We Crew for MaMa Tutu: Meet Ken and Kris Kauker

The sign says it all!

Eight family members. More than 30 events. Walkers, crew, youth corps, walker stalkers. The Kauker and Lawrie families have the 3-Day running through their veins. And that includes Ken and Kris Kauker. Most Philadelphia 3-Dayers know them as the TuTu Brothers and remember their fun outfits and wide smiles as they ride by while on the Safety Crew.

They are just a small part of a true family movement to support the 3-Day’s mission, in memory of their mother, Julie Kauker (MaMa TuTu), who passed away from inflammatory breast cancer in 2011. With Mother’s Day this Sunday, Ken and Kris are giving us a deeper look at their family’s dedication to the 3-Day, and the love for their parents that started it all.

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Meet the Kauker/Lawrie family (TuTu family) members…

Our family of five was always a close family. We did everything together: family camping on the weekends, participating and watching sporting events, vacations to local destinations, working behind-the-scene at our local community theatre and even performing as a colonial family at local historic sites.

Thankfully, many of those things we still do. And yes, still as a family. At the head of the family were our parents. Mom and Dad (MaMa and PaPa TuTu) were involved with everything the family did. No one family member would ever end up being the only one. This goes for everything we do. If one of us is involved, we are all involved.

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And then in 2006, everything changed…

When our Mom was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, she wasn’t the only one getting ready for the battle. We were all involved with every aspect of the treatments, doctor’s visits, hospital stays and everything else that goes along with it. She didn’t go anywhere alone. Someone was always there taking notes, holding all the paperwork, asking all the questions and anything else we could do to make things a little easier.

Things moved quickly through chemo treatments, surgeries, and radiation treatments. We describe the days after a diagnosis like riding a roller coaster. There were the days of climbing the hills. There were the days of flying down the hill. There were the days of screaming around curves. There were days of being turned upside down. There were days when all we could do is hold on and scream in fear. But, like with all rollercoasters, the ride came to an end.

With the help of countless doctors and countless nurses, Mom was given a clean bill of health and the road to recovery was complete. And just like riding a rollercoaster, we laughed and were joyous that the ride was over.

2016 Philadelphia 3Day

From there, the family began to move forward…

With everything behind us, it was a radio commercial that sparked the realization to pay it forward and the medium in which to do it. The commercial was for the Philadelphia 3-Day that would be taking place in October. It was this commercial that pushed our family into the realm of the 3-Day family.

And they never looked back…

Our 3-Day family has been with us since 2008. They’ve been there when we needed them and when we didn’t know we needed them. They were there when our Mom passed away and again 10 months later when our Dad passed away. They provided the light down the dark passages that cancer and losing someone forces you to go down. Every city that we’ve crewed has welcomed all of us with loving, open arms and made us a part of their family.

The Philadelphia 3-Day may be our home event, but when it comes down to it, the Crew is a part of every walk, no matter what city it takes place in.

That means our family is always part of the 3-Day, no matter where we are.

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Spread the love this Mother’s Day to the special women in your own life! You can share a personalized love note with your mom this Mother’s Day and Susan G. Komen will then share one with a mother facing breast cancer. komen.org/withlovexoxo

Congratulations to the 2017 Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award Winner

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Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Seattle Milestone Award Winner; Erin Havens. 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 Seattle 3-Day camp show, we presented Erin with this special honor.

To get to know Erin better, we asked the 3-Day community for stories about her, and the response was glowing all around!

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Participant Veronica Claudio says, “I have been blessed to know Erin since I was very young, as she was one of my mom’s dearest friends. Our families spent lots of time together back in the day – from family camping trips, poker nights, and holidays. When my mom, Claudia was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was only 7 years old. I remember Erin was often at our house helping my mom or accompanying her to chemo appointments. Or sometimes, just singing karaoke. They both loved to do that together!

