November 27th, 2017
7 cities. 21 days. 420 miles.
That’s right, I’ve committed to raising breast cancer awareness and funding by walking in all seven of the 2018 Komen 3-Day events!
The 3-Day and Me
My involvement with the Komen organization began in 1997, but my first 3-Day event was in 2009 in Seattle. While the walk itself was hampered by an injury, the volunteer crew made such a strong impression on me that I decided to join them the following year in lieu of walking. Two days into the 2010 event, I realized how much I missed being a walker and joined a team headed to the San Diego 3-Day that same year. Since then, I have crewed in Seattle and walked in San Diego for a total of 14 events.
Over the years I’ve been inspired by the countless people I’ve met through the 3-Day, and in complete awe of the “seven-city walkers.” They train, fundraise, and spread breast health awareness by walking in Michigan, the Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, and San Diego. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to join them.
The wonderful experience I had at the 2017 San Diego 3-Day solidified it for me: I am going to take on what promises to be an amazing journey in 2018.
Why this year?
- Breast cancer screening and treatment options have dramatically improved since my grandmother was diagnosed in 1962, but there are still many underserved communities that need access to compassionate breast health services.
- Komen has increased its investment in metastatic breast cancer research – more than $166 million in 400+ research grants and 40+ clinical trials to-date. I have friends living with MBC who need advancements in this area. Now.
- I’m nearing the age my mom and aunt were when they were diagnosed. I admit I’m a little superstitious about history repeating itself.
- I am fortunate to have a loving family, a supportive employer, and friends who encourage each other to take on challenges. The time for me to do this is now.
I need your help!
Walking all seven cities comes with the significant fundraising requirement of $16,100, but with your support I know can do this. Any amount is greatly appreciated!
p.s. I’m dusting off my blog and will be sharing updates on my training and progress throughout the year. Thanks for following along!
August 21st, 2014
I’ve been quietly sitting through the debate on the ice bucket challenge because it reminds me too much of the pink ribbon debate and I’m sort of tired of that.
This is why awareness of devastating diseases is so important, and this is why I believe something as ridiculous as the ice bucket challenge can be an effective educational tool. Forget about the fundraising side of things, how many people even knew what ALS was two weeks ago?
July 12th, 2014
It’s summer time, which means it’s sandal time! I was looking for some cute-yet-functional-and-comfortable sandals for the sunny weather when Linda from Clementine Shoes introduced me to Sseko ribbon sandals.
Sseko Designs (pronounced say-ko) was founded by Liz Forkin Bohannon after she took a post-college trip to Uganda. During her time there she met and made friends with a number of wonderful, smart young women, and learned how difficult it was for them to attend college. Liz wanted to start a company that provided a safe environment for women to learn a skill and earn money for their education, and the idea for the ribbon sandal was born.
Here’s a short overview of the program:
Participants spend nine months in the company factory in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, after which they will have earned enough money to pay for their first year of college (Sseko matches 100% of their earnings with a college scholarship). 47 women have attended college in the five years since the company’s founding, and there are 50 current employees. That’s pretty amazing.
We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world. – Sseko Designs
Sseko is based in Portland, Oregon, but their products are all made in Africa with the intention of creating jobs, empowering artisans and helping end the cycle of poverty through building healthy communities and economies. In addition to the work in Uganda, Sseko designs and sources ethically made products from East Africa.
The Ribbon Sandal
The ribbon sandal is comprised of a base with several sturdy elastic loops and any number of broad, double-thickness ribbons. As you can imagine, the sky’s the limit with the different number of ribbon threading and tying combinations. Sseko has some on their website, and they encourage you to come up with your own. They also have some lovely accessories you can incorporate into your sandal design.
Linda gave me a pair to try out and I spent a little time browsing through combinations in the How To Tie section of the Sseko website. I tried a couple before landing on the Bohannon’s Best. The video was short and timed perfectly for the sandal tying rookie. Here’s my end result!
The feel of the sandal base reminds me of my old Chaco flip flops: very stable with a nice little bounce. My regular size was perfect in length, and width accommodated my wider foot. The nice thing about the design of these sandals is that you can get the right size by simply standing on the base.
Tip: The cotton ribbon will stretch with the first couple of wears, so tie snugly and expect to re-tie them after walking around a bit.
A sandal base and one ribbon sells for $55, or a starter kit (base + three ribbons) is $80. Additional ribbons and accessories range from $10-20.
December 26th, 2013
I met Deserie and her Army of Angels teammates at the 2013 Seattle 3-Day in September and immediately noticed the beautiful tattoo sleeve on her arm – just look at that color and detail! And the way the stars are incorporated into the background… gorgeous.
Looking closer, I noticed one of the butterflies had a purple ribbon incorporated into its body. Deserie explained that the tattoo (and her 3-Day walk) was in honor of her beloved Aunt Virgie, who lost her fight with pancreatic cancer five years ago.
I knew this form of cancer is very aggressive, but I didn’t realize how difficult it is to treat until our conversation prompted me to look it up: The five year survival rate is astonishingly low, and metastatic forms tend to move swiftly. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan) website is a good source of information if you’re interested in learning more.
More tattoo inspiration: The fighting angel logo on the Army of Angels team shirts was modeled after teammate Mindy’s tattoo tribute to her mother. I love it.
Deserie’s tattoo was done by JT at Wicked Needle Tattoo & Piercing in Spanaway, Washington. Thank you, Deserie, for sharing the story behind your tattoo and for prompting me to learn more about pancreatic cancer!
November 4th, 2013
I ran into Beth on the second day of the 2013 Seattle 3-Day walk, and was intrigued by the design of the tattoo on her shoulder blade. She told me it’s a Celtic motherhood knot in honor of her mother, drawn by her son.
I did a little research into the history of the knot, and learned that it’s a holy trinity knot symbolizing a parent and child embrace. It’s typically two hearts, one lower than the first, entwined in a continuous knot. I love how Beth’s son incorporated the pink ribbon into this design, honoring three generations of their family.
Beth had the tattoo done at Flaming Dragon Tattoo in Tacoma, Washington.
As a side note, these pink ink posts are exposing me to a lot of excellent tattoo shops in the Puget Sound region!