Siblings Side by Side: Meet Kathy and Chuck of Robb’s Ralliers at the Twin Cities 3-Day

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Our siblings can be our best friends that stick by our sides through all the years to come. They know our secrets, share memories, cheer us on and (sometimes) drive us a little crazy. But they’re family. We are lucky to have many siblings of all ages walking together on 3-Days across the country, and today, for Sibling’s Day, we are highlighting a special family duo: Kathy and Chuck H. from the Twin Cities 3-Day.

Kathy is a survivor, and has been a dedicated 3-Dayer since its first year in the Twin Cities in 2004. After being her “biggest cheerleader” that first year, Chuck joined his sister in 2005, and they have been walking together ever since.

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Kathy says, “Chuck and I have always had an amazing relationship.  The three days of the walk each year just give us time to connect in person and remind each other just how lucky we are!”

They truly show that family luck and support, adding Kathy’s daughter Megan to their team, Robb’s Ralliers, in 2016 after she was a three-time Youth Corps member, and last year Chuck’s son Cody also walked with their family. The rest of the clan comes out in full force to support Robb’s Ralliers all along the route with signs and cheers.

“We were raised in a strong family environment and taught that being there for your family is just something that you do.  The 3-Day is just a personification of this belief,” Chuck says.

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“While not all our family members walk, our entire family participates in some manner.  For me it is less about the lessons that I can learn and more about passing along values to my children.  My son, Cody, was a first-time walker in 2017 and will be back for 2018.  I have seen his commitment to the cure strengthen his relationship with his Aunt “Kate” and I can’t tell you how proud he makes me.  My daughter, Elanore, is twelve years old and she has never not known the 3-Day.”

In addition to their children, spouses, and family members, their parents continue to be Chuck and Kathy’s biggest supporters.

“Our parents are our biggest supporters, and are there for us from Opening to Closing Ceremonies.  For the Robbs, the 3-Day is an annual tradition.  It is all about commitment, strength, support, perseverance, and love and our family members all have their own way of showing the importance of these values,” Chuck explains.

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These values extend off the 3-Day trail and into the everyday life of their family as well. This is thanks to, of course, their own family, but also the family they have built in the Twin Cities 3-Day.

Even after 13 years of walking, Kathy still lights up talking about her pink bubble. “The Twin Cities 3-Day is filled with so many wonderful people—repeat walkers, repeat crew members and repeat staff members.  Everyone has an amazing story to share […]  The beauty of the Twin Cities and the weather in August is a bonus.  For me, it’s all about the people—coming together every year for three days—so many laughs, many tears shed and so much love!”

Both Kathy and Chuck say that the love and lessons they experience on the 3-Day enforce the foundation of love built throughout their family, and in their own relationship. Chuck calls Kathy “the strongest person I know and second place isn’t even close,” saying, “her will to fight and persevere never ceases to amaze me.” In turn, Kathy praises Chuck’s “huge heart and deep-rooted love for his family” …plus his amazing hugs!

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Both siblings are already signed up for the Twin Cities 3-Day in 2018, and Kathy will also be walking her second year in San Diego. Though they might not walk every mile side by side, you can bet they are cheering each other on, crossing the finish line as a family that will never quit.

Happy Sibling’s Day to Kathy, Chuck, and all our 3-Day sibling participants! If you walk with your sibling, share your favorite 3-Day memories with them below!

And, for more stories about siblings, visit this piece about the Cummings sisters.

Meet Dr. Brionn T., Twin Cities 3-Day Medical Crew Lead

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Our Medical Crew is a key component of our 3-Day family and experience. They keep us safe and strong as we embark on a 60-mile weekend together. We are thankful for them every day, but specifically today, on National Doctor’s Day.

On this day, we want to thank the men and women who volunteer their time to keep our 3-Day family safe and sound. That includes Dr. Brionn T., Program Director for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University of Minnesota Health… and Twin Cities 3-Day Medical Crew member!

Brionn first became involved in the 3-Day almost five years ago, when a colleague got in touch with him to encourage people from their department to volunteer, as well as recruit the trainees that Brionn works with at the hospital.

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“We in the medical field have a very unique skill set. Most people go into healthcare to help people, and we’re fortunate that a lot of times we get paid to do it. But there are a lot of cases where people can benefit from medical care where we might not get paid to help. And those times are even more important!”

In his first year on event, Brionn camped overnight in the medical tent, instead of his own. He wanted to be there just in case anyone needed anything, all night long.

“I can still remember seeing that sea of pink tents for the first time! That, and the Closing Ceremony, was memorable and powerful, and will stay with me.”

