Sunday, August 23, 2009

Talk To Me Tuesday (Karen Shoemaker)

Okay guys - I'm in a different state, enjoying the last days of summer - but since I love you so much (and the 3-Day) I will post another walker interview! Up to bat is Karen Shoemaker, a two time Tampa walker. She will walk in Tampa for a third time at the end of October.

Karen at the 2008 3-Day

Q1: What is your connection to Breast Cancer?

Karen says:
I originally started walking for my aunt, who, at the time, was a 5 year survivor. Unfortunately, her cancer spread to her bones and brain this past June and she passed away on July 4. The day after I signed up to do the 2007 event, my other aunt was diagnosed. She is now a 2-year survivor!

Karen's team wore "Super K" flags to honor a team mate

Q2: Can you describe some of your 3-Day experiences for us?

Karen says:
My first 3-Day experience was not at all what I expected. I had pored through all of the information I could find on it, and it's something that just can't be adequately described by reading about it. Our first night was stormy so we were relocated to a parking garage, but the rest of the event went off without a hitch. I came away with some pretty sore feet but nothing too bad.

The second year was WONDERFUL. I was asked to carry the flag honoring my aunt in the ceremonies and again was in awe. By the second year, I knew a lot of people and it was nice to reconnect with them. The energy on event is fantastic and I love the feeling of accomplishment that each person who participates in the event, whether walker or crew, comes away with. My most poignant memory is from 2007, where this bald little lady in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank was sitting by the side of the road with a simple sign saying, "Thank You". It still makes me tear up thinking about it. The BEST parts are the cheering stations and I hadn't realized that the first year- they are so helpful in getting you a bit further than you thought you could go.

Karen (front row, second from right) and her team at the finish line!

Q3: Why do you keep coming back to do walk?

Karen says:
I love the energy and excitement, I love the kindness that is shown to others, and I love the fact that I feel like I'm making a difference.

Q4: What have you learned from your experience on the walk?

Karen says:
I've learned that I CAN use a port-a-potty! The most important thing that I have learned, after coming into this a bit skeptical about raising the money, is how KIND people can be, and how generous they are after they find out what you are doing.

Q5: What advice do you have for new walkers?

Karen says:
Enjoy every step! This event has the potential to change your life. Not just the event itself but the training, the fundraising, bonding with your team and finding new friends. It is just amazing.

Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your insight with us. We wish you the best of luck in your training and on your walk!

Now, we have to say...
Good luck, Denver!
And good luck to LeAnne, Shannon, and Sandy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talk To Me Tuesday (LeAnne Bright)

How did it go, Michigan? Did you rock it? I'm sure you did. I realized (a bit too late) that my husband was only *miles* down the street from you all on Friday while at a wedding! I gave him strict orders to honk at anything pink when he was traveling to the airport!

Okay, ladies and gents, on with our next interviewee! LeAnne Bright is a two time walker AND two time crewer. (Yes, "crewer" is a new word in my 3-Day dictionary. Deal with it.) This year, she adds Denver to her walker list, and Atlanta to her crew list. She has a great
personal website you can visit to read about her past walks and get a little inspiration!

LeAnne (in the middle) on her fist walk in '06

Q1: Why did you join the 3-Day?

LeAnne says:

I had done many walks in the past for MS and March of Dimes and coming home from work in July of 2005 I heard the 3 Day commercial on the car radio and knew I had to do this walk in Memory of my grandmother. I signed up with 3 months before the walk and was able to not only meet the $2100 minimum, but beat it by $400. Since 2005, I participate each year in the Breast Cancer 3 Day event to honor the memory of Leah Young (my grandmother). She was a strong woman, taken by breast cancer at the age of 45 when my mother was teen.

Q2: Describe some of your 3-Day experiences.

