Burt’s Bench: Meet Burt L., 3-Day Walker

There is a bench on Day 3 of the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. It’s a beautiful bench, as far as benches go, with a shiny, smooth steel construction, and elegantly turned legs. It’s seated on a platform of river rocks, overlooking a fountain framed by trees. The hundreds of 3-Dayers who walk by this bench in Curtis Park may think it’s just a bench, but to 23-time participant Burt Lipshie it’s more than just a bench. This bench is the last place he talked to his cousin before she died of breast cancer.

race_3017_photo_48476956

Burt’s cousin Judy is “my dearest, sweetest cousin in the whole world. Breast cancer killed her in 2004.”

It seems like a twist of fate brought Burt to the 3-Day. “A month or so after she died, I’m sitting in my office in New York, and Judy is everywhere. She’s just everywhere. It’s a hard thing to describe.”

Burt sent an email to Judy’s daughters, saying, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m having a Judy day today.” They wrote back and said they were not surprised, because they were, too. Why were they having a “Judy day,” other than dearly missing their mom?

Their answer to him: “We think our mom is proud of us because we just signed up to walk the 3-Day.”

Burt knew immediately that he would support the 3-Day. “I told them that I would donate… and I thought about it for two days. And then, I thought, no. They can’t do this without me. I’m going to do it too.”

Just two days later, Burt was signed up for his first ever 3-Day. “I had to find some way to fight back. This is the most meaningful way to fight back.”

race_3017_photo_48476783

There was just one slight problem – the girls had already named their team “Juju’s Girls.”

“We changed the name to ‘Jujus Girls (And boy).’ We walked San Diego that year and I haven’t stopped. This is walk 23.”

What was this special woman like? Judy was “feisty.” Burt refused to tell her age, joking that he could hear Judy from heaven exclaiming, “Burt! What?! You’re telling my age?” She was the type of woman who was dying of breast cancer, but still taking care of her 91-year-old mother. Judy lived in Dallas most of her life, so Burt had plans to meet Judy at the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. But by then, she was too sick to do it.

Towards the very end of the 60-mile route, Burt took a break from walking. “I’m sitting on the bench and I called to see how she was doing, and we talked for about five minutes. An hour later I got the call.”

To Burt, the bench in Curtis Park isn’t just a bench. It’s a tangible memory, a place that marks the devastation of this disease. It’s a place he visits every year before he walks sixty miles in the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, an event that he’s raised more than $208,000 for. It’s a staggering sum that has no doubt helped countless men and women fighting breast cancer. By now, Burt is well-loved by all his fellow walkers and member of the 3-Day Crew. As Burt walks in his neon pink shoes and pink Yankees hat, walkers call out to him, “My man!” slapping high fives and posing for pictures.

burt2

The bench is symbolic to all of us, because many places in the world become like Burt’s bench, marking the last place and time you talked to somebody you love.

When Burt comes to the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day, “It’s the first thing I do. I walk up Turtle Creek and I go up to the bench. And I sit on the bench for a little while, and I cry a little bit. And then I come back.”

Burt comes back because in this fight against breast cancer, you must always come back. You may be angry and grieving and devastated, but you must come back. Because, together, when we return to this fight, we are holding steadfast in our promise that we will never give up. And one day, Burt will sit on his bench and know that thanks to him and the help of people like you, more people like Judy will be saved.

burt-2

2016 Seattle 3-Day Opening Ceremony Speakers—We Are the 3-Day

The 2016 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® began on a gorgeous Pacific Northwest morning in Seattle with a beautiful and stirring Opening Ceremony. Walkers, crew members and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep at a time.

As part of the Ceremony, we were honored to welcome some special 3-Day participants to the stage, where they shared their own inspirations—both heart-warming and heartbreaking—for being part of the 3-Day. #WeAreThe3Day

Danielle Winston – My Grandmotherimg_5179“I walk in honor of my grandmother this weekend. When she was diagnosed with this disease, she attacked it with a strength and grace that I hope I inherited from her. I walk so that NO grandchild loses their grandmother to breast cancer. I’m Danielle and I AM the 3-Day.”

