60 miles in three days? You can do it. It will change your life. Just imagine for a moment, as the crowd gathers fast into a swirling sea of pink. Most of them are women. All of them are fighters. These thousands of people become a united force, everyone rallying for a common goal that makes each stranger into your friend: the fight to cure breast cancer.
In honor of the 3-Day events happening across the United States this year between July and November, I want to talk about one very important thing Susan G. Komen stands for and continues to strive toward: fighting and searching for the cure to breast cancer with a 60 mile walk. Just a few of this 3-Day Walk’s personal benefits include:
- Discover wonderful new friendships and stories.
- Given support from community members all along the walking course.
- Experience the thrill of the opening and closing ceremonies.
- Make a difference in the lives of MILLIONS of people.
As a walker in 2011 and the daughter of a walker in 2007, this phenomenal journey has led me to meet many incredible people. From young women walking for their mothers, middle-aged women walking for their friends, and older women walking for themselves, the participants are as diverse and extraordinary as their stories.
If you feel your spirits start to wane along the walk, there are numerous neighborhoods giving away candy, water, snacks, fun backdrops for photographs, and more. Well-wishers offer signs, smiles, and words of encouragement to everyone walking through the many cheering stations, too. The 3-Day is truly an event that includes everyone, from walkers and crewmembers, to passer-bys and those who live on the walker’s route.
My mother, in particular, was an incredible source of support, knowledge, and love. She came out to cheer for me, brought goodies for me, and supported me for all three phenomenal days. So many other friends and family members did the same for their walkers who undertook this wonderful challenge.
The opening and closing ceremonies are an experience you have to be a part of to truly believe. Everyone gathers to watch the breast cancer survivors raise their flags of courage and hope, determined to see a future without cancer. You receive a rush of excitement and energy to lead you through the rigorous three days of walking.
When you finally reach the finish line and enter the closing ceremony, you feel another rush of emotion, where everyone is riding a wave of high spirits and victory. The walkers march together into the winner’s circle, surrounded by music and cheers, to once again watch the ring of survivors raise their flags that keep the quest for a cure alive and vibrant. Nothing in the world quite compares to the emotional high experienced in the winner’s circle of the Breast Cancer 3-Day.
Even before you take your first step on the 3 day journey, you’ll discover that fundraising is an amazing experience in itself. You never realize how generous people can be until you reach out to them and they reach back for the purpose of ridding the world of cancer. So much can come from so few, and everyone you talk to has a story. Being hugged by a survivor you didn’t even know until that moment you told her your mission as a walker: it is priceless.
Training can be handled by anyone, so don’t let physical condition deter you at all. For those who sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all, the 3-Day provides what is called, “Sweep Vans.” They follow the walkers through every mile, cheering them on and picking up anyone who feels they need assistance to the next “pit stop” or check point where walkers can rest, eat, and drink.
A good friend and fellow walker told me, “Walk day one with your body, day two with your mind, and day three with your heart.” She is an amazing inspiration, having walked in the 3-Day for 11 years, and was a walking companion for me. What this means is that on the first day, the walker is fresh and ready for her challenge. She reaches the end of day one and is still in shape to face the next. Day two you must walk smartly, not letting yourself get too run down, or any blisters too big. Walk smart. Day three you must walk with courage and heart, because your body doesn’t have much more to give. But still, you press on, and all the love and support will see you through.
I can’t praise them enough for how supportive and organized the Susan G. Komen Foundation is in regards to the 3-Day walk. They give you seemingly endless resources, methods of fundraising, phone conferences, planning guides, and more.
For more information on how you can get involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk, visit The3Day.org. You’ll find amazing resources and guides on how to be a part of the breast cancer fight, whether you participate as a walker or crewmember, or simply want to donate. Be a part of something great, something you’ll never regret. This is your chance to join an experience of a lifetime.