We’re wild about the spirit and sense of community that our teams bring to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Today, we’re excited to hear from Les C. and some of her teammates on Wild Women Walking for a Cure, one of our wildest teams on the San Diego 3-Day.
Tell us about how your team first became involved in the 3-Day.
Wild Women (and Men and Teens) Walking for A Cure (WWWFAC) is a team that has participated in the 3-Day events since the first walk from Santa Barbara to Malibu in 1998. Three of the current WWWFAC walked in that first event because of their commitment to the cause and to take on the physical challenge. They came away from that experience both addicted and contagious, addicted to the amazing world that can be created in those three days, and so contagious that now we’ve had a collection of over 150 women, men, children (and one service dog) who have been a part of our WWWFAC family over 20+ years.
What is the history behind your team name?
Les: We adopted the Wild Women name in 2003 after discovering a line of jewelry, named “Wild Women,” that was stick figures with hair that resembled our head gear. We obtained approval from the artist to use her logo on our shirts. We haven’t looked back since. You can look for our distinctive, individually made, homemade pipe cleaner art headgear throughout the walk, or our yellow Wild Women T-shirts on Day 3!
Have your reasons for walking changed over the years?
Rosie: My motivation to walk has evolved over time. I signed on in 2000 in memory of two mothers from my neighborhood whose lives were cut short by breast cancer. I have written notes to them every year in the remembrance tent. Over the years, so many friends and acquaintances have battled breast cancer, a sister has battled breast cancer, and I am now a two-time survivor.
Tell us about the “sisterhood” of Wild Women Walking for a Cure.
Rosie: Unequivocal trust.
MA: Compassion, strength, laughter, love = magic.
Peggy: The WWWFAC team has grown into an amazing team that has bonded for the 3-Day events but for so much more. There are not many topics that remain secret when you share all of those miles together over all of those years. The trust and caring and support for every aspect of our lives is so strong. Even though we don’t see some of our teammates except for the annual event, we are able to pick up as though we had never been apart.
Our dedication to the cause has grown as we have raised a lot of money for Susan G. Komen. We are so proud of the exceedingly valuable advances in breast cancer that have been enabled by that money, particularly because more of our teammates and women close to us have received breast cancer diagnoses since we started walking. We have been able to face those diagnoses with the confidence that we are backed by the efforts and care of a virtual army of support. That makes a world of difference.
Les: WWWFAC walkers and our supporters are a family. We have a core group that walks every year, and our wonderful supporters are with us every step of the way. We also have some walkers and supporters who are able to join every few years, and we bring in newbies. As with everything during a 3-Day, it is emotional. We cry, but we laugh, and we gain memories (and rules J) from every 3-Day. We are always there for each other all through the year.
Maureen: Our Wild Women sisterhood is genuine family. We don’t share the same parents but we are as close as siblings. The love and support for each other is very special. We support each other in good times and in crises. The Wild Women sisterhood has been with me every step of my diagnosis and treatment.
What else would you like to share with the 3-Day family?
Les: WWWFAC team members are predominantly Southern California residents, and have mostly participated in Los Angeles and San Diego 3-Days. However, there are WWWFAC members who travel to SoCal for the events from Northern California, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New York and Massachusetts, and there are WWWFAC who have walked and crewed in walks across the country. In total, 436 WWWFAC walkers have participated across 40 events.
We look forward to the next 3-Day. Our WWWFAC team will include at least 16 walkers and many alumni walker supporters. WWWFAC walkers have ranged in age from 16 to 77 and vary in experience from newbies on their first walks to veterans with as many as 33 walks under their belts. Seven kick-ass survivors are walking on the 2021 team, three of whom are signed up to walk at least three of the four events.
We currently have two WW in treatment and beating breast cancer as we speak. Our shirts, pins and our hearts bear the names of victims and survivors. To have my two kids join the cause when they turned 16 and are now going on their 12th and 9th walks is wonderful, and to have second generation WW walking every year is inspirational. We all hold a firm belief that we can eliminate breast cancer as a concern for our future generations. WWWFAC will continue to walk as everyone deserves a lifetime.