March 15, 2011

One Year Later..

Wow. It's hard to believe it's been a year since I signed up for my first Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure. Notice I said first? Meaning there will be more. I'm sure of it. Although, not this year. What I didn't tell you before I made my 60-mile journey in October is that I was doing so with baby on board! My husband and I found out we were blessed with a little bundle of love in early August and by the time the big event rolled around, I was 18 weeks along. Maybe that's why I started slacking on my blog postings toward the end. Sorry about that.

They say better late than never, so here's a brief recap of my first 3-day experience:

Day one was exciting. Everything was new. Everyone was on an emotional high. It was cold, but that didn't matter. I remember looking forward to that first cheering station, and they didn't disappoint. Mom and me put one foot in front of the other and finished the day proud.

Day two was a challenge. Sleeping inside the Philly Convention Center (because of the poor weather) was warm, but not quiet. I didn't get much sleep even though I was tired. Regardless, I got through day two because I had supporters who came out and cheered me on!

Day three was fun. Yes, I was hurting. Yes, I was tired of walking. But you couldn't help to not feel the anticipation building for that finish line. Although the 3,000 plus walkers and crew finished at different times, it almost felt like we all did so together. We were a family with a bond stronger than I knew possible. I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes and flash backs of the last seven months....the training, the people we've lost, the generosity of strangers, friends and family alike who donated to the cause on my behalf... it all came flooding back.

We did it and I will never forget it. With a little one arriving any day now (ahhh!!!), I decided not to join the 2011 walk, but Mom and I are already committed for 2012 in DC. Who's with me?!

August 10, 2010

I'm Alive and Walking...Still

Hi friends! It's been awhile, I know. Where has the summer gone? I've been busy training, I know that much. Here's a little recap of what's been going on in my 3-day world....

I completed my first 10-mile walk with Mom in early July. It was tough, but we stuck it out. We even got the chance to "practice" using porta potties (above). We walked five miles in one direction down the C&O Canal path, stopped to split a hamburger and a Gatorade from the local "pub," which we enjoyed outside on the picnic tables (below) before making the trek back to our car.

The trail got a little boring because it was the same-old, same-old, but we kept ourselves entertained (for example, by taking silly pictures).

A week or two later, I got a surprise package in the mail. It was from my Dad who had made Mom and me shirts to wear on the walk (below). How wonderful! The package even had a letter of support from my Grandma! I've already been putting my bubblegum pink shirts to use training.

It says "60 miles to go" and is for us to wear on Day One!

A week or two after that, my brother and his girlfriend came up to visit. Us ladies walked six miles on Saturday and  the guys joined us for another six miles on Sunday! It felt really good to have so many supporters walking with me just because. 

This past Saturday, I joined an official Susan G. Komen training walk for a 13-mile adventure. Oh man, my feet were tired. Good news though, no blisters yet. Then on Sunday, my husband joined me for a six-mile walk to the local dairy farm and back. Stopping half way for ice cream sure makes the walk a tad more fun! Just saying.

And yesterday, I went out to get another pair of sneakers to start breaking in. I hear you want two pair for the 3-day and now is the time to start breaking in number two. I opted for a different brand and a half size bigger. I hope this will make my feet happier!

Needless to say, I've been a busy bee in my walking shoes and fanny pack! I laugh when Mom tells me she feels like Forrest Gump sometimes (but walking, not running). I can relate though. I've had a pretty good bit of quality time with trails and pavement this summer. But, we put one foot in front of the other, for hours on end, when neighbors are sleeping in on the weekend or relaxing after a day of work, all in hopes for a cure!

I promise not to disapear for so long again. With only two months to go, I'm sure I'll have many more stories to share about my experience and questions for you 3-day pros!

June 30, 2010


I have great news. I'm just going to blurt it out because I'm so excited. We (me and my uber fabulous girlfriends) raised $1,229 on Saturday night! Cha-ching!! You might remember me talking about my plans for our girls night out fundraiser in my last post and I have to say -- all the planning paid off.

So what made it so successful? All of the smiling faces above (minus the random dude who jumped in our photo). All of these ladies selflessly stepped up to support me and to help make a difference in raising awareness and funds to find a cure. Their caring, fun and outgoing personalities were a big reason for our success. It takes some guts to wear this kind of attire and to walk up to complete strangers to strike up a conversation. But, we did it and it worked!