“In 2005, my mom had planned to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, and Erin was one of the first team members of CC’s Crewzers. Just before the walk, my mom’s cancer came back. My momma is a true fighter, and while still determined to complete the walk, she realized the only way she could do was with the help of a wheelchair, and teammates like Erin who took turns pushing her for parts of the 60 miles. I have watched Erin become an incredible advocate for a cure to breast cancer and breast cancer awareness through her tireless efforts for Komen. I believe losing Claudia, my momma, and her good friend, is a big part of her determination to fight breast cancer through her volunteering and raising money.

I have cheered Erin on in her trademark pink tutu at cheering stations, handed her countless Lil’ Smokies, and have hugged and cried with her at nearly every 3-Day walk she has participated in. I lost my beautiful momma to metastatic breast cancer when I was 15 years old and Erin has remained a part of mine and my family’s life for many years. I am honored and proud to call her a friend and an “extra mom.” I chose to walk after many years of cheering and supporting the walkers and I was honored that Erin also decided to walk with my dad and I as part of CC’s Crewzers.”

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Veronica continues, “I was blessed to have 15 years with my beautiful mom and am honored to walk on the team she started in 2005 with Erin. I don’t know anyone that has given so generously of her time, talents, and resources to this cause and I am so grateful and privileged to be able to have had Erin as a part of my life.”

If all those wonderful stories weren’t enough, participant Tiffany Davenport also raves about Erin!

“I’m so happy for Erin!  She absolutely deserves to be honored for her dedication, passion and commitment to the cause! I got to work with Erin on the Youth Corps last year and I am so thankful! She is so much fun and brings such light and energy to the event!”

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Marnie Hayes kept the love-fest going!

“I first met Erin at a getting started meeting about 9 years ago, when I first joined the 3-Day family. Erin has been very involved in the 3-Day the entire time I have been part of the three-day. Not only does she have connection with the little Smokey guys…”GO SMOKIES!” her daughter was also part of the Youth Corps. I have gotten to know Erin as both a walker and a crew member as I was honored to be part of the Youth Corps with her last year. It is very apparent in Erin’s dedication that she has a true passion for the cause.”

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Those are some seriously kind words! Now let’s hear about the 3-Day and Erin’s story in her own words. When we asked her these questions, she didn’t know she would soon be selected as our winner!

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

My dear friend Claudia was fighting breast cancer and asked me to walk with her. I told her I would donate, but didn’t think walking 60 miles sounded like something I wanted to do. She asked me to please attend an informational meeting, and of course I signed up that night!

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

I love the survivors who give me hope, the walkers who share stories, the crew who keeps me safe and well fed, the strangers along the way who lift me up and remind me how important it is to keep fundraising for the cures, and the opportunity to share the memories of my friend who lost her battle with this disease.

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

Asking often and making sure that everyone knows WHY this walk is so personal to me. Every fundraising post on Facebook should tell people YOUR why.

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

Enjoy every minute! Connect with other walkers and share stories, reach out to single walkers, high-five all the people at cheering stations, eat all the grahamwiches, and be sure to stick around at night to hear the Youth Corps share their stories during the camp show.

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What are fun facts about you?

I hate spiders but am fascinated by bats; one of my toes was crushed by a randomly falling steel pole 5 months before the 3-Day; I sneeze no less than 5 times in a row every time; people think I’m insane for doing 21 3-Day events, but I assure them I’m not alone!

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

Don’t get your Advil PM mixed with your regular Advil, if you lose a toenail you can get a fake one, wearing a tutu results in fewer blisters, and the people you meet on the walk become family.

Philly Fashionistas: Fun 3-Day Costumes and Fashion

One of the joys of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is admiring the scenery – the peaks of mountains rising around you, a beautifully wooded trail, the reflection of a serene lake in the early morning. You’ll also admire the fashion choices of your fellow participants; from the lunch Crew decked out in 50’s diner garb, to the walkers in front of you with blinking foam tubes on their heads. Everywhere you go on the 3-Day, there’s something to see. We caught up with a few fashionistas in Philadelphia this year and asked them to tell us about their stylish 3-Day attire. In the spirit of Halloween and dressing up, we hope their creativity and flair for costumes and fashion is as fun for you as it is for us.

