A Breast Cancer Survivor and Her Pink Jeep

What started as a creative idea at a car show has now turned into a full-blown breast cancer-themed Jeep. It’s owner? Denise B., a breast cancer survivor who travels to different cities for the 3-Day as either a walker or a mobile cheering station (with her Jeep in tow, of course). 

How did you first hear about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day?  

I moved to Riverview, Florida in 2011 and heard about the 3-Day through local advertisements for the Tampa Bay event. I participated the following year, 2012, in the Tampa Bay 3-Day as a one-year breast cancer survivor. 

What is your connection to breast cancer?  

I had a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the ’90s and beat it. Then, six years later, it came back in her lungs, and she ultimately passed away. In January of 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer from a mammogram. My cancer was caught very early; even the doctor couldn’t feel it. I had a lumpectomy and radiation. 

Why are you motivated to help put an end to this disease?  

I don’t want my daughter or anyone else to have to go through the battle of breast cancer or any other type of cancer ever again.  

We heard you have a custom Jeep, can you tell us about it? How did you come up with this idea? 

I originally had a black and pink Jeep TJ that had a breast cancer theme. That Jeep’s name was Esperanza, which means “Hope” in Spanish. I went to a car show with that Jeep in October of 2018, which was a benefit event for breast cancer. I purchased pink ribbon magnets for people to write names of survivors and stick them on my Jeep during the car show. I ended up winning that car show! A couple years later I decided to buy a Jeep Gladiator and put a wrap on it with names of survivors and in memory of others who lost their breast cancer battle. I worked with a female wrap designer to help me capture what I envisioned. The Gladiator’s name is Pink Virago, “Virago” is Latin for “female Gladiator/Warrior.” The words “Nobody Fights Alone” run along each side of the Jeep. I originally had about 140 names that I had gathered to put on the Jeep, and intended to fill the ribbon that goes down both sides with names, but over time I ran out of room. So, I expanded the space and now put names everywhere on it. Currently there are almost 400 names. Most of these names are for breast cancer, but as I meet people and they give me names, no matter what kind of cancer they have, I put it on my Jeep.   

You usually have a friend traveling with you in a unicorn costume. Is there a story behind that?  

The unicorn is actually my friend Elizabeth (she has raised over $100,000 for Susan G. Komen). She frequents Dallas/Fort Worth and other cities as the Unicorn, and in past years has shown up in a pink Gorilla or a banana costume. I met Elizabeth at my first 3-Day in Tampa. My sister worked with her and told her I was doing the 3-Day also. She walked with me on my first 3-Day and is the reason I made it all 60 miles. She was also with me in Dallas/Fort Worth this past year when I did my first mobile cheering station. She was my introduction to the Pink Bubble and represents what the Pink Bubble is all about.   

What does the Pink Bubble mean to you?  

The Pink Bubble is the culmination of diverse people from all over that come together and form a community over three days to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. But ultimately, it’s a group of people who lift each other up, laugh together, cry together and tell their stories. Just like how a bubble forms from water and soap, the Pink Bubble forms from all the people we meet and stories we share. Then at the end of the weekend, we all go back to our normal lives, but we take a piece of the Pink Bubble with us, in the form of new stories, memories and friendships.   

Meet Brad and Debbie, The Fire Truck Walker Stalkers

You’ve seen them on the route, you’ve probably taken a picture on or with the classic fire truck, and maybe even worn the pink firefighter hats, but have you ever wondered who the nice couple is behind the fire truck? They have become well-known supporters, driving out from Palm Springs to San Diego every year to cheer walkers on. Meet Brad and Debbie!

When did you first get involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®?

My wife battled breast cancer in 1999. We first got involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in 2008. My wife Debbie saw an ad in a magazine and said she wanted to do the walk. I decided to do it with her, along with two of my brothers. We raised the money and did EVERY training walk according to the schedule that was put out, which got a little tricky with our 120-degree day summers. But the training allowed us to walk the entire 60 miles, which was really fun! My wife decided to walk again in 2011. We wanted to be 60 years old walking 60. What a way to celebrate your 60th birthday! I was always inspired by all the walker stalkers who encouraged us during our own experience. So, 2011 was the first year I brought my fire truck and my “3-Day Walkers Are Hot” sign to follow the walkers. I have done it every year since, with the exception of one year when I had a surgery and could not attend.

Why do you choose to come out and cheer on walkers?

Because it’s so FUN! The walkers are so positive and need the encouragement to keep going. Plus, when we walked, we saw how important the supporters were to us and we wanted to do something in return. Bringing out our fire truck, firefighter hats, and sign is the something we chose to do.

What keeps you motivated to keep coming out year after year to support the 3-Day?

The amazing walkers, crew and staff! It’s very well organized and such a fun event. We never hear a complaint from anyone. And we like the Melon Men!

What are some fun facts about you and your wife, Debbie?

