Walking for MeeMaw: Meet Jessa G. from the San Diego 3-Day

I think the thing I love most about the 3-Day is how much the entire event is like one big family reunion. Everyone is so open and easy to talk to. Everyone is there to support everyone else.”

When Jessa G. talks about the 3-Day, she is truly describing a family affair. Her mom, Heather, has been a part of the 3-Day in one way or another since it began in 2001. Heather, and now Jessa alongside her, walk in memory of their MeeMaw (Jessa’s grandmother, and Heather’s mom). MeeMaw lost her fight to breast cancer when Jessa was young, and since then Heather has been a part of the 3-Day family.

(Jessa and her mom)

A few years ago, Jessa also joined the Pink Bubble as a member of the Youth Corps!

“I had finally found a way that I too could join my mom in memory of my MeeMaw!”

Last year was the first year Jessa was old enough to walk the 3-Day…and walk she did! She and a family friend took on those sixty miles with smiles on their faces and determination in their hearts.

Jessa says, “Although I had already been in the background of the walk, helping make sure things went smoothly and happily for all the walkers, I didn’t know how truly challenging it is. Having that walking experience really gave me a new respect for my mom and all the people who walk the 3-Day year after year. Walking in my mom’s footsteps helped me so much. My mom even let me use the same fanny pack that she used in her first 3-Day, 16 years later.”

Jessa’s mom was there to watch her cross her first-ever 3-Day finish line, and they hope to expand their family’s presence in 2018. Both of Jessa’s younger sisters will be on Youth Corps, and her mom will be part of Lunch Crew. Jessa is hoping to make it back from college in time for the event as well, but no matter if she’s walking, or there in spirit, she will have the 3-Day in her heart.

“It’s so important to me to continue to be a part of the 3-Day in any way, because of the amazing work that I’ve seen through the 3-Day do, just over the past few years that I’ve been there. I’ve seen just how it brings people together and creates lifelong friendships of love and support. The pink bubble is something to love and miss when you aren’t there.”

This past year is still fresh in her mind , and she was more than happy to share tips for first-time walkers:

  • Train more on sidewalks and concrete than on trails!
  • She also warns against doing any form of activity before the event that could put yourself at risk for injury.
  • If you need some extra pep in your step, Jessa loves listening to pop artists like Halsey, Ed Sheeran, Avril Lavigne, Bruno Mars, Little Mix, as well as musicals like Hamilton to keep herself motivated during those long training walks.
  • Need fundraising ideas? Jessa says to “ask literally everyone you know! People are more willing to help out than you would think; teachers, friends, doctors, family, everyone.”
  • She also recommends asking people to donate old furniture or clothes and having a garage sale where all the money goes towards breast cancer.

These tips come from an expert, too! Though Jessa has only walked the 3-Day once, she has grown up around a 3-Day veteran — her mom, Heather. Jessa says that her mom has been a life-long motivation, and the epitome of someone who is More Than Pink.

“She was the first one in my family to start doing the 3-Day, and she has consistently been a part of them for so many years! She’s talked with so many of the people on so many different events. I haven’t gone to a single 3-Day where I haven’t been approached by one person or another asking if I’m Heather’s daughter. Everyone I’ve talked to has had just the greatest things to say about how she has helped them through something in their lives, or just been there to talk with them even outside of the 3-Day.”

With role models like Heather and her MeeMaw, Jessa is going to keeping walking and working towards a world without breast cancer.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

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Happy National Volunteer Week to all our 3-Day Crew and Volunteers!

In honor of this important and exciting week of recognition, we have compiled an album of our Top Crew Photos from 2017! These are just a few of the amazing memories that our 3-Day Crew has created for our More Than Pink family.

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We can not thank you enough for all that you do!

Have a photo you think we missed? Add it in the comments below!

Meet Jaden C., Incredible Kid and Incredible 3-Dayer

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Happy Incredible Kid Day! We have plenty of Incredible Kids as a part of our 3-Day family, so this day is always a fun and exciting one to recognize the future of our pink family. They are the next generation of walkers, crew members, supporters and more. Every kid who joins this journey is making a difference towards reaching Komen’s Bold Goal.

One amazing (or incredible!) example of that is Jaden C. from the Atlanta 3-Day. He started off as a walker stalker, then Youth Corps member, and is now walking the full 60 miles alongside his “Nana” Gwen this year. This journey, she says, is all part of a promise that Jaden made to her years ago.

“I am overcome with pride to see Jaden’s continued commitment and dedication to the fight to end breast cancer! I could not have imagined he would ever be walking the 3-Day. He kept the promise he made as a new Youth Corps member years ago, which was to walk the 60 mile 3-Day as soon as he was old enough!”

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Nana was also the catalyst in Jaden’s joining the Youth Corps in his younger years. She encouraged him to apply, and he says he was “lucky” to be accepted. Since then, he has made friends and new family on the 3-Day.

Jaden says, “My Youth Corps involvement was an amazing experience over the past several years. I have met so many friends that I now consider family. We stay in touch and have formed a bond that can never be broken. Participation in the Youth Corps has changed my perspectives about commitment, dedication, determination and leadership in many areas of my life.

It’s personal and means so much to me in ways that many people wouldn’t understand. My Youth Corps friends promised we would someday all walk together as a team. I’ve wanted to walk for years and to finally be so close to doing so means the world to me. I can’t wait!”

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He is only months away from walking his first 60-mile 3-Day, and Jaden has already begun training and preparing. This spring, he will use his Track and Field practices to help sneak in extra training and has no doubt he will meet, or even exceed, his fundraising goals. He is motivated to keep his promise to his Nana, and all the walkers he has supported in years past.

“The camaraderie of people, the environment, the overall family affair aspect of the 3-Day, the celebration throughout Atlanta, and keeping my promise…That’s all what I’m most looking forward to.”

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Jaden truly is More Than Pink.

But, when we asked him who is More Than Pink in his own life, Jaden’s answer was easy. It all came back to his Nana.

“My grandmother (my Nana) is more than pink! She works hard for our family on a constant basis regardless of how she may feel. She’s battled through breast cancer before and, years prior to her diagnosis, lost her sister (who she watched battle this disease on more than one occasion), and she has had to adjust to a “new normal.” She encourages other survivors who now come to her with concerns and questions about her experience.

She has continued to walk and support the 3-Day for years. Nana and I walked together as 20-milers last year as the VA DUO! It was a privilege and pleasure to team up with her to walk in my aunt Debbie’s memory and in my Nana’s honor as a survivor. We crossed the finish line as a family along with Pink Angel Divas!

I will be her legs and strength this year! The journey is not over!”

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Gwen echoes his excitement, love and support.

“I am so proud of this young man who has fought to overcome so many obstacles in life. I believe his determination and outlook can be attributed, in part, to the experiences and lessons learned as part of the 3-Day family!

We (his family) are all so proud of him for embarking on this incredible journey for such a worthy cause because for us, IT’S PERSONAL!”

We are honored to be a part of your journey, Jaden and Gwen. We can’t wait to see you take on those incredible 60 miles in October in Atlanta.