I Walk for Mary Beth: Linda Harris’ 3-Day Story

“We meet people every day; it is important to pay attention to the ones who will make an impact. We all have a warrior in us, but I know my fight started with Mary Beth. She was the one.”

Linda H. began walking the 3-Day in 2012, and since then has joined our pink family everywhere from Michigan to San Diego to the Twin Cities this past year. She has walked and crewed and has supported Susan G. Komen’s mission throughout the years even when she’s not on one of our 3-Day weekends. This commitment didn’t happen by accident.

In 2012, she never thought she’d be able to walk 60 miles. But then she met Mary Beth L., and everything changed. Linda walks for Mary Beth, and for all of those in her life who have felt the cruel impact of breast cancer. She will never quit. After honoring Mary Beth at our Twin Cities 3-Day this past August, Linda shared her full story with us.

How did you first come to join the 3-Day?

About 10 years ago I was sitting at my son’s football practice. I had become friendly with one of the moms, Mary Beth, through our sons. We had met years earlier, but we only really started to get to know each other through football. Then one day, I noticed this well put together woman had extremely ugly feet. Not necessarily ugly, but blisters and toenails missing!

“Excuse me, I have to ask: What is going on with your feet?!”

She laughed and said, “I just completed the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.”

My heart immediately began to race! That was something that I had always wanted to do. She began to tell me that she had walked for years but had been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, so this past walk was especially meaningful to her.

All I could say was, “You just walked 60 miles AND you have cancer?”

I had always told myself that I was too busy or could never complete 60 miles in 3 days. This was the push I needed. I was meant to meet Mary Beth. I immediately went home and signed up. Over the course of training and fundraising we became extremely close. We shared our work obstacles, talked about our marriages and children all while she was undergoing surgeries, chemo, radiation and reconstruction. She had cancer but she always seemed to be helping me and taking care of others. Her smile, laughter and amazing outlook on life were contagious.

In 2012 we walked together in the Michigan 3-Day. It was absolutely life changing. The tears, laughter, pain and the emotional experience bonded us together FOREVER. After completing the walk, we both decided to crew together the next year.

And how did your and Mary Beth’s 3-Day journeys grow from there?

In early November 2012, I saw a post on Facebook from Mary Beth.

“Well, it looks like I am walking this year.”

I realized this was her way of telling us that the cancer was back. I jumped in my car to be by her side. She was extremely positive and always wanted to be strong for those who were around her. So, Mary Beth and I signed up to walk again, positive that we would walk together for years to come. We trained and spent time watching old movies and laughing. I remember so much laughing 😊

In retrospect, she was giving me her story to carry on what she had started.

My dear friend lost her battle with cancer on May 15, 2013, at the age of 39. She supported the Susan G. Komen organization until her dying breath. She was passionate about the cure and believed the research that this organization does will not only find a cure for breast cancer but pave the road to end all cancer. So, I will walk until I no longer am able to.

Mary Beth leaves behind a legacy of walkers who believe in her vision. Her amazing parents have supported me every year with encouragement and very generous donations. They have even donated to my teammates who were struggling to meet their goal.

In addition to Mary Beth, for whom do you walk?

I walk for my teammates and lifelong “Sisters in Walking Bonds” friends.

Andrea S.K., who has walked the 3-Day twice now. Karry C., who has walked with me four consecutive years and her beautiful daughter Lexi, who walked with us for the first time this year.

Colleen S. has also walked with me four times. She was diagnosed a few months prior to our San Diego walk last year, but she scheduled her radiation around the walk and didn’t let it stop her. I am proud to say she is now cancer-free!

I walk for my beautiful sister Lisa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is also cancer-free today. I walk for all those who cannot. There will be a day in our lifetime, a WORLD WITHOUT CANCER.

What are some of your fondest 3-Day memories from years past?

Walking with Mary Beth in 2012 and in 2015 with my best friend since kindergarten to support her mom, who had just been diagnosed. I flew to Dallas, and my husband and son went with me ❤ Her mom is now cancer-free! And then, of course in 2019, speaking to the 3-Day community about why I started walking for Mary Beth, and raising the flag in her honor.

As a long-time walker, do you have any training tips for new walkers?

Train outside (always!), and train at least 5 miles at a time. Strength training is key, too! It helps with breathing and muscle memory helps with hills.

Any tried and true fundraising tips?

Email your target contributor with the intention of just saying, “I’m walking!” Make it personal and ask if you may send them the link. If you ask instead of just sending, 99 times out of 100 they will ask for it.

What does the word “commitment” mean to you?

Commitment to me, it is a part of my heart. It’s not an obligation. It’s who I am.

3-Day Ways to Make the Most of a 3-Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend can seem like a bittersweet time because it means that summer is coming to a close. The weather is slowly changing, kids are going back to school…and the 3-Day is on the horizon! After two wonderful weekends in the Midwest in August, we are gearing up for our fall events and getting more excited by the day. With lots of preparing to do, you need to take advantage of every spare minute you have! Here are some simple ways to make the most of this upcoming long weekend, and any spare day you have before you get ready for your 60-mile weekend.

1-2-3 step your way through!

This one should be simple to check off your to do list: go for a walk! You have plenty of time to get team training in, take a solo walk or even grab your family to come with you. You can take a few shorter walks every day or go for a long walk on your extra weekend day. You can also check to see if there are any training walks already organized to join walkers in your area! These are a great way to make friends or grow your own team.