Our claim to fame is that we were on the Newlywed Game in 1971, and we won! We have three children and six grandchildren who we love spending time with. I am a retired firefighter and my wife is a retired school teacher. I spend a lot of time working on my garden and home, while my wife likes to read and make quilts.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We appreciate all that Susan G. Komen does to provide such a wonderful event for men and women who are in one way or another connected to breast cancer. See you next year!

We love our walker stalkers, as well as learning why they come out year after year to support us all on our 3-Day journey. Do you have a favorite walker stalker? Shout them out in the comments!

The 3-Day, in the words of walker Alisen D.


Often, we take for granted the steps we take in our daily lives. The mundane one foot in front of the other. Unless, of course, you are a 3-Dayer.

Then your world, and those steps you take on a pink path, have a whole different meaning.

The ground beneath your feet become an anthem… a promise… a yearly reminder of why thousands of men and women (and children) join together across the nation in unity, in a vast sea of pink.


My name is Alisen Dupre and I made a promise back in 2002 to my mother, Pam Morris, when I signed up for my very first 3-Day event. My mom was diagnosed in 1997 with breast cancer at the age of 53. She had her mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstruction all within a year.

At the young age of 22, I was by her side and was her caregiver, (what later would be called a “co-survivor”) and saw firsthand what the disease would do to her body and her spirit. Through it all we stood strong and weathered the storm together.


A year later I moved cross country from Pennsylvania, where she lived, to California. Fast forward to February 2011. I had already walked the 3-Day seven times in California (in Los Angles & San Diego), four times in Philadelphia, once in Tampa, once in Washington, D.C. and had been a Crew Member for Camp Logistics in San Diego (2007 & 2009). I was also a part of the Nationwide Mentor program, not to mention being a walker stalker twice as well. It is a joyous time in my life, as I was three months pregnant with my son Chase!

However, life is a very delicate balancing act, and it was about to throw something my way. I got the phone call that every person dreads. My mom called me and told me that the cancer had returned. The breast cancer gene mutated and metastasized into ovarian cancer. Stage 4. Honestly, I didn’t hear much after the word “terminal”. I was able to be with my mom on two visits back East and she saw me in all my pregnant glory and felt Chase move around in my swollen belly up until my eight month. My due date was July 31st, and she lost her courageous fight July 25th. Chase arrived later than expected on August 9th. Dealing with life and death at the same time was the most humbling experience of my life.


Chase is a very special kid even now. After his birth in 2011, I walked San Diego that year with him on the route, making his walker stalker debut. He was only 4 months old. He was then known as “The Boobie Baby.” I created a special hat for him and ever since then he has been on route cheering the walkers on. He has since outgrown that little hat and has become “The TaTa Toddler.”

In 2013, I was given the extreme honor of being able to carry the “Mother” flag in San Diego, and spoke at Opening Ceremonies about why I walk. I walk so that children and grandchildren may experience life’s wonderful moments with their loved ones.


At Closing, Chase, The TaTa Toddler, was wearing a shirt I made him that read, “You Walk for The NaNa I Never Knew… Thank You” He was on stage with me in front of all the walkers, crew, family and friends, and was dancing as if it was the greatest day ever. And it WAS.

I’ve since walked in a hurricane in Philly in 2015, which was my most challenging year, but was also the most awesome event as it was my homecoming homage to my mother.


Every year Chase and I return to cheer on his beloved, “Pink Ribbon Boobie Walkers” (as he lovingly calls all the walkers). He now once again has outgrown his TaTa Toddler name and hat, and is now known as “The Boobie Boy.” He looks forward each year to going to San Diego to high five, cheer, ring his cow bell, pass out stickers, hug his friends and live in the Pink Bubble that we all have come to love so much.


This year there was a new twist to our stalker trip. One that touched me to my very core. Chase wanted to go into the Remembrance Tent and write a message to Grandma Pam. He told me he wanted to keep his message short and put it in a heart. He asked me for some spelling help and then he was done. In a big heart, in the lower left-hand corner of the tent: Chase Loves Pam.

Then he did something that neither I nor anyone within earshot I think will ever forget. He knows I carry my mom’s small urn of ashes with me on event. It’s silver with a small pink ribbon etched into the middle. “Mom, may I please have Grandma Pam’s Ashes?”

When I asked him why, he said, “I’d like to pray.”

And there he sat, with the sunlight shining behind him, holding her ashes, with eyes closed in silence. Having a moment.


This is why I walk. This is why I cannot walk away. My son and I will always be there stalking, even if I am not walking. But I, for one, will never take for granted the steps that any one of my fellow pink friends take. That is why we cheer you on all three days! The Pink Community surrounded my family in so much support during the transitional period between my mother’s passing, my son’s birth, and beyond! How could we not repay you in kind? We just love you THAT MUCH!!!

We love you with all our hearts.

Alisen Dupre and Chase aka “Boobie Boy” Dupre