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The Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk

One in eight women will develop breast cancer within their life.  This means that most of us will know someone directly (or ourselves) that is impacted by this terrible disease.  If I go out with a group of seven girlfriends to dinner, one of us will (statistically speaking) get breast cancer.  Behind skin cancer, it is the number two cancer in women.  This number seems crazy to me.  I have  THREE YOUNG friends who have had breast cancer.   

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According to breastcancer.org, about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

My friend Kristen is married to Tom, my husband’s roommate at Baylor for five years.  Five years ago, Kristen was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.  Today, she is five years cancer free from this terrible disease!  

Right after Kristen completed chemo, she decided that she wanted to participate in the three day Susan G. Komen walk in Chicago. Kristen’s good friend Amy and a few other girls all joined her.

Background info:  The Susan G. Komen foundation was established in 1982 after Susan Komen died of breast cancer at the age of 36.  The foundation raises money for breast cancer research, education, and screenings.  There used to be 14 cities that hosted 3 day walks that are big fundraisers for the organization.  Now there are only 7 cities that host them because of decline in donations.

Kristen had just finished chemo a few weeks earlier so the Chicago walk was a major accomplishment for her.  After Chicago, Kristen’s friend Amy urged her to walk all of the cities that hosted the 3 day Susan G. Komen’s walk.  Amy told Kristen that she would join her for these walks.

The next year, Amy’s sister Abby joined them for the walk in San Diego.  From then on, Kristen, Amy, and Abby have walked Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Dallas.  Other friends have joined the three in the different cities.  There are three walks left for the girls to complete, Atlanta, Michigan, and the Twin Cities.   

As of this year, Kristen alone has raised over $25,000 for breast cancer!  This does not include all of her teammates that each have raised at least $2300 during the walks they have completed.

My Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk Journey

After hearing about Kristen’s different walks over the years, I decided that I wanted to join her for the next one in Dallas.  

My expectations:

  1. I would have a great girl’s weekend supporting my friend Kristen and a good cause.  
  2. I would probably lose at least ten pounds from the walk because we would be walking sixty miles in three days.
  3. Walking twenty miles in a day would not be a big deal because I can easily walk five miles and it is walking, not running.
  4. We would knock out the twenty miles in a few hours and have the rest of the day to have fun.

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I told Kristen that I wanted to join the team.  What was the next step?

You register for the race and you must fundraise $2300 by the race.  

I showed up in Dallas this past Thursday ready to get this party started!  I packed my fanny pack, shoes, socks, and exercise gear.  Our team name was “Dallas or Bust” and Kristen designed two super cute shirts for us to wear.

Dallas or Bust Team:

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The Gear:

Monica and I were newbies and soon realized that Kristen, Amy, and Abby were pros.  This was their fifth race so they had the supply list down to an art.  

Essentials:

  1. A fanny pack:  Kristen and Amy had super fancy ones, with places to hold water bottles.

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2. Buttons:  You had to have cute buttons to put on your fanny pack and lanyard.  Different people sold these cute buttons throughout the race.  Amy immediately gave me a button to put on my fanny pack so that I wouldn’t stick out so much.

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3. A lanyard:  Susan G. Komen provided each walker with a lanyard.  The walkers information could be stored in their for the race officials to scan at the beginning and end of each day.  Race details (stops) were printed on small cards and could be store in the lanyards.

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4.Water bottles for hydration

5. Band-Aids for blisters

6. Vaseline for feet

7. Advil for sore body aches

8.Long cute socks with different sayings on them

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9. Chapstick

10. Speaker to hang off of fanny pack and listen to music

11. Poncho and ball cap in case it rains

The 3 Day Walk

The walk was an amazing experience.  If you are looking to do something that will rekindle your spirit and faith in mankind, this is something you need to do.  There are  different groups of people that participate in the event:  Walkers (many breast cancer survivors) and support crew.  The support crew was amazing.  These volunteers were in charge of making sure the race ran smoothly and safely.  These volunteers covered many jobs (medical staff, food service, traffic support, motivation, pit stop services, etc).  Most of these volunteers dressed up in whimsical outfits to keep the spirit upbeat during the weekend.  Kristen told me that all of the police officers that were helping at the difficult intersections were all volunteering their time!  

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EVERYTHING was about the boobs.  I have never seen so many bras, boob hats, and boob signs in the my life.  Breast cancer is a very serious problem but the race was a way to keep things light and have fun with everything boobie related.  

The people we met:

I knew that I would be touched by the event but until you experience it, you cannot understand what I mean.  There were lots of men on the walk (many dressed up in tu tu’s) showing their support for breast cancer.  These are husbands, dads, family members, and friends.  Breast cancer is not  just a “female problem.”  It everyone’s problem because these breast cancer survivors are  wives, mothers, family members, and friends.  The entire 60 miles was filled with miles of supporters cheering us on.  We would pass schools where kids would high five us and scream in support. I can’t tell you how many times people told us “Thank you so much for walking.”   Everywhere we went people were clapping and honking for us.  I secretly think they were relieved that it was us walking and not them!

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We met a man who carried a large flag with his wife’s picture on it.  The flag said “Cancer Widow.”  The man told us that his wife passed away last year at age forty nine of breast cancer.  She fought it for thirteen years and went through eight years of chemo.  She wanted to walk in all of the Susan G. Komen three day walks.  She completed several of them and her husband was there completing the three that she was not able to complete, Dallas, Atlanta, and San Diego.  