LeAnne says:
Let's see, in 2005 (my first walk) I came home with the feeling that the 3 day was the hardest, yet most fulfilling, spiritual weekend that I had ever experienced! Between the emotional highs of the cheering sections, the pain and agony of the blisters, tender ankle...Not knowing if I had the strength to carry on.....I met so many wonderful women and men(walkers, crew, survivors), learning the reasons for their journey..... its an experience that is really hard to put in words with all of the different emotions that run through you during the course of 3 days. Let's put it this way - two days after coming home, still unable to walk without a limp, in the process of losing my left big toenail and two blisters the size of silver dollars on each foot healing - I signed up to do the walk again for 2006!!!!

Crewing in pink hair!

Q3: Do you have any fundraising tips?

LeAnne says:

I don't work for a large company, or even have a large "network of friends/family" ...I've signed up each year as a "lone" participant and the biggest tip I can give for fundraising is "Don't be afraid to ask!! All they can say is "No".

(And, I wanted to add that LeAnne has awesome pink ribbon gear on her site, and came up with a great idea to let her supporters "Adopt A Mile.")

This is one of the shirts you can get from LeAnne!

Q4: Why do you keep coming back to do more walks?

LeAnne says:

I keep coming back because I want to make a difference..I'm a "small part" of the 3 day, but, with all of our "small parts" we can make a "huge" difference. As long as my body allows me, I will continue to participate with the 3 Day event either as a crew member or as a walker.

So that's all from LeAnne. I have to admit, I really wanted to get this post out today because LeAnne walks this Friday -- and she could really use your support. Please check out her website to learn how you can help her out! (There *might* be an MP3 player in it for you!)

Before I forget,
Hey, Twin Cities, tear it up!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Talk To Me Tuesday (Shannon Davis)

Howdy, everyone!

So, we have done Boston, Chicago, and Cleveland! And I have seen some great pics up on facebook and some awesome recaps like the ones here, here, and here. (If you have a blog post recap, please feel free to add you link in the comments for us to view!) It is getting me really excited for my walk, and there are still 3 more cities that will surely finish up August with a bang!

Today I have an interview from Shannon Davis. She is an incredible woman, with incredible perseverance and determination. Want proof? Even the media has picked up on her story! She walks in Denver at the end of August.

Wow, Shannon is looking great! This is after loosing 189 pounds!

Q1: What is your connection to breast cancer?

Shannon says:
My connection to breast cancer is my Mom is a survivor. She was diagnosed in 1991, and again in 1996, and is now cancer free. On top of that, I took time to really take care of her and my family. But, I lost track of me, who I am, who I wanted to be. I let myself go, and I ended up weighing 525 pounds. I started to feel terrible, feeling my heart pound, and not being able to really walk. I was working and sitting that is about it. I saw a story on breast cancer, and realized that not only am I high risk because of my Mom. But, also because of my weight. I had to do something.. AND why not cap it off by doing something big. At first I couldn't walk a quarter mile. I have now walked 18 on my best day!

This is Shannon's "before" picture.

Q2: As a first time 3-Day walker, what is the best part of your experience so far?

Shannon says:
Meeting my 3day sisters and brothers online. From across the US!! We all have incredible stories, we all have something to share and say.. They have taught me so much about what this walk means... What it is to be apart of this walk. Lastly they have taught me that I have found my family I had been looking for. I haven't met a walker that I didn't just find a spot for in my heart.

The 3-Day is more than a walk. You join a group of people who will do anything for you. They will cheer you when you are at the lowest. They will be your most trusted advisors. Most importantly they will become a part of your life forever. Their stories become a part of who you are. I haven't even walked yet, and I can tell you the people I have met in person and online will be in my life for the rest of my life.

An amazing table Shannon and her team set up at a fundraiser.

Q3: What has this experience taught you?

Shannon says:
I have learned so much about myself. I am a strong woman, who can make amazing and incredible things happen. One step at a time, I am changing who I am, my life, and in the process I am impacting the lives of women around the world. The impact and feeling of that statement alone... WOW!!!! Most importantly KNOW YOU RISK FACTORS! Learn how you can change them or better your own odds.

She couldn't walk 100 yards, now she can't sit still!

Q4: How have you made an impact?