Monica Flory – My Mother img_5184
“I became involved in the 3-Day when a close family friend was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. I stay involved because in the last 10 years, more than 10 friends have been diagnosed. In 2011, my Mom was diagnosed and fought a hard battle and beat it. It’s because of her strength that I’m determined to be a part of the solution. I’m Monica and I AM the 3-Day.”

Mark Weedin – My Wifeimg_5182“I signed up for this walk – my first 3-Day – because I have been standing alongside my wife Kim for the last 10 months as she has fought breast cancer, round two. I also wanted to honor my sister Kathy, my mom, and my mother-in-law Jean, who we lost to this disease. Kim was supposed to be here with me today, but she passed away 11 days ago. If she were here, she would tell you all to never stop fighting, to never ever give up. I am her voice now. My name is Mark and I AM the 3-Day.”

Cathy Skotzke – Myselfimg_5193“I am walking in the 3-Day because I know what it means to battle cancer first-hand. I am a 2-time cancer survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and thyroid cancer. I went through intensive chemo and radiation and almost lost my life. But I was spared, and I want to do my part to help us get closer to finding a cure. I’m Cathy and I AM the 3-Day.”

Becca Brickman – My Friendimg_5186“I started this journey when my best friend Tina was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer last Thanksgiving. I wanted to do this journey to show her my love and support. She has two young girls and I would love to see our efforts result in a cure for the all the girls of tomorrow. I’m Becca and I AM the 3-Day.”

Beata Stensager – My Family img_5190“My reasons for walking began 10 years ago when a dear friend that’s now a 27-year survivor, asked me to join her in a Race for the Cure (you know, that little one). Today, it’s an honor to carry the My Family flag because I’m walking these 60 miles in memory of my young niece, Julie Ann, who was taken from us just weeks ago. I’m Beata and I AM the 3-Day.”

 

Together, we are strong. Together, we can defeat breast cancer. Together, we are the 3-Day.

2016 Michigan 3-Day Opening Ceremony Speakers—We Are the 3-Day

The 2016 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® began this morning in Michigan with a beautiful and stirring Opening Ceremony. Walkers, crew members and supporters joined their hearts and hopes in the shared promise of bringing about the end of breast cancer, one footstep at a time.

As part of the Ceremony, we were honored to welcome some special 3-Day participants to the stage, where they shared their own inspirations—both heart-warming and heartbreaking—for being part of the 3-Day. #WeAreThe3Day

 

“This morning, I carry the ‘My Father’ flag in memory of my dad, who I lost last week. I inherited so much of my character and drive from him, so while I walk in remembrance of those we have lost to breast cancer and in honor of those who have survived, I dedicate this 3-Day to my dad. I’m Cathy and I AM the 3-Day.”IMG_2189

 

“This is my sixth 3-Day. I walk in memory of my friend Jenny and my mom’s friend Kathy. I walk to continue the battle our friends have lost, and to honor all the friends everywhere who have traveled the same journey. I’m Heidi and I AM the 3-Day.”IMG_2195

 

“My aunt. My mom. My aunt again. My cousin. My mom again. Then my cousin again. I can’t stand the thought of the next generation of my family going through this and losing more than they already have. My cousin’s 48th birthday would have been last Friday and that is why I am here today. I’m Amy and I AM the 3-Day.”IMG_2197

 

“I walk for those who can’t walk. I walk for my coworker, a breast cancer survivor of 17 years. I walk for the sister of a coworker who has breast cancer. I walk in memory of my cousin, who passed away at 37. I walk to bring awareness to women and men, young and old, everywhere I go. I’m Charmaine and I AM the 3-Day.”IMG_2202

 

“When I was young, I promised my mother that when I was old enough, I would join her on the 3-Day. This year is that year! The 3-Day has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. Now I can finally take part in this incredible journey as her teammate. I asked to carry the My Children flag today, in the hope that one day, any children I might have can live in a world without breast cancer. I’m Logan and I AM the 3-Day.”IMG_2210

 

“I am walking this year because my mom passed away on March 19th. I’m walking to honor her strength and grace and to raise money to help others. I’m Blake and I AM the 3-Day.”IMG_2211

 

Together, we are strong. Together, we can defeat breast cancer. Together, we are the 3-Day.