A Warm Walker’s Welcome to New Members of the 3-Day Family

We love our new walkers and do everything we can to make sure they feel welcomed! Some veteran participants go above and beyond to bring newbies into the 3-Day Pink Bubble, whether that is by encouraging them in the 3-Day Facebook Groups, helping with fundraising tips, or, in Betsy’s case, getting even more creative.

How did you first become involved in the 3-Day?

A friend from Washington State met me for dinner one night way back in the winter of 2005. She was in New Hampshire on business. She said she was interested in doing “something special” and wanted to know if I was interested. I said, “Sure, tell me about it,” and the conversation went something like this:

  • FRIEND: I want to do a fundraising walk for breast cancer. Do you think you’d like to join me?
  • ME: Sure! Where and when?
  • FRIEND: Seattle…in August
  • ME: Okay!
  • FRIEND: It’s 60 miles. It’s three days.
  • ME: Oh.
  • FRIEND: And you have to raise over $2,000
  • ME: Oh…Okay…

I agreed to do this walk before I talked it over with my husband and my employer. Luckily for me, they both agreed to the plan. I was nervous and excited about this endeavor. I am not an enthusiastic exerciser, but I trained according to the schedule. I went outside my comfort level and asked everyone I knew (and some people I didn’t!) for donations. I have exceeded the minimum for fundraising each year I’ve participated since 2006.

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day has been a life changing experience for me. Although I have not been personally touched by breast cancer, I have had my share of abnormal mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs. Becoming involved with the 3-Day has been the most empowering thing I have ever done. After finishing the Seattle 3-Day in 2006, I set a goal for myself to walk in all of the cities at least once, no matter how long it took. Back then, there were 14 walks.

You have a special place in your heart for first-time 3-Day walkers. Why is welcoming them into the family so important to you?

That first year, I was a stranger to the 3-Day. I traveled from New Hampshire to Seattle by myself to meet a team of 14 women, of which I only knew one. I was unsure if I could really do this. At first, I felt alone in the crowd, and I didn’t have family to see me off. We hadn’t trained together, so I didn’t know what my team’s pace was like. Would we all stay together? Would we spread out and never see each other on the route? I was really scared. Then I started to meet other walkers, and we started sharing our stories. I made friends that weekend who are still near and dear to my heart.

Since 2006, I have traveled to one 3-Day a year. For my first seven walks, I was a solo walker. I gathered friends as I walked and talked. I laughingly say my Christmas Card list grows exponentially with every walk I do! I became better at meeting strangers, at reaching out to those who looked unsure or alone. I knew what it was like to be that “stranger in a strange land.” I don’t ever want anyone to feel the way I felt that first walk. Every so often, newbies can get the feeling that they don’t quite belong there. I don’t ever want to be the reason someone feels like they are on the outside looking in.

I also want them to come back next year! I know that we are still trying to grow participation. In order to do this, we need new faces, and new energy. I’ll be 60 this year. I’ll be walking 60 miles in Chicago for my 60th birthday. After not gathering in 2020, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again!

How do you welcome them into the family?

I simply say, “Hello,” and smile! I ask them about themselves: Where are they from? How many walks have they done? Is this the first? What made them decide to commit? If it is their first walk, I give them one of my First Timer Goodie Bags as a token to welcome to the Pink Family! It is a small pink organza bag with a pink ribbon on it, filled with little tokens…pink band aids, a smiley face pin, a pink ribbon rubber duck, a couple of mints, some temporary tattoos, a 2006 Canadian Quarter with a pink ribbon on it, and most importantly, a business card with my contact information on it so they can reach out if they need ANYTHING! I remember how much fun it was collecting goodies along the way…stickers, beads, pins from Sweep vans…all mementos I treasure.

What is your favorite moment at the 3-Day?

Hearing stories…crying together…laughing together…camaraderie…welcoming the Last Walker home for the night. Knowing that all of our Pink Family is safe under the same roof…seeing faces from last year’s walk at the Opening Ceremony…spending some quiet time in the Remembrance Tent.

If you could send a message to everyone in the Pink Bubble family, what would it be?

I love you all and can’t wait to collect my hugs!!!! And all the love!!!! I miss you!!!

Thank you, Betsy, for going above and beyond to welcome new walkers to the 3-Day family! You are the reason this community is so incredibly special. And a huge welcome and Pink Bubble hug to our new 3-Day walkers! We are all here cheer you on for your very first 3-Day event. On the 3-Day, you are never alone.