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He hopes memories like that will also stay with the doctors and trainees he recruits to come back to the 3-Day with him year after year. The connections he makes with his fellow crew are ones he now treasures and looks forward to each year. He calls it a “reunion” and knows that any involvement with the 3-Day comes with its own sense of accomplishment.

“Even if I don’t walk, we help people get across the finish line. It’s about being part of the team, treating all the walkers and getting them moving again!”

That strikes the perfect balance of teamwork making the dream work, which, for Brionn is at the heart of the 3-Day.

“It’s fun… with a mission.”

This mission is now part of Brionn’s life all year, and he encourages everyone; doctors, volunteers, walkers, and more, to join him.

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When asked what he would say to get someone to join the 3-Day for the first time, he said, “Just jump in! You’re not going to regret either walking or volunteering. Find what works for you and just do it. You’ll make friends. You’ll feel accomplished and you will never be upset that you came out and did it.”

We’re certainly not upset that Brionn joined the 3-Day. Thank you Brionn, and all our Medical Crew, for coming out and being there whenever we need you.

Meet Carley Cummings, Twin City 3-Dayer

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“She was a light that shined so bright that the light still remains even though she is gone.”

That’s how Carley Cummings, team captain of Twin Cities 3-Day team “Live Like Laurie,” describes her late mother.

Carley, her sisters Anna and Liz, as well as her best friend Beth have collectively walked in more than 20 3-Days in the Twin Cities in honor of Laurie, and they don’t plan on stopping!

IMG_0301.JPG “The walk has given us a way to cope. Knowing that we can continue fighting my mom’s war by helping to end breast cancer helps us a lot. The walk has given us purpose and has helped us to be strong.”

Much of that strength comes from her mom. Laurie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 when she was only 38 years old. After a double mastectomy and seven years in remission, the cancer came back in her bones. The cancer then eventually spread all over her body and into her brain. However, with three young children and a loving husband, she refused to give up.

Laurie lived with Stage 4 cancer for five more years.

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Carley says, “She never let the cancer define who she was. She smiled, danced, and laughed through the pain and the long days of chemo and radiation rounds. To say she fought hard is an understatement.”

Laurie had an amazing doctor and was constantly blessed with new treatments and support from family and friends that kept her going.

She also continued to be a part of the 3-Day, walking for 10 years in total. She walked her first 3-Day shortly after her 2002 diagnosis, when Carley was just in kindergarten, and made the 3-Day a part of her whole family’s lives. She even walked one year with a back brace, and just a few months after she got her hip replaced. Carley was able to walk side-by-side with her mom in Laurie’s final 3-Day.

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Later, in 2014, Carley and Anna were hesitant to walk because Laurie’s health had rapidly declined, but she encouraged them to walk without her. Just a few hours after crossing the finish line of the walk, they and their family held their mom’s hands as she took her last breath. Carley truly believes Laurie held on long enough for them to finish.

“Even when my mom was dying, she was still filled with so much life. She was passionate about life and put all her energy into living in the moment. She left us with the most amazing memories. My mom was one of kind. She did more for us in the time we had with her than most moms do for their kids in a lifetime. Her love still gets me through each day.”

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After her passing Carley and her team re-named their group “Live Like Laurie,” in her honor. They continue to walk together, supported by friends and family, and wear a photo of Laurie on their backs as they take on those 60 miles year after year.

“Walking with my sisters and having my dad cheer us on along the route is amazing. We are constantly supporting one another and encouraging one another throughout every mile. I don’t think that I could do the walk without my sisters. They help me to finish strong.”

They also help each other train, and fundraise as a team by sending out letters every year to family and friends and selling custom designed t-shirts. This past summer, they also organized a donation garage sale, and all the money they made was put towards their 3-Day fundraising. These creative ideas have helped them meet their goals each year, and return to their 3-Day family side by side.

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“The 3-Day is an emotional roller-coaster for me. Those three days are filled with tears, laughter, and conversations that move you. We are lucky enough to have friends and family cheer along the way which helps me out a lot. Everyone we meet along the way cheers us on as well and makes us feel so loved.”

Carley also feels the love of her mom as she walks. And whenever the trail gets tough, it’s the memory of Laurie that keeps her going.

“I keep walking because I can’t walk away. I promised my mom I’d fight to find a cure. Just because my mom lost her battle doesn’t mean this war is over. I walk so others don’t have to go through the pain that my family and I have had to endure. I will keep walking for a future free of all cancer.”

We will continue to walk alongside you, Carley.

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