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One Girl's Life Changing Experience at the Susan G Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

Updated on February 5, 2010
Your feet will probably be saying: "What in the heck did you sign us up for?!?"
Your feet will probably be saying: "What in the heck did you sign us up for?!?"

When a friend of mine suggested doing the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk, I never thought I would actually go through with it, much less have such a life changing experience. I have a family history of breast cancer so promoting breast cancer awareness and raising money for the cause were my main motivations. From the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony, each day was packed full of inspiration - from the husbands walking for their wives to the rabid cheering stations to the survivors themselves hoofing it 60 miles along with the rest of us.

There is a lot of information out there about the 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk, but I wanted to share my experience, talk about some tips and things I wish I would have done and hopefully inspire you to take this journey for yourself!

About Susan G. Komen and the 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is the largest breast cancer charity in the world. The organization was started in honor of Susan Goodman Komen who died from breast cancer in 1980 - her younger sister, Nancy Brinker, began the charity in 1983 to raise awareness for breast cancer so other families didn't have to go through the same thing. Komen has raised over $1.5 billion dollars for breast cancer research and education - among their many functions, they lobby government for additional funding for breast cancer research and also put on many events like the 3 Day Walk and the Race for the Cure all over the world.

The first Breast Cancer 3 Day was in 2003 and now takes place in over 15 cities through the U.S. Each participant walks 60 miles over a three day period and commits to raising $2,300 for Susan G. Komen. More than $400 million has been raised from the 3 Day event alone since the first event. Hundreds of volunteers help create this event - from pit stops and snack stations to the tent city that the walkers sleep in at night, the Breast Cancer 3 Day takes a lot of preparation!

The Importance of Training

Training is so essential in preparing for the Komen 3 Day. I didn't train nearly as much as I should have, and those who did seemed to experience less problems with blisters and other ailments than I did. Susan G. Komen provides a training program, resources and support in order to get you ready to walk 20 miles a day for three days - it is no easy feat!

Training is not only good for the actual physical fitness you will need for the walking, but also to test out your equipment - make sure your fanny pack (yes, I said fanny pack!) fits correctly and doesn't bother you when you walk. Also, breaking in your shoes is important. I would suggest going to a local running store and getting fitted specifically for this event. You will go through a few pairs training and you will need two broken in pairs for the actual event.

This is where signing up with a group of friends come in handy. Being accountable to your friends during the training - especially during the LONG walks - is essential to your success!

What to Bring: The Essentials

The Komen folks will tell you exactly what to bring, including water, Bandaids, etc., but here are a few things that you might not think about that really made walking easier for me over the course of the three day event.

A second pair of socks. There was no better feeling at lunch time than to switch out your socks that you had worn all morning for a fresh, dry pair. This keeps you from getting blisters and also puts an extra pep in your step to keep plugging along in the afternoon.

A portable radio. They don't allow iPods or headphones of any kind, but I always tried to stick close to the groups that had a portable radio hanging off their backpacks. It breaks up the monotony of the day and injects some fun and comaraderie into the event!

Blister/Gel bandages. I used petroleum jelly, Body Glide, gel bandages and moleskin throughout the walk. Any time I felt a "hot spot" or place where I knew there was a lot of friction, I would treat the area with one of these things in order to reduce friction. While the best way to prevent this is to have the correct footwear, most everyone will get a blister or two during the 3 Day.

Lancing needles and alcohol pads.There are medical stations along the way, but usually they are jam packed with people experiencing crazy blisters or exhaustion. I treated blisters myself using small lancing needles like diabetics use for getting blood samples. Alcohol pads were just to make sure the area was clean (let's just be clear - I am not even close to being a doctor so this is not medical advice, just something I did to make sure my blisters didn't get worse) All I did was lance the blisters in order to drain them, not expose the skin underneath.

A fanny pack with two water bottles. The fanny pack I used had places for two water bottles, which came in handy to keep one full of water and one full of Gatorade. The temperature varied widely during November when I was walking and I wanted to prevent dehydration, but I don't love the taste of Gatorade so switching off was perfect!

The Experience of a Lifetime

Hands down, my 3 Day experience totally changed my life. At every cheering station, there were people genuinely thankful for us walking to raise awareness for breast cancer. The stories we heard along the way about breast cancer survivors inspired me take another step even when I thought I was done.

The experience of thousands of people marching through a city with one goal in mind was powerful and knowing that we raised almost $8 million for the cause was a wonderful reward after a long weekend. Even if you don't think you can do a 3 Day, I assure you that you can. People from all walks of life, ages, fitness levels were participating and making the statement that we can change the world just by walking!

