Jana McBroom has participated in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day in Washington, DC for several years. This year she sported an Erin's Dream Lanyard and has kindly agreed to be a guest blogger. Thank you Jana for all the hard work you do!!
I recently returned from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day in Washington, DC (www.the3day.org). At this event, the participants walk 60 miles over the course of 3 days to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The “3-Day” is held in 14 cities across the United States.
This was my third year participating in this event. The first two years I participated as a walker. This year I decided to see the event “from the other side” and participated as a crew member. I also thought it would be fun and interesting to go to one of the other cities, so I chose Washington, DC. The DC event had approximately 2,000 walkers and 350 crew members.
As a crew member, I was placed on a “pit stop” crew. The route is well marked for the walkers with stops every 2-3 miles. Pit Stops have water, Gatorade, snacks, medical (to treat blisters or any other issues) and the beloved Porta Potties. There are also stops called “Grab and Go’s” which have only water/Gatorade and the Porta Potties.
I arrived in DC on Thursday, October 7 at about 12:30. I was picked up by a friend who had arrived earlier. We headed to our hotel to drop off our bags and then went to a Crew Meeting that lasted the rest of the afternoon. We headed back to our hotel and had dinner and then it was early to bed in preparation of a 3:30 a.m. wake up call.
On Friday, October 8, the bus picked us up at our hotel and we headed to Opening Ceremonies at the stadium of the professional baseball team the Washington Nationals. My friend was on a medical team so we separated early. My crew left the stadium at about 5:00 a.m and headed to our first stop which was a park in downtown DC. We set up our tables and refreshments and waited for the walkers to arrive.
The walkers are totally amazing. All shapes, sizes, ages, genders. They come in costumes. They wear signs stating who they are walking in memory or in honor of. There are breast cancer survivors. There are people that are currently undergoing cancer. There was a man with one leg. There was a man dressed like Santa Claus. They are all there for a reason and it is most interesting to visit with the walkers and find out what brought them to the 3-Day.
After our pit stop closed, we had lunch and headed to a later pit stop to help them. Then we headed to camp. Traffic was not kind in DC, and camp was held a ways out of town in Germantown. We did not arrive at camp until close to 7 p.m.
Camp is an experience not to be missed. A sea of small pink pup tents. A giant dining tent. Showers in 18-wheelers. An area called “Main Street” where you can charge your cell phone, get a back or foot massage, or email home. The dining tent each night has entertainment. This year, there was karaoke on Friday night and a dance party to close the evening. On Saturday evening we had a special surprise with country singer Candy Coburn singing “She’s a Pink Warrior” and then Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Saturday night also closed with a dance party. Believe it or not, after walking 40 miles, the walkers still have the energy to get up and dance!
Lights out comes at 9:00 each evening. Sleeping in a two-person pink tent is an experience not to be missed! Luckily we were blessed with wonderful weather the entire weekend. The alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. both nights.
Saturday our crew left camp at 5:15 and headed to our location. We set up our stop and waited for the walkers. Once our stop closed, we took a little ice cream break and headed to a grab & go to help them. We got back to camp earlier on Saturday and got to have showers before dinner!
Sunday we left camp again at 5:15 and headed to town to set up our pit stop. After all the walkers came through, we tore down our stop and had lunch. Then we were able to head to the closing ceremony site. Closing in DC was held at the Washington Monument. Such an amazing backdrop for an amazing experience!
The closing ceremony is a very moving event. The speaker talks to the crowd, and then the walkers all march in together – 2,000 strong. They all wear the “victory shirt” that they receive at the end of the walk. The walkers have on white, the cancer survivors, pink, and the crew, grey. They hold up one shoe as a salute to the brave people battling breast cancer.
The event is exhausting and overwhelming, but it is in my blood. I can’t imagine NOT participating in the 3-Day in some way. I don’t really have a close link to breast cancer at this time and I hope I never do. I walked the first year with a friend who is a 10 year survivor and wanted to walk but didn’t have anyone to walk with so I told her I would walk with her. I was hooked.
This year I was very proud to wear one of the Lanyards for Erin. I will proudly wear it at all future 3-day events! Thank you for the honor.