Connect with your teammates

We often share tips for building your 3-Day team, but don’t forget to take time to connect with your teammates once they agree to join you. You’ll have plenty of time to chat over your 60-mile journey or weekend of crewing, but before then, it helps to build a really strong team community. This is a deeply personal endeavor for many people, so organize a group breakfast or afternoon coffee meet-up and start a dialogue. Talk about your 3-Day journeys and remember what brought you all together in the first place. As fall weekends get busy, you’ll be able to look back on this time together and smile.

Fundraise on Facebook

Social media is a simple and low-maintenance approach to fundraising, and you can do it right from the comfort of your couch! Though you can use multiple avenues for fundraising (here are some more ideas!), you should definitely start on Facebook. Did you know that 3-Day participants who have a Facebook Fundraiser, on average, raise $500 more than participants without one? The power of this online fundraiser is a great reason to be active on Facebook!

With just a few clicks from your 3-Day Participant Center, you can set up your Facebook Fundraiser and start inviting all your family and friends today. Then, set up reminders as your 3-Day draws closer. Don’t let people forget!

Catch up on your research!

Since Labor Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial start of the fall season, we know that lots of 3-Dayers will be kicking their preparation into high gear starting in the next few days. To help prepare you for whatever your fall goals might be, we have some awesome blog posts to give you guidance:

We hope you all have an amazing few days planned, and we can’t wait to kick off our fall walks in New England next week!

2019 Twin Cities 3-Day Wrap-Up

The weekend could not have been brighter or more fun for our Twin Cities 3-Day. 400 walkers and 150 crew gathered together to honor our community and celebrate the start of an amazing 3 days. Our 60-Mile journey began with an emotional Opening Ceremony at our hotel camp. Local participants shared their stories, then our local survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led our walkers out into the sun and onto the route…

The walk began with time for photos and famous Minnesota sights in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and through Kenwood Park. The local community came out with cheer stations at William Berry and Lynnhurst Parks before lunch. Lunch was shady and relaxing thanks to the sunglasses from Amgen and bright pink mats and shade tents from Mohawk Flooring. Before they knew it, our walkers had already conquered 10 miles!

At Grab B, walkers could stop and take in the picturesque Minnehaha Falls and relax under some shady trees. It was there that we also met our Twin Cities Youth Corps team, who spread smiles and enthusiasm all weekend long!

Pit Stop 3 was a great selfie opportunity, thanks to crew fun, and then a few miles later, our walkers came home to the hotel camp. Down the pink carpet, and into our 3-Day Camp Main Street, walkers were reinvigorated thanks to the Bank of America massage chairs, sweet treats from Amgen Oncology, and a hearty evening meal. After dinner, we played a rousing game of 3-Day BINGO and ended Day One with lots of laughs.

Saturday began with our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, where we awarded our Top Fundraisers for Twin Cities, as well as honoring our Milestone and Local Impact Award Winners. It was the perfect way to start our Day 2, and we were excited to cheer on our walkers as they headed out into the sunlight.

The cheering and support continued all day long thanks to community support like the Susan G. Komen Minnesota Affiliate, who supported our walkers at Pit Stop 2. The excitement reached a peak at lunch at Central Park in Roseville. There we held our halfway celebration, as walkers were already 30 miles down in their weekend journey. There were extra photo opps and celebratory decorations, as well as a dance party led by Mark and our Youth Corps and Crew. It was the perfect way to start the second half of our day!

From there, walkers passed through the beautiful areas of Little Canada and White Bear Lake. The walk along the water, and underneath shady trees, helped make the sunny afternoon a comfortable and enjoyable one. There were plenty of cheering stations, and even free pink ice cream cones at Cup and Cone in White Bear Lake. The day ended with a bus pick-up from White Bear Lake Area Schools. Walkers took a bus back home to our hotel camp, and after our Day 2 final walker arrived, we were all united.

From there, we held our second Honor Ceremony, hearing stories from local participants and our Twin Cities Youth Corps. We raised our voices and our hearts together to remember why we walk, and why we will never give up. Everyone went to sleep on Saturday night with hearts full of love and excitement for our final day together.

Day 3 brought perfect walking weather, thanks to some evening rain the night before. Walkers made great time as they trekked through Falcon Heights and into St. Paul. Van Cleve and Como Regional Parks brought beautiful sights and easy steps as walkers made their way into lunch. By midday, they had already walked more than 11 miles!

Our afternoon was spent throughout St. Paul, including a stop at the Summit Overlook Park, which provided great views of the city and many a photo opportunity.

But soon enough the day, and the 60-mile walk, were over. Our walkers crossed the finish line in front of the Minnesota State Capital building, cheered on by friends and family. They received their Bank of America medals, and proudly wore them while they celebrated, took photos, and relaxed in our Finish Line Festival area. Then, our last walker came home, leading the crew and all our local survivors into the cheering crowd of our 3-Day participants.

There was much to celebrate! Our 400 Twin Cities walkers and 150 Crew raised an amazing $1.1 million this weekend in the fight against breast cancer! We danced under the sun, hand in hand, and ended the weekend with smiles all around. Thank you, Twin Cities, for yet another amazing 60-mile journey with us!