Training walks are key for making lasting connections. Coach Gayla says that for every training walk you host; you should ask your teammates to bring someone who hasn’t walked the 3-Day before.
  • Understand that “not right now” doesn’t mean “no.” Keep people on your radar for future years or other opportunities to support the 3-Day in the future.
  • Vacations are fun, so make it about that! Reach out to your out-of-town friends and family and invite them to spend a long weekend with you on the 3-Day.

  • “Why” is important! Coach Gina encourages her team captains to find out the reasons why their team joined the 3-Day. What is your “why” for being part of the 3-Day?
  • X-plain your mission and the difference the event has made in your lives and the lives of others. Showing the impact that the 3-Day has not only had on your community, but your own life, will encourage people to join your mission.
  • Yearly Events help make a big difference in your team’s fundraising efforts and are also a rallying cry for new members to join. Coach Sharyn’s team throws a big fundraiser on the four days of the Memorial Day Weekend every year and invites her whole team (now up to 26 people!) to participate if they’re able.
  • Zero to 10 Questions. Coach Liz asks every knew team member to provide a question or two that they want to know about their fellow teammates. Then she starts a chain email so everyone can get to know each other and find common bonds. It’s all about making new friends and expanding your 3-Day family 😊

What are the best ways you’ve found to recruit new team members? Tell us in the comments!