Shannon says:
My impact would have to be on my niece. I see her and know she is walking down a road that has made me very heavy. She sits and watches TV and doesn't move around much at 10. She'll do anything to help someone. But, when she doesn't have that she just sits. I have taken her on many walks. She wants to be a 3day walker, and she wants to keep moving. Lastly, I got press about my weight loss. TONS of people have told me I have inspired them to move. If I can change my life anyone can.

There is part of Shannon's story. If you want to learn more about her story, make sure you check out the article that was in the news. Thanks for the fantastic dose of inspiration, Shannon! Enjoy your will be forever addicted!

Oh, one more thing...
Good luck, Michigan!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Talk To Me Tuesday (Sandy Roberts)

It is late Tuesday night here in DC (well, technically super early on Wednesday, but I'm still up, so it doesn't count.) We are slowly creeping closer to our walk date, but Cleveland and Boston have already done their 60 miles and raised tons of money! Chicago is up next, so if you are in Chi-town, get out your pink boa's and get out to cheer for those walkers!

Okay, Now, on to our interview! It comes from one of my new facebook 3 Day friends, Sandy Roberts. Sandy walked in Dallas last year and is walking in Denver at the end of this month. Her team is named Sisters Walking 60, as she walks with her sister who is a cancer survivor.

Sandy (right) with her sister, Rita, at a pit stop

Question 1: What is your connection to breast cancer?
Sandy says:
My sister, who is also my team mate, is a 9 year survivor. When our mom was diagnosed with bladder cancer 2 years ago' Rita decided she wanted to do the 3day walk in honor of mom and also in honor of Rita being a Breast Cancer Survivor. She asked me to join her and I did not hesitate to say "yes".

We chose Dallas as our walk site in 2008 in hopes that mom would be at the finish line to cheer us in. As fate would have it mom's cancer returned just 4 weeks prior to the walk and she was undergoing treatment and was too weak to be at the finish line in body but she was certainly there in spirit. Mom is once again in remission and we pray it will be a long remission this time, her first one was 14 months long.

Sandy walking across the finish line!

Question 2: Can you tell us a little about you 3 Day experience?
Sandy says:
We met some of the nicest people. Whenever we would see a 3day walker walking alone my sister and I would step along side of them and ask them their story. We met a man who was walking in honor of his wife who had died 5 years earlier from Breast Cancer, he walks in her memory. He has a 14 year old son who he hopes will join him in the walk one day.

There was a woman from Oklahoma City who was doing the walk and she was red tagged by medical on day one and the only way she could complete the walk was from a wheelchair, she was in the fighting breast cancer and was in the fight of her life. She died 3 days following the completion of the 2008 walk and left a young son and husband behind. It was her wish to do the walk, it was the memory she wanted to leave, she never gave up the fight. She actually got to push her wheelchair across the finish line with a medical person by her side, what a tribute she was to this cause.

Rita and Sandy give hi-fives to finishing walkers

Question 3: What have you learned from your 3 Day experience?
Sandy says:
I learned from all the stories I heard and all the people I met that the walk is not about me walking, it is about the lives this disease affects, because when a person is diagnosed it affects not only them but their families and friends. When one person gets cancer an entire family gets it.

Walking, walking, walking. All in 3 days work!

Question 4: What has been your contribution to the cause?
Sandy says:
I hope I am making a difference by getting the word out there. Because of walks like the Susan G. Komen 3day, great strides are being made towards finding a cure. Because of early diagnosis, free mammograms, and just plain ole awareness, Breast Cancer is no longer a death sentence like it was some 20 years ago. There are now more survivors than ever, treatments are better with less side effects and women are no longer ashamed to say they have breast cancer. I can remember when you whispered those words. I hope, I make a difference by telling women to get yearly exams and to listen to their bodies and if a doctor does not pay attention to what you are saying, get a new doctor.

Thanks so much, Sandy! I am so happy to have "met" you via facebook and had the chance to witness your great spirit and devotion. You rock! know what I'm gonna say....

Blow them away, Chicago!
(sorry for the punny Windy City reference, but it had to be done.)