2021 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Recap

The 2021 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day was two years in the making. With lots of planning and pivoting and Covid protocols and safety measures put into place, the Komen 3-Day family finally reunited in beautiful San Diego this past weekend! And what a beautiful and magical three days it was. Grateful and excited participants, volunteers and staff took over the city of San Diego after a two-year hiatus and picked up right where we left off in November of 2019.  

Day 1 

Friday morning was cool and hazy as walkers, filled with excitement, started to make their way into the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Thousands of people decked out in their pink outfits, pink accessories, and even pink masks eagerly gathered for the Opening Ceremony. The crowd was buzzing with elation and anticipation as the ceremony began, freely waving ribbons in the air. We heard from participants whose lives were affected by breast cancer, highlighting how Komen’s four pillars of research, care, community and action have played a role in their personal experience with breast cancer.

Our survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer led us out on the route to signal the start of our 60-mile journey together. A parade of pink took their first steps on the route, passing Dog Beach and continuing into Del Mar Village.

A tunnel of cheerleaders and walker stalkers greeted walkers as they passed by one of our favorite neighborhoods on the route! Their eyes widened as they passed through the pink-hued bubbles from the bubble machine and welled up as they felt the love from the Del Mar community. Passing through a huge arch of bright pink balloons with pink bras scattered around the building next door was one of the highlights of this spot along the route! 

Walkers then stopped for a quick snack at the second pit stop along Torrey Pines Beach, posing for photos on the lifeguard towers before heading up the infamous Torrey Pines Hill. At the bottom of the hill, walker stalkers cheered boisterously and held signs with words of encouragement. Walkers certainly earned their lunch at Kellogg Park after trekking up the steep hill! 

One of the most beloved spots along the route is the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, where walkers watched the seals down below sunbathing on the rocks. Walkers stopped to pose for photos at this fan-favorite destination.  They made their way through the quaint neighborhood of Bird Rock, where a handful of shops and boutiques were handing out goodies. This was a perfect spot to take a break and admire the colorful mosaic benches scattered throughout the neighborhood!  

Later that day, walkers made their way past Fanuel Street Park and then into camp, buzzing with excitement to pitch their pink tents! Smiles across their faces emerged as they crossed off their first 20 miles. They ended the day with full stomachs from dinner and yummy desserts, some settling into camp overnight, and others heading off in shuttle buses to local hotels. They ended the day with full stomachs from dinner and yummy desserts, the perfectly sweet and tart lemon bars were a favorite among walkers!  

At camp, walkers picked up mail from friends and family as well as legacy pins they had earned. ecoATM provided highly coveted battery packs that walkers used to charge their phones at camp and Natura Bissé provided refreshing mists and samples to try throughout the weekend. There also was a ShopKomen tent with clothing and accessories available for purchase, our sweet mocktails and munchies, and massage chairs provided by Bank of America.

Our Friday night activities officially kicked off as the last walker made his way into camp and raised the flag. Afterwards, the Bingo Boyz took the stage for a night full of bingo, prizes, and lots of laughs! 

Day 2 

At our Bank of America Breakfast of Champions, we celebrated our top fundraisers and awarded them with donations toward their 2022 3-Day fundraising provided by Bank of America. These participants raised an astounding amount of money this year that is helping us get that much closer to a world without breast cancer. 

Afterwards, walkers headed onto the route for Day 2 as they passed over the bridges of Mission Bay and crossed into Ocean Beach, enjoying the views of the water as the sun peeked out from behind the morning marine layer. 

The San Diego bike cops grooved with and greeted walkers into the Sunset View Elementary pit stop before stopping to take photos at picturesque Sunset Cliffs! 

After walking along the stunning ocean-front streets of Sunset Cliffs, walkers made their way to lunch at Bonita Cove where a multitude of walker stalkers and furry friends cheered them on. At lunch our Halfway Celebration welcomed in walkers as they passed through the metallic silver and pink streamers. The DJ cranked up the tunes and gathered a large crowd of hyped-up walkers, crew and youth corps for the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Wobble.” 

They walked through the quaint town of Mission Beach and back along toward camp at Crown Point Shores. On the last mile of the route, the first-ever Memorial Mile featured photos of loved ones who had lost their battle with breast cancer. Quietly and solemnly, walkers made their way back to camp, many with a lump in their throat and tears on their face, as they walked by the beautiful photos of those for whom we walk.   

This led us into the Honor Ceremony later that night where we were reminded of why we walk, why we fundraise, and why we commit to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.Three participants shared their personal stories with us about the people who motivate and inspire them to walk. At the end of the ceremony, we turned to those beside us and told them about who we walk for, sharing stories, memories, and hugs with strangers who quickly became family. And then we solidified our commitment by lighting our candles for those we’ve lost.  