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Alaine, of the Philly Camp Services Crew, caught our attention with her sparkly wings, pink camo pants, star glasses, and multi layered tutu. Alaine said she found most of the pieces of her costume at Party City, and her inspiration started thanks to a Camp Services theme. “Except for the t-shirt (which I had), our theme for Camp Services was Fairy Tale Princesses, so I picked Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell wears green – so I chose to be Pinkerbell, but Pinkerbell is a tomboy, so that explains my pink cargo camo shorts.” We think Pinkerbell is a great look for you, Alaine! Alaine says she will be at the 3-Day every year until we find a cure.

Alaine, or Pinkerbell

Alaine, or Pinkerbell

If you’ve been at the 3-Day this year, you’ll probably recognize William from Seattle. William wears a walking kilt and long, knee high boots. William’s boots, from the Westco Shoe company, are known as a Highliner boot. “The key on wearing these for such a long walk is the socks, which make a big difference.” The kilt is Seattle–made and called a utilikilt. “On the 3-Day walk I wear three different styles of kilts, because it’s incredibly comfortable for walking in. I couldn’t see wearing sneakers with the kilt so I got the boots to go with the kilt.” While William is German, he graduated from a Scottish school.  Other than looking awesome, William credits his walking style as being a great fundraising tool when he trains in his outfit. “This outfit actually raises a lot more awareness. People come up to me and start chatting with me about what I’m wearing, and I have a card that I hand out to people. On one side it has the reason why I’m walking, and the other side has links to my fundraising pages.”

William rocks the Utilikilt and Highlander Boots

William rocks the Utilikilt and Highlander Boots

Some people find inspiration for their outfits from their kids. The Washington D.C.-based Lady Jugs found their fashion inspiration through their children’s swim team, the Lady Bugs. “We had to be red and black,” they laughed. The Lady Jugs bought their tutus, made their own shirts and hats, and purchased black stickers to add spots to all of their ensembles. The stickers were originally felt dots, but were re-evaluated after “one got eaten by my dog,” notes a member of the team. The Lady Jugs wear different outfits every day, and even decorate their tents with lady bug dots. What’s one advantage of wearing red and black in a sea of pink? “We can find each other! We stand out and people remember us.”

Lookin' great, Lady Jugs!

Lookin’ great, Lady Jugs!

We have to say hats off to the team Power of Pink from Havertown, whose feathery contraptions lit up the balmy gray skies in Philly. It initially took 45 minutes to craft the first iteration, and then once they had a prototype, they said creating the feathered hats was fast. “We made a little template, glued feathers to it, and then started sticking feathers through the hats. We wanted to go big this year! This is our take on the fascinators from England. Duchess Kate was our inspiration,” a team member said. Do they have any advice for those DIYing their own fashion for the 3-Day? “Make sure it’s comfortable! You can’t have anything poking you or else it will be a long 60 miles.” Like the Lady Jugs, the Power of Pink team also loves that a unique look sets you apart from the crowd. “We had no problem finding anybody anywhere. We can see the hat, even if there are hundreds of people at the pit stop!”

The power of pink!

The power of pink!

Another team that caught our eye were the Jersey Shoe Breast Friends. While their shell bras were purchased, they hand-crafted their tee-shirts, clipping off little sections and adding beads for a delightful fringe. They also glued starfish and shells to their pink caps, and like the Lady Jugs, they also had a different outfit for each day.

Breast Friends

Breast Friends

No matter your fashion choice for the 3-Day, we always recommend that you spend some time training and moving in your outfit. While a frilly, feathered frock may look amazing, you’ll want to make sure you’ll feel amazing, too, as you boldly take on an incredible 60-mile journey. We love seeing the fun looks of our 3-Day family, but we know that no matter what, they’ll always look great to us; because courage,  kindness, and hope are always in style.