There are volunteer opportunities as well - there were dedicated people at each rest stop helping to get us water and food, make sure we were feeling OK, offering medical attention and, most importantly, words of encouragement.

An Inspiration: One Group's 3 Day Journey in Dallas

Support Breast Cancer Research

Breast cancer awareness is essential to finding a cure for this disease that takes the lives of our mothers, our sisters, our wives, our grandmothers, our friends every single year.

There are many ways to support breast cancer research and one of those ways is to purchase items with the pink ribbon on them that indicate that a portion of their proceeds with go toward breast cancer research. Every little bit helps!


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    • commisioner profile image

      commisioner 8 years ago from florida

      although i am active in the vfw who donates regularly to cancer aid and research, i also had the opportunity to work at a printing concern who did flyers for a woman by the name of nancy nick. her father, john, died of breast cancer a few years after a radical mastectomy. after he was diagnosed with the disease, he tried to go on the walks and was denied. men's breast cancer was not discussed or even acknowledged during his short life after he got the cancer.

      i am fully aware of the devastation cause by this disease and hope someone finds a cure. please be aware that men can also get this horrible disease and it has the same trauma on a family as a woman getting it. lets all hope the billions raised are not in vain

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Excellent Hub! Above all the most important here is the life lesson. Giving voluntarily for a good cause is a way to spread love for the human race. It is born from the heart! It is willed! That is why it is so wonderful! I always say, there isn´t a greater satisfaction than that of giving with a heartfelt attitude.

      Thumbs up!

      warm regards and blessings,


    • Megavitamin profile image

      Megavitamin 8 years ago

      Great hub! I participated in the 3-Day two years in a row, and your article really highlighted the experience. Your advice on what to carry was especially great. The first year I completed the 3-Day was in Philly and it rained almost the entire time. It was pretty rough, but I somehow avoided blisters. The second time was in Arizona (I knew there'd be no rain there!) and I ended up with a ton of blisters! Oh well, it was still an inspirational experience both times.


    • profile image

      mri optimize 8 years ago

      For the 7 serious questions on what to ask your Breast MRI Imaging Center, visit the domain above. If they cannot answer the questions with a "yes", go elsewhere!

    • profile image

      kathy willmington Australia 8 years ago

      Wow! Fabulous story - thank you so much for your efforts - I survived breast cancer and medical technology is just fabulous and we have angels working the medical system globally. Love your enthusiasm and your support to such a great cause, women all over the world like me appreciate your efforts sincerely.

      5 years on - still suffer some lymph and breast swelling and pain - every day I know that I am lucky to have survived and this pain is a reminder of how fortunte I am. I say a prayer to other women who were not so blessed- and with groups all over the world raising awareness we can hopefully one day find a Cause and Then a Solution and thus conquer this disease!


    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 8 years ago

      Meghan - Awesome hub, terrific story. An inspiration to so many. You did a great job on this one. You should be proud. Congratulations on your nomination.

      Great Job and welcome,


    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      Excellent hub, very well written with tons of information. Congratulations on the nomination. Thanks for your involvement in such an important cause.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Great information on how to be prepared to participate in a great event for a great cause. Some of which I would have never thought about. I can see why it was chosen for the HubNugget Wannabes. Congratulations and good luck in the nomination!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Well done! I take cancer patients for their treatment for Radiotherapy as a volunteer. Thanks to people like you MOST women survive breast cancer! x

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 8 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Great information and I'll pass it along to my girlfriend that is doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, which she is training for now. It's not quite as long a walk, but 40 miles over 2 days is still tough and she is very excited about it.

      Congrats on finishing the walk and for this hub being nominated as a hubnugget.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      a good cause and a good woman, Maita

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Wonderful Hub, inspiring and informative. Congrats on your Hub nomination.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Great hub. What a tough thing to do, but you accomplished your goal. The end paragraph made it sound all so worthwhile.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hello Meghan. Walking for 3 days is no easy feat and you survived...woohoo...and then share the experience to the world. We learn much of the capabilities of the human spirit as well as the generosity and love that we foster for one another.

      Also I am super duper happy to be the bearer of good news. You are a Hubnuggeteer! A Hubnugget Wannabe! YES, your hub got picked!!! Go check it out by following this link:

      Be sure to vote and promote your hub (email your friends, facebook or myspace it-just no spamming the hubpages forums :)! Enjoy the Hubnuggets! Best of luck!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 8 years ago from NJ, USA

      Excellent hub and a worthy cause! I am walking in the 'relay for life' for the American Cancer society!

    • profile image

      sophs 8 years ago

      Brilliant hub, thanks for sharing :)

    • alexandriaruthk profile image

      alexandriaruthk 8 years ago from US

      wonderful share enlightening, thank you