Day 3 

On the morning of Day 3, walkers woke up to one of the most beautiful orange and pink sunrises emerging over the water at Crown Point Shores as they lined up at the start line to finish their 60 miles. We all took a moment to appreciate the beauty that San Diego had to offer and be thankful for the weekend of sunny skies and warm weather. 40 miles down, and 20 to go. 

Walkers made their way through Mission Beach to the first pit stop at Belmont Park and passed by Sea World. After passing this San Diego staple, they walked to Old Town and conquered Juan Street Hill! We watched as a pair of walkers hiked up the hill and embraced each other at the top with tears filling their eyes. It was an emotional moment, witnessing the strength and determination that is within each of the people in the Pink Bubble.  

After the journey up Juan Street Hill, walkers had lunch at the beautiful Pioneer Park in Mission Hills. Our crew was there with the biggest smiles and made sure everyone received delicious wraps and salads to fuel them along the remainder of their walk. Walkers rested on Mohawk Flooring’s SmartCushions as they enjoyed their lunch under the shady trees before heading to the medical tent for massages! 

Walkers stopped at the Walgreens cheer station in Hillcrest for snacks, drinks, and were elated to be offered anti-inflammatory gel to help them on their final leg of the journey! 

At the final pit stop in Balboa Park, the crew was ready to serve up drinks and snacks as the sun beamed down in the afternoon. A cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow was there to welcome walkers into the “Pirates of the Cari-bosom” themed pit stop. Crew certainly dressed to impress for the theme, complete with everything from pirate hats to eye patches. One walker stalker and his talking pet parrot, Emmy, even came out to cheer everyone on! 

It was an emotional end as walkers crossed the finish line into Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. Many walkers Facetimed with friends and family who could not be there with them as they walked through to the end.  

Walkers and crew were excited to receive their finisher medal from our National Presenting Sponsor, Bank of America as a symbol of their incredible accomplishment. Our 2021 3-Day season ended with one of the most memorable Closing Ceremonies that honored survivors, walkers, crew, and Youth Corps. The crowd of pink was set against a stunning view of the downtown skyline on one side and palm trees lining the street on the other. Together, we continued the tradition of raising our shoes to salute breast cancer survivors and those living with breast cancer, filled with so much love for our 3-Day family and for those we walk in honor of. 

Our 2,300 walkers, 250 crew and 180 20-mile walkers celebrated as we recognized the incredible accomplishment of the $9.2 million raised in the fight against breast cancer!  
 
From the moment the event started on Friday morning, through the very last seconds of the Closing Ceremony on Sunday evening, we were surrounded by love, hope and kindness. There were endless moments of inspiration. And it was a constant reminder of the power of this incredible community.  
 
While we revel in the accomplishments of the 2021 San Diego 3-Day, we can’t help but look towards 2022 when we’ll have the opportunity to come together in New England, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego.  
 
Congratulations and thank you! 

Congratulations to the 2021 3-Day Nation Milestone Award Winner, Laura K.!

Please join us in congratulating our 2021 3-Day Nation Milestone Award Winner, Laura K! The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Milestone Award is given at each event to a participant who has an outstanding history of participation in the Komen 3-Day. Laura has been walking in the 3-Day since 2008 and has walked every year since, completing 16 3-Day walks.

Laura’s friend Kate told us about how genuinely giving she is saying, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Milestone Award than Laura for her contributions and commitment to the 3-Day. Laura owns her own business, is devoted to her family, especially her new granddaughter, and is active in her church. Somehow, with all that she does for her community and friends she finds time to fundraise and train for the 3-Day. Laura is caring, compassionate, funny, and generous. She inspires me and all who know her to be better people. I am so proud to have known Laura for the last 13 years and to have her as a member of the Connecticut Pink Warriors.”

Fellow 3-Day walker, Cynthia, also had very kind words to say about her friend stating, “Laura is one of the most dedicated to the cause people I know. She goes above and beyond with fundraising every year. We met in 2010 doing the Boston 3-Day and have been friends ever since, walking together during the 3-Days, training together, and visiting when we can! And boy, when she walks, she walks! She has done many 60-mile 3-Days over the years! I love training with her, along with our friendship!”

Laura’s friend, Sharyn says, “I met Laura a long time ago through my involvement with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. We have walked many 3-Day events together and Laura’s commitment to find the cures is huge. She has walked for the past 13 years totaling 16 walks and has raised over $100,000 and is still going strong. Dedication, commitment, drive, ambition, and making a difference are all words that describe Laura. I’m thrilled the Milestone Award was given to her this year.”

What was your inspiration to do your first 3-Day?

I believe that everyone needs to have something in their life that they are passionate about and that challenges themselves to become a better person. I feel that we need to give back in whatever we do.

When my two sons were younger, my husband and I were involved with coaching them on various recreational sports teams. Once they reached high school and the teams became more competitive, they needed “real” coaches. Since I was not needed as a coach anymore, I needed something new to redirect my energy to. I saw an ad on TV about the 3-Day, so I went to one of the local meetings where one of the coaches shared her story about her diagnosis with breast cancer while she was in college. It inspired me, and I then found what I was meant to be doing. The friends I met over the years through the Pink Bubble have become an important part of my life. I ended up meeting Kate  at this meeting, and we became fast friends. We challenged each other as we trained together.

