Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Walks

3-Day Walk Survivors
3-Day Walk Survivors. Wendy Bumgardner © 2001

About the Events: The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Walks are challenging and exciting events held in multiple US cities each year to benefit breast cancer causes. Walkers are challenged to walk approximately 20 miles a day for three days. They camp out each night in a tent city. All meals, snacks, and trail support are provided. Each walker must raise a minimum of $2300 in donations to participate.

Dates and Locations:
Atlanta: Oct 16-18, 2015 | Oct. 7-9, 2016
Dallas/Fort Worth:  Nov. 6-8 , 2015 | Nov. 4-6, 2016
San Diego: Nov. 20-22, 2015 | Nov. 18-20, 2016
Michigan: Aug. 5-7, 2016
Twin Cities: Aug. 19-21, 2016
Seattle: Sep. 16-18, 2016
Philadelphia Oct. 14-16, 2016

There will be no walks in 2015-16 in these former locations: Tampa Bay, Arizona, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington DC.

Registration: The registration fee is $90. Register online or by mail. Once registered you will receive your training packet and be assigned to a coach. Orientation sessions are held in the walk cities, and walk training groups are held in many locations. The event is open to both men and women, age 16 and above. Minors must participate with their parent or legal guardian.

All walkers are required to have health insurance during the event.

Donations: Each walker must collect $2300 in donations in order to participate.

Donations may be collected by cash, credit card, or check. Each participant can set up a personal web page on the 3-Day Walk site to make it easy to collect donations online. Walker coaches provide advice on how to host a fundraising party and how to ask for donations. The Susan G Komen for the Cure organization disburses the funds to worthy breast cancer charities.

Training: Walking for 20 miles a day for three days is a very challenging endurance event. Proper training is necessary, similar to training to walk a marathon. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure provides training advice, group training walks, and a coach to assist walkers in their training and in selecting the right clothing, shoes, and gear.

Walking the Event: The event provides full support during the walk - marked trail, stops every 2-3 miles for water, sports drink, snacks. Lunch on the route. First aid and blister care. Sweep vans patrol the route looking for walkers who need assistance. Walkers may end their day's walk at any of the stops along the way and be taken to camp. There is no penalty for failing to complete the total distance each day, and for safety's sake people should not overextend themselves.

Camping: Each day ends at camp where hot showers and a hot meal are provided. Walkers are assigned to 2-person tents. Each walker provides his/her own sleeping bag and pad. Clothing and gear are transported for the walkers, but there are weight limitations.

Each evening there is entertainment. Walkers are encouraged to stay at camp rather than arrange other accommodation.

Crew: The event depends on volunteer crew members to support the walkers in everything from setting up the camp, serving the walkers at the stops on the route, marking the route, serving meals, patrolling the route, etc. Crew members also register for $90 and are provided the same meals and camping accommodations as the walkers.

Charity: Eighty-five percent of the net proceeds from the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Walks goes to the foundation activities, building awareness and raising funds for breast cancer research and community outreach programs since 1982. Fifteen percent of the net proceeds benefit the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT). These funds will establish the NPT Breast Cancer Fund, which will provide long-term support for breast cancer initiatives including research, treatment, prevention and education.

Step By Step on a 3-Day Walk:

I walked two 3-Day Walks - in Washington DC and in Seattle and crewed once in Seattle. Each is a treasured experience. These are by far the best organized walking events I have done, and the spirit is incredible.

Before my first walk, I had many readers hungry for details about the 3-Day format. So on my walks I took many photos and detailed exactly what to expect when.

Step By Step on a 3-Day Walk

Since writing the Step-By-Step, the 3-Day Walk changed from being sponsored by Avon and conducted by Pallotta TeamWorks to being sponsored by Susan G Komen for the Cure and conducted by Kintera, Inc. I have every confidence that some of the best people from the former organizations are now working with Kintera and Susan G Komen for the Cure and the format for the events remains essentially the same. Each year there may be some minor changes and improvements.

Incredible Spirit
Many people, like me, found the 3-Day Walk to be an inspiring and even life-changing event. We came to the walk for various reasons - to fight breast cancer, to do a challenging walk, etc. While at the event we encountered Human Kindness on a level often missing in daily life. While we were hot, exhausted, and foot sore, we were there together, for each other, and being pampered by the volunteer crew who were likewise hot, exhausted, and footsore! Whining is not allowed. Unkindness is not allowed. Tears of joy and hugs are allowed.

Incredible Good
For the final walk into the finish, cheered by our friends and relatives, we each felt we had really DONE SOMETHING. And unlike the marathons I've done - not for myself, but for every woman and man who is touched by breast cancer. At each closing ceremony, a huge check was presented to a medical research center or community outreach group for the fight against breast cancer. Can we change the world by walking? Yes.

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