We started our night around 7 p.m. at Ryleighs in Federal Hill, Baltimore (yes, I live in Philly, but I have a special spot in my heart for Baltimore where a few of my besties live). While we were having dinner, a few people took notice of our signs and approached us with donations. I even received $1 from a lady in the restroom! Ryleighs partnered with me and ran a shooter special (below) that brought in $300.

We then traveled around to six or seven more bars around Cross Street from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. to promote our cause and ask for donations. We met many generous people who pulled out $10 or $20 bills and shared heart-wrenching stories that proved how prevalent breast cancer is today. I knew we would run into a few negative nelly's, but thankfully those were few and far between.

This event has obviously been my biggest fundraising success to date and I think the key takeaway is to use your assets (no pun intended) wisely. What I mean is that a girls night out pub crawl fundraising event made perfect sense for me... given my age, my familiarity of the bar scene in Baltimore, and that I had a group of girls who were interested in helping me make a difference, etc. My mom, who works in a dentist's office, has done well in raising money by asking sales reps, other dentists and even some patients for their support. Others who have kids find success with lemonade stands or penny wars at the school, for example.

Together, Mom and I have to raise $4,600 to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure. And, with a little more than three months to go... we're only about $500 away from reaching this goal. YAY! I owe a big, huge, gigantic THANK YOU to all of my donors and especially to the eight ladies who helped rake in more than $1,000 in one girls are truly angels, thank you! XOXOXO 

June 24, 2010

Putting the FUN in Fundraising

I can't wait for this weekend! Saturday night is going to be a blast. Let me explain.

In early May, I sent all my girlfriends an e-vite to join me in my effort to raise $2,300 for the Susan G. Komen 3-day by going on a little pub crawl. How do I plan to raise money via pub crawl you ask? Similar to the Girl's Night Out fundraiser by Leanne...the walker. Me and eight of my super amazing girlfriends are going to hit the town sporting black t-shirts with hot pink bras overtop (thanks to inspiration from a pic on the Betties for Boobies blog). I think our "outfits" will help us stand out and show we're serious, not to mention that it will hopefully separate us from looking like just another bachelorette party.

I've been in touch with several bars in the area who are going to be running fun specials to support the cause. For example, one bar is going to donate $3 for every Shooter for Hooters we sell.  So our job is to have fun promoting the various specials while raising awareness and asking for additional monetary support. Sounds like a good time, right?!

I've been crafting this week in preparation. I made a few signs to hold up (like the one above that also has a statistic about breast cancer on the other side). I also decorated some shoe boxes and cut a hole in the top to serve as our collection "jar" for donations.

I'm so thankful for the support from the bars and my lady friends. For some reason, planning this fundraiser and looking forward to a fun girl's night out has made me appreciate even more how lucky I am to have the good health that enables me to live life on MY terms and not having to be at the mercy of doctors, nurses and chemotherapy appointments. I don't take a single day of health and happiness for granted.

Any last minute tips for a successful girl's night out fundraiser? Be sure to check back next week for results on how we do and some pics of course!

June 14, 2010

60 Miles is FAR!

As I start to increase my training miles, I'm realizing that 60 miles is a whole lot further than you think. After the 3-day, I will have finished close to two and a half marathons. I'll have walked the length of a football field 1,056 times. 60 miles is walking 3 miles an hour for nearly 24 hours. Planes usually fly at about 30,000 feet... 60 miles would be flying 316,800 feet in the air. It's slowly starting to sink in that this is a LONG walk and my body is going to be very tired. That's why I'm staying on top of my training.

This weekend we spontaneously packed our bags and headed to Penn State. It was a fun, unexpected trip. Some 40,000 students go to PSU, so you can imagine how big their campus is. The hubs and I went for a two and half hour walk around campus stopping only for water, stretching, bathroom breaks and of course photos with our favorite icons--the nittany lion (above) and Joe Pa (below)!

It was the first time I did 6 and 7 mile back-to-back walks. I feel really good. I haven't had any troubles with blisters or sore muscles. I can tell when I hit that 6th mile though... all the sudden my feet really start to feel it. I'm hoping that will get better as I get used to the longer distances. I rested today, but will do 3 miles tomorrow, some cross-training Wednesday and a long 6-mile walk on Thursday.

