One of the incredible things about being on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® is that you will meet people from all over the country, united in their passion to fight breast cancer. While many Komen 3-Day participants will be walking in their own backyards, others will be taking a cross-country trip to take part. This month, we wanted to shine the spotlight on a few walkers who are taking a long trip to get to the 3-Day® and leading training walks in their own hometowns.
Traveling from New York to the Michigan and Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Days
I walk because breast cancer murdered my dearest, closest cousin in 2004. Her daughters, who live in the Dallas area (as she did), signed up to walk the 3-Day right after she died, and I knew that I could not let them do this without me. I knew that I needed to put my own body on the line and do something to fight back. And I have been walking ever since. This year, I will walk in my 22nd (Michigan) and 23rd (Dallas/Fort Worth) 3-Days. As someone who does not live in a 3-Day city, I became a training walk leader in part for the very selfish reason of hoping to find other New Yorkers that I could do training walks with. And by being a training walk leader, I have met, and become life-long friends with, several truly wonderful people. The New York 3-Day community is a very special group. We walk in various 3-Days, but we train together, we have a reunion dinner in the winter, and we cheer each other on when it becomes our turn to head out for the 3-Day. I walk so that someday, no other man, no other family, loses a woman they love to breast cancer. I walk because everyone deserves a lifetime.
Read more about Burt on the 3-Day blog.
Traveling from Fair Oaks, CA to the San Diego 3-Day
Living near Sacramento, there is no 3-Day close to me. I walked in San Francisco and Seattle (twice) but then decided to raise more money for my first walk in San Diego in 2015. I lost my mind a bit, and set my fundraising goal at $100,000. I figured I could only reach that by building a team. So I started recruiting—some would say badgering—but I call it sharing the wealth of the 3-Day! That is how Hands Up For Hooters was born.
I organized training walks every Saturday and Sunday morning, and hosted coffees chats about the 3-Day. I also ran goofy contests every month to encourage those I had already recruited to keep inviting their friends. I needed 35 walkers to actually raise all their money, but I overshot a bit and registered 69. In the end, we overshot our fundraising goal, too, and raised $148,000. I had thought that travelling to San Diego from Sacramento the weekend before Thanksgiving would be a barrier, but no one cared. In fact, many piggybacked Thanksgiving with family in San Diego onto their walk. We all loved taking this mini vacation, with free food and a free tent, although admittedly, most of us sprung for the Hyatt! Building a team made it so much fun. We had a big group to train and fundraise with. Then when we got to San Diego, we saw our team members spread all over the walk. That made it really fun. This year we hope to return to San Diego with more than 100 walkers!
Training Tip: Schedule out your year of training walks to include fun locations and a variety of walk types. We might walk on our river trail one day, then through a beautiful neighborhood the next. Use a group email to let everyone know each week where you are meeting. Use Facebook to post pictures of your training walks, and invite others to join your walks, obviously with the intent of having them join your team.
Fundraising Tip: The best tip is to write the danged letter! You can do extraordinary efforts, like selling crafts, or selling baked goods, but an emotional letter or email, delivered with a deadline ("I am trying to raise my money by Mother's Day so I can concentrate on my training") is the most effective. People connect with breast cancer and they want to support you if you ask. But you have to ask. And when you ask, be sure your letter connects them with the emotion they already have about breast cancer.
Traveling from Wayne, MI to the Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego and Twin Cities 3-Days
In 2005, my daughter was a walker and I was on the crew. She quickly introduced me to her walking friends and suddenly, I had a 3-Day family and was given the moniker of their “3-Day Dad.” Over the years, that family has taken on a special meaning in my life.
In 15 years, I went from not knowing anyone that has had breast cancer to becoming close friends with so many people who live with it daily and then losing a lifelong friend to this monster. At age 60, I did my first walk in Denver with some of my Michigan 3-Day crew members and discovered traveling and seeing the country through PINK shaded glasses is one fine way to live. So now I crew everywhere I can and walk at one event each year.
Training Tip: Words of wisdom from Michigan 3-Day Medical Director and fellow walker Dr. Randy: Keep your feet cool and dry. Don’t use fabric softener on your socks, it will prevent your socks from wicking away sweat. Take your shoes off at each pit stop, grab & go and lunch for 10 minutes to let your shoes cool down. Rotate a pair of socks each time you take your shoes off and put the other pair on your belt to dry until the next stop. Cool feet equal NO blisters!
Traveling from Alpharetta, GA to the Atlanta, San Diego and Twin Cities 3-Days
The 3-Day was something I always wanted to do but never had the courage to actually sign up for. That was until my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The night of her diagnosis, I saw one of the 3-Day commercials and knew it was time to do it. The very next morning I had signed up. If my mom could battle this horrific disease at the age of 76, I could train and walk 60 miles!
That was four years and eight events ago. I have walked five events and crewed three, loving every moment of each event. After participating in an event, there is no way one cannot be hooked; the 3-Day is truly a family. I’ve met people going through the same things as my mother, others that were having a much harder time, while some just want to bring an end to breast cancer. No matter what their story, everyone you come in contact with is there to lend a helping hand or caring ear. I have made, and continually meet, amazing life-long friends along the way.
This year I will be participating in three events. I will be walking Twin Cities, and working with the amazing Youth Corps in Atlanta and San Diego. I get many questions on why I participate in numerous cities each year. My answer is because I can. I want to do everything I can so that we can live in a world without breast cancer. I do not have the day to day struggles as those who battle breast cancer. I can train, fundraise and bring awareness to the cause. Watching my mother battle this disease for four years and losing several friends to breast cancer is the motivation that drives me to keep doing whatever I can.
Being a teacher, it is not easy to get the time to travel and participate, but being known as the “Pink Teacher” is fabulous! I do whatever I can to show my students that volunteering and supporting a cause that is near and dear to your heart is just as important as any math, science or reading test they may take. Working with the Youth Corps gives me the opportunity to work with kiddos who already believe this. If you have never taken a moment to talk with a 3-Day Youth Corps member, please do so this year. They are amazing kids with so much to offer.
I will continue to travel, and participate in, as many events each year as I can, until we find a cure.