Walk to end breast cancer: The Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Today’s post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Myrta Rivera, who passed away of cancer earlier this week. One of the best people I’ve ever known.

Cancer sucks. Fighting cancer is awesome. As a cancer survivor myself, I know all too well how important family, friends and community are to the journey. One of the greatest demonstrations of this community support is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk to end breast cancer.

Nicole Smith and Trish Vallieres (a breast cancer survivor herself), from Windsor, Ontario, completed the walk in San Diego, helping to raise more than $14,000. Awesome. After their journey, Nicole shared some of her thoughts about the experience. Here are some excerpts from her story:

“After months and months of training, fundraising and planning, we finally head out to San Diego to finish the last of our 3 day journey. What we couldn’t have known when we left was how this journey would change us…

…We got on one of the many shuttle buses parked out front with our 3 day packs and off we went to the Fairgrounds. When we pulled in to the parking lot, we just saw rows and rows of cars and buses. People were everywhere, and a WHOLE LOT of pink!!! We dropped our gear at our assigned trucks and made our way to the stage. What we didn’t know was that there were over 4000 walkers for San Diego so you can imagine how overwhelming it all was…

… There was a beautiful and emotional opening ceremony with flags being carried in to represent sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and the flags that represented hope, strength and courage. Kind of early to start with the water works but I think it just can’t be helped. And the walk is officially open now!…”

Through rain, tears, laughter, blisters, aches and pains, they walked on. Three days and 60 miles later, Nicole, Trish and the rest of the team crossed the finish line.

“Once the walkers gathered at closing ceremonies, the survivors walked in as a group. The 3 Day tradition is that every walker takes off a shoe and holds it up in the air in salute to the survivors. I guess you can’t understand how fitting that is until you’ve walked those 3 days…

…We were completely exhausted and emotionally drained. We sat quietly on the bus, each with our own private thoughts of what we had just accomplished, walking the entire 60 miles and fundraising over $14,000.00 as a team of 5 women…

…It was while sitting in our hotel room that night, all banged up and blistered that we all looked at each other and said “so, I think Arizona would probably be dryer.” How can we even contemplate doing this again so soon? Easy, there’s a saying in the 3 Day community, “I walk because I can’t walk away.” And it’s so true. All of those wonderful people that came out to cheer us on, that thanked us for walking, handed out treats and snacks. The man in the restaurant who’s daughter was just diagnosed. The “soldier guy” who’s just buried his wife. How can you not walk for them?!”

3-Day events are held in several cities in the US. Learn more about them and how to sign up on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day website.

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Josh is the creative force behind Badge of Awesome, where he noodles and doodles about life and the lessons learned from it. He's the author of Simply Blunderful and creator of The Overcoming Obstacles Toolkit.

4 thoughts on “Walk to end breast cancer: The Susan G. Komen 3-Day

  1. Nicole Smith says:

    Great article! And for anyone who has ever thought of doing this, DO IT!!! It will change you forever. It’s so much more than just raising the money and walking. It’s about a group of strangers taking a stand against this awful disease. It’s about feeling completely exhausted, like you can’t walk another mile and seeing a stranger step out into your path to give you a hug and thank you for walking. And above all else, it’s about hope. Hope for the survivors that we meet along the way, hope for the little girls cheering us on that one day they won’t have to worry about breast cancer.
    So get your shoes and sign up!! It’ll be a journey of a lifetime. 😉

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