June 7, 2010

A Whole Lotta Feel Good

I decided to sign up for the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that I wanted to do my part to help find a cure, because I can't just sit back and hope for it (sadly, life doesn't afford us that kind of time).

But as I continue on my first 3-day journey, I realize how many more benefits there are to being a part of this bold event. None really compare to the biggie (raising funds and awareness to find a cure), but I can't help but to mention them.

Helping Others - How can you not feel good about doing something for someone else out of the own kindness of your heart? I personally haven't lost anyone to breast cancer, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to support those who are fighting the disease, those who have survived, or those who have lost their battle.

Getting Active - Training to walk 60 miles in three days is intense and takes months of dedication. I credit the 3-day for helping me get back on track with good nutrition and exercise. And I have to tell you, I feel great!

Making Great Memories - My amazing Mom is walking with me and in just one month, we've made some pretty priceless 3-day memories together. This weekend, we got decked out in pink with our Xtra Mile teammates for the 92.5 XTU Anniversary Show where we sold sling bags and raffle tickets for backstage passes to raise money for the walk.   

Mom and me doing our thing!

Seeing More of My Community - I'm still fairly new to the Philly suburbs and I've found that getting out for long training walks has led me to some pretty cool places I might not have visited otherwise. I really enjoy the mostly flat and scenic 6-mile loop at Peace Valley Park in Doylestown, PA. Last weekend, I went on the hilly 5-mile trail at Valley Forge National Park. Who knew there was so much beauty and history in my back yard?!

Here I am at Valley Forge practicing the "muscle" pose for my picture after crossing the 60-mile finish line! 

Meeting New Friends - I'm still kinda new to my community, I work from home and don't have any kids or pets. So, meeting new friends can sometimes be tricky. But not when you're a part of the 3-day! I joined a training walk yesterday and met a handful of new friends who I know I'll see again. It's also nice to have virtual, online friends who are there for you when you have a question or need that extra little bit of encouragement.

Learning Something New - If it weren't for the 3-day, I wouldn't have started this blog. Learning how to blog isn't rocket science exactly, but it's now another skill I have under my belt. I'm also using the 3-day as a way to learn more about other social media tools like Twitter and Facebook.

I praise the Komen foundation for creating an event that not only raises millions of dollars to help find a cure, but that gives so much more--a sense of hope, a chance to make a difference, a means to set and achieve personal goals, a reminder to be greatful, lots of inspiration.... I could go on and on, but I think you got me! :)

May 27, 2010

Fundraising Fever

With just a little more than four months to go until the Philadelphia 3-day, I’m happy to report that I’ve raised one-third of my $2,300 fundraising goal. Can I get a woo-hoo?!

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride, but I’m all strapped in for the long haul. My very first donation came (thanks to the facebook widget) from my Aunt Donna in Woodbridge, VA. She gave a generous $100, which really got me going. Instead of sending out letters to other friends and family right away, I started knocking on doors of local business. While explaining the 3-day to the lady at the front desk of my gym, a total stranger overheard me and put $10 cash in my hand right away. It was a pretty humbling experience. I think it’s hard to describe the feelings you get from pure kindness, but needless to say, I was on a high after leaving the gym that day.

Then I hit a little bit of a low. The melanoma surgery got me down. Fundraising ideas were spinning around in my head. I was reading all sorts of 3-day blogs about what my other walker "friends" were doing and I was stuck on the couch with the foot propped up. But I kept my chin up and made some plans. As I suspected, things slowly started to turn around again as more friends and family showed their support with donations.

Mom does have a PINK t-shirt on under that jacket.. it was just a chilly morning. ;-)

Mom and I raised about $400 with our garage and bake sales last weekend. Maybe not as much as I would have hoped, but every little bit helps, right? We had donuts and coffee donated to sell and we baked brownies, rice krispies treats (which were a big hit) and cookies. We also sold raffle tickets for a basket of goodies and donated gift cards. It was fun to spend time together. We learned a few things about what to do and not to do next time and we even brainstormed a few more ideas.

$1,560 to go! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!