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There were a group of four sisters who walk in a different city every year.  The oldest sister was adopted as a baby.  When she was older, she located her birth mother.  Sadly, her birth mother had passed away six years earlier of breast cancer.  She reunited with her three sisters and every year they walk in a different city to honor their mother.

A woman walking past us had a sign on her back that read that she had fought breast cancer FOUR times.  She listed all of the things that she had gone through (treatments) in this fight.  Wow!  What an inspiration!!!!  

My friend Kristen is an inspiration.  She is a very kind and selfless person.  She is alway doing for others.  Although she is cancer free, she still has to take medicine that is a constant reminder of her diagnosis.  As she told me on the walk, “I’m not going to complain about the medicine because if it keeps me alive longer so I can be with my husband and my son, I’ll take it!”  She was asked to be one of the survivors on the stage for the opening and closing ceremonies.

The things learned from the past:

Kristen and Amy camped the first walk in Chicago.  They learned that camping was not for them after walking twenty miles a day.  They now get hotel rooms to make the experience more fun!  I love camping but completely agree.  Camping and not being able to have a long hot bath after each day’s walk would have been hard.

The walking is important but so is the team comradery.  Each day for lunch, we stopped at a restaurant to take a break and have a nice margarita or glass of wine.  This gave us something to look forward to around mile twelve.  Our body’s seemed to hurt less after the margaritas.  

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Having family and friend support is awesome!  Kristen said that the husbands usually travel with the girls when they walk in the different cities.  The girls get to bond during the walk and the husbands get to bond over a game of golf.  The ladies and men meet up at night to have a nice dinner.  During our walk, several family and friends of our team came out to cheer us on.  These appearances made a huge difference!  It meant so much to all of us!  One of Amy’s friends met us along the route and delivered Starbucks coffee to our team (how amazing is that!)  I know that I have a great husband but this weekend just exemplified it.  Brad and the kids drove to Dallas on Friday.  They cheered me on Saturday at one of the stops and at night, made sure that I was comfortable after walking twenty miles.  He kept telling me how proud of me he was that I was doing this and asked me a million times how I was doing. My body was sore but this was NOTHING compared to what breast cancer survivors have to go through. dallas 2

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Hide your cell phones if you are walking.  You will get yelled at by a safety person if they see you texting and walking.  I got yelled at once.  

If the race volunteers tell you that you have three miles until the next pit stop, it means you really have five.  If they tell you that you have one mile to go, you really have at least two.  The joke is that a “Komen mile” is not the same as a regular mile.  I just stopped listening to people and the milage because they were just lies.  Ha!

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In conclusion:

This weekend was an amazing experience.  The girls on the team are the sweetest girls and I am honored that I got to be apart of the team.

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Every dollar raised for breast cancer is a step closer for finding the cure to breast cancer. It could be us, our mother, our sisters, or our friends.  I want to do something now because if it ends up being me, I want to know that there are people searching feverishly for a cure!  The support crew and people cheering us on were so wonderful.

Back to my expectations for the weekend walk:

  1. I would have a great girl’s weekend supporting my friend Kristen and a good cause:  Yes!  The weekend was amazing! I think the ladies are going to Michigan next so I hope that I am able to go with them!  

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  1. I would probably lose at least ten pounds from the walk because we would be walking sixty miles in three days. (HA HA HA!!!…the girls all laughed when I told them this…) Between the million pieces of candy that you get along the way, the large lunch you eat, and then the huge dinner and drinks (because you just walked twenty miles and can eat and drink anthing)…I ended up gaining.  How sad…I walked sixty miles and gained weight.
  2. Walking twenty miles in a day would not be a big deal because I can easily walk five miles and it is walking, not running.  HA HA HA.  Walking twenty miles a day IS VERY HARD.  My hips hurt like crazy around mile ten and my knees hurt around mile fifteen.  By mile seventeen, my body had enough.  I can’t believe that my thirty-seven year old body felt like I was really eighty by the end of the twenty miles.  Day two is hard because your body still hurts and you have to do twenty more.  By day three, your body starts to get used to it.

12200974_10207203887632232_581396237_n4. We would knock out the twenty miles in a few hours and have the rest of the day to have fun. HA!  You can’t walk as fast as you would like after twenty miles.  At the end of the days, we were exhausted and the “partying” that I thought would happen didn’t.  HA!

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Why is the walk so important along with your donation?

First, thank you so much to everyone who has donated to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk on Kristen or her team member’s behalf.  Your donations are making a difference.  More women are able to have mammograms because of your donation.  More medical research towards gaining a cure is being done because of your donation.  The walk raises awareness of this terrible disease and allows for people to gather and show support for ending breast cancer.  Tomorrow you, your mother, your sister, your neighbor, or your friend could get the breast cancer diagnosis. 

My question for you is this:  Who is ready to help support next year’s 3 Day Susan G. Komen’s walk?

If you would like more information about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk, click here.

 

I’m going to leave you with  pictures of a couple of funny places we pasted along the walk.  We walked in the fancy Highland Park area and then other parts of Dallas that weren’t as fancy. 

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