Crystal’s Wonder Woman

“Omg that is me! I did it for my aunt who survived triple negative breast cancer. She is truly a hero in my eyes and the strongest woman I know. She is my Wonder Woman.”

When we saw this comment on one of our favorite 3-Day photos on Instagram, we knew we needed to find this walker and her aunt to learn more. In a time where we cannot gather together in-person, social media allows us the opportunity to continue to build community even when we’re apart.

Today, we’re excited to introduce you that amazing walker. Crystal Fazio joined us to walk the San Diego 3-Day in 2019 when her aunt, Ilsia Rangel, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. According to Crystal, “We were devastated with the news. Her chances of getting through it were extremely low. My aunt was a fighter though and explored her options.” After difficult chemo sessions, lymph node removal, and a double mastectomy, Crystal’s aunt has been in remission for 18 months.

Crystal continued, “We as a family stayed by her side and helped her through for better and worse. We wanted to give back in support of breast cancer awareness. That’s when we found the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.” Crystal’s aunt immediately said. “Let’s do this, we got this!” No one hesitated, and eight friends and family members founded The Bouncing Bellas.

Crystal and the Bouncing Bella’s treasured every moment they walked with Crystal’s aunt. “She truly is a super woman to me and my family because of all the challenging obstacles that came in her way. She fought back, blisters and all!” exclaimed Crystal. As first-time walkers on a new team, the Bouncing Bellas had a lot to take in. When asked what she’d tell other first-time walkers, Crystal shared, “My message for first-time walkers is that it will be tough and challenging. Train hard, stay hydrated, and keep pushing through, because the experience is worth all the pain and blisters. It is truly an experience of a lifetime. Oh, and don’t forget the PICKLES!”

Crystal’s aunt recently learned that her cancer has returned as lung and liver cancer, yet her family continues to come together and rally in support of Ilsia. Crystal proudly states, “She is still our Super Woman and puts on a smile every day. Nothing! Not even cancer is slowing her down!”

Thanks to Crystal for sharing her powerful smile with the 3-Day world via our Instagram page and especially for relaying the story of her Wonder Woman, her aunt.

In true social media form, when asked if she could share a DM with each person in the 3-Day community, Crystal said: “Stay positive, have fun, and remember, you are not alone!”

We are so lucky that we can still connect with walkers like Crystal – and all of you! – virtually over social media and at our virtual kick-off events, even though we can’t join together in person this year.

3-Day Training Walk Scavenger Hunt

Are you almost to the bottom of your playlist? Have you finished those podcasts and audiobooks you’ve been meaning to listen to? Looking for something else to do on your training walks? The 3-Day team has you covered.  

Grab your best 3-Day gear and make your next training walk an adventure with the official 3-Day Scavenger Hunt! We may be away from our family and friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and connect with the beauty around us while training for the 3-Day. Just like we take the time to appreciate the scenery and unique landmarks in each 3-Day city, we encourage you to do the same in your neighborhood. 

A big thanks to Cliff’s Crew, a 3-Day walking team that has regularly walked in the San Diego 3-Day for the past 17 years, for sharing their training walk scavenger hunt with the 3-Day team and giving us the idea to create our own.  

During your next walk (or next few walks) outdoors, see how many items you can check off the list on your own or share the list with your fellow walkers and turn it into a challenge. Let us know how many you can check off the list by tagging us @The3Day on Facebook and Twitter or @Komen3Day on Instagram. We may be apart, but we can still train #3DayTogether.  

  1. Pink flower 
  1. Christmas lights on someone’s house 
  1. Cloud in the shape of an object/person/animal 
  1. Hopscotch in sidewalk chalk (kudos to you if you also hop it!) 
  1. Water feature (fountain, waterfall, puddle) 
  1. The number 3 (could be on a street sign, address, poster in a store window…) 
  1. Signs for front-line workers 
  1. Red door 
  1. Duck in a pond 
  1. Flowerbox on a house or business 
  1. 3-Day Yard Sign 
  1. License plate with a pink ribbon or bumper sticker with pink ribbon  
  1. Colorful bird  
  1. Flag 
  1. Door with a wreath on it 
  1. Classic car 
  1. Something yellow (in honor of Youth Corps) 
  1. Your favorite mailbox seen on your walk 
  1. Dog (other than your own) 
  1. Bird’s nest 

What would you add to this list? Leave it in the comments below or share your own scavenger hunt on social media @The3Day on Facebook and Twitter or @Komen3Day on Instagram