At first this adventure was to challenge myself to walk 60 miles in three days. Then, I began to think about how many peoples’ lives were impacted by raising money for breast cancer research and awareness. That became a very rewarding adventure.

What has brought you back to the 3-Day year after year?

In a world where we are so busy, the 3-Day Pink Bubble has allowed me to really think about what is important in life. The 3-Day is always a weekend spent with wonderful friends where you become emotional, physically, and mentally exhausted as you are all fighting for a common cause. I know that may sound strange, but it is a humbling experience and recharges the soul. We all know of someone who has been impacted by breast cancer and can see the toll that it has on them and their family. I always remember the sign from past 3-Day events that says, “Walking 60 miles is easier than breast cancer treatments.”

What is the secret to your 3-Day fundraising success?

I am very fortunate to have a career in financial planning where I am surrounded by people who are charitable, and they all know of someone who has had breast cancer. They too want to help make a difference in this world, so their donations always add up. Part of my job is to help them achieve their financial goals, and it is sad to see their dreams impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis. Even though they are not walking with me physically, their stories and memories of their loved ones are with me each step of the way.

What is your best advice to anyone walking the 3-Day?

Have fun, meet as many people as you can, share your stories, train for the walk, and believe that you can make a difference.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I love to garden and make the world a prettier place.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day?

I believe the strides Komen has been making to raise breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection is really making a difference in the lives of those impacted. I am still hopeful that the cures are found for this disease during my lifetime. I have a 6-month-old granddaughter, and I hope she never has to experience hearing that someone she loves is diagnosed with breast cancer. The 3-Day is making a difference and building a community that I am so glad that I can be a part of!

Join us in congratulating Laura! THANK YOU for your contributions to the Komen 3-Day over the last 13 years!

Jason C. shows us how to extend GRACE to others and ourselves, on the 3-Day and beyond

Continuing our “Word of the Year” series, this month Jason C. shares his story, and how he has found GRACE in the 3-Day community.

Tell me about your 3-Day experience.

I have walked in a bunch of 3-Days! Every one of them as special as the one before. My 20th walk was New England in 2019. Over the years, I have walked in San Francisco, Michigan, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Dallas/Fort Worth multiple times. I signed up for 3-Day Nation 2021.

What is your 2021 word of the year?

My word of the year is GRACE.

Why is that your word of the year?

The reason I chose the word grace for my word of the year is very simple. I am working on giving more grace as I know we are all dealing with difficult times. Sometimes strangers or loved ones need a moment of grace when something comes out wrong, or a situation becomes intense. I am working on being patient and giving grace. This includes with myself. I have found that can be a very difficult one to manage. We all need to allow ourselves a bit of grace to help manage these difficult times with our heads held high.

Why do you participate in the 3-Day?

I started participating in the 3-Day when my late sister Sharla was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt like it was an impactful way for me to help support the breast cancer community locally and support the funding for research to eradicate this disease. My surviving sister Shelva and I lost Sharla back in 2010, after four courageous years battling for her life and her kids. The pain and burden is still in my heart, knowing that there are other families who are going through a similar difficult time. I promised myself I would keep this goal and intention in my life until I see it through. My late husband Gregory Trogstad, my mother, my sister and brother-in-law and so many of our other family members all keep walking until there is a cure.

What does the 3-Day family mean to you?

The 3-Day family is my family. We have a 3-Day team that has been as large as 22 walkers and crew, and as small as just two of us (due to work/life happenings). Every walk has been a blessing as I get to spend three days in the pink bubble with friends and family, all of us loving and supporting each other. Our 3-Day team was named after my sister, but it was just the beginning. Our family has blossomed and developed into multi-city and multi-state team members. The best part is that on every walk we meet new family members and share stories, laughter, and tears. It makes it worth all the effort. We are so blessed to have one another, and for that I am so grateful.  

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

Grace is a word that connects in my mind to the 3-Day on the difficult days. There are so many trying times in the world currently. And for those having to go through chemo and radiation during a pandemic, I cannot imagine the frustration. Allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling, and learning/growing from it, is grace. Have grace with yourself to accept that you are doing your very best for today, and know you will get back up and do your very best again tomorrow.

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

TAKE… IT… ALL… IN. From the crazy fundraisers to the occasional training walks when you really aren’t in the mood to do one. Those times are a chance to laugh and have community with a likeminded person focused on helping in some small/big way to change the world. Being able to share my sister’s story and her courage helps me by being able to share about what an amazing person she was, but also how lucky I am to have had her as a sister. Sharing the memories keep her close to my heart and my mind.

We want to know: How are you showing GRACE to others and yourself, on the 3-Day and in your life? Check back next month for the next blog post in our “Word of the Year” series.