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A bold challenge in 2018!

November 27th, 2017

Lisa Dawson

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!

Please consider making a tax deductible donation today.

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!

Pink Ink: Jenn’s Ironwork Cross

September 30th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Jenn's ironwork cross

Breast cancer runs in Jenn Nudelman’s family, and she’s been helping raise awareness by taking part in 3-Day walks and Race for the Cure events for years. She received her own breast cancer diagnosis in May 2011, and was unexpectedly laid off from her tax accountant job in the middle of her treatment. Determined not to let the diagnosis and loss weigh her down, she thought of ways she could take advantage of the time off:

“Little did I know that once the initial shock wore off (which took a little while), this would be one of the greatest blessings in my life. Once I didn’t have the burden of working a gazillion hours, I decided to do some things I’ve wanted to do for some time, but couldn’t do while working a crazy tax accountant’s schedule. I wanted to ACTIVELY volunteer for Komen, give back to the community served by St. James Cathedral and foster a rescue dog.”

If you’ve been to a Komen Puget Sound event in the past couple of years, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Jenn. Her willingness to help wherever needed, share her story and advocate for breast cancer programs and services is greatly appreciated by the Affiliate, who recognized her in May with their 2013 New Volunteer Award.

As the co-founder of Seattle Shar Pei rescue organization Aleks’ Angels, Jenn helps foster neglected and abused pets and helps them find permanent homes (she’s adopted a few of her own along the way). Her work with St. Vincent de Paul has broadened her understanding of need in our community, and strengthened her appreciation for how much she has, even when she was unemployed (she started a new job this summer).

scroll cross and pink ribbon tattoo

Jenn previously had seven pink ribbons tattooed on her lower leg, each signifying a 3-Day walk. Earlier this year, as a part of the Get Ink for the Cure event at Dzul Ink Lounge, she had tied them all together with an elaborate scroll-work cross. I saw it right after it was finished and it was gorgeous. Fully healed, the detail is simply stunning.

I ran into Jenn several times at the Seattle 3-Day walk and she was rocking her awesome tattoo and doing some awesome fundraising, too:  She personally raised over $5000 for breast cancer research!

One 3-Day Leads to Another…

September 29th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

3-Day walker

Last weekend I volunteered at the Seattle 3-Day walk as a member the Route Safety crew (here’s a terrific event summary).

2013 Seattle 3-Day Route Safety

Route Safety is responsible for, well, keeping the walkers safe on the route. The crew is made up of two dozen bicyclists and motorcyclists who head out with the first walker each morning, and stay on the route until the last walkers make their way into camp at the end of the day. It makes for a long day (I’m not even going to mention the HILLS) but it’s a lot of fun and you couldn’t ask for a better group to work with.

3daycops-thumb

This was my third time volunteering (I’ve walked twice) and once again I was completely affected by the love, grace, friendship and courage of everyone I encountered:

  • I talked to a young mother whose cancer has spread to her brain, and watched as her friends – The Faithful Fighters – pushed her wheelchair 60 miles to make sure she could finish her 3-Day
  • I met a woman with late-stage, metastatic cancer who flew from Arizona to Seattle to walk with her sister and spend precious time with her family
  • I saw my friend Tracy, in between chemo treatments and surrounded by the formidable Team Tracy, celebrate raising more than $100k to fight this disease

I should have seen it coming.

The 3-Day is a life-changing experience no matter how many times you participate. I think I had forgotten how much I love this event, how it sneaks into your system and compels you to do something to fight this awful disease. I decided I needed to walk.

I registered for the San Diego 3-Day in November.

I’ll need some help: I’m going to be walking every weekend for the next six weeks and would love some company. And I will need to meet the $2300 fundraising minimum, so anything you can do to help there will be greatly appreciated. This will be my third time walking – I’ve done this before and I know, with your help, I can do it again!

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day

p.s. 15 people graciously agreed to share their tattoos on the blog – photos coming soon!

“Get Ink for the Cure” at Dzul Ink Lounge

January 31st, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Dzul Ink Lounge

Dzul Ink Lounge has been a fixture in White Center for many years, but brothers Jacob and Alejandro (Alex) Dzul found they were spending more and more of their time in downtown Seattle. So they started looking, found a great space on 3rd & Lenora in Belltown, and officially opened their new shop in December.

As part of their grand opening, they decided to honor their friend Marvin’s mom, Anita, by donating 25% of the proceeds from cancer tribute tattoos to the Komen Puget Sound Affiliate. Get Ink for the Cure runs through the end of February, and includes any tattoo that commemorates a fight against cancer or remembers a loved one.

The studio is also hosting a “Honoring Survivors” party on February 23rd from 6-8pm. It’s open to the public (yours truly will be there) and promises to be a good time with some great door prizes.

Dzul Ink Lounge

I stopped by to check out the studio and had a chance to talk to Alex about their plans for the new location. I was a little surprised at how light and airy the shop is. Clean lines, high ceilings and a mural by Jacob as the backdrop to several open tattoo stations in the front (private rooms are in the back). Local art hangs on the walls – the shop will feature a new exhibit every few months.

Alex and Jacob are well known for their portraiture and black and white work, but have been doing more and more colorful, custom designs in recent years. Other services include piercing and airbrushing for people who want less permanent body art.

I know some of you have been thinking about getting a tribute tattoo (you know who you are), so I encourage you to talk to the guys at Dzul Ink Lounge. Be sure to let me know if you end up getting something done – I’d love to feature you on the blog!

Get Ink for the Cure

Komen for the Cure: 6 Months After the Planned Parenthood Storm

July 31st, 2012

Lisa Dawson

It’s been six months since the news broke about Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s changes to its grants policy, resulting in a loss of funding eligibility for Planned Parenthood. Three days later, after a public relations maelstrom and outrage from many of its affiliates, the organization reversed its decision.

Impacts to individual Komen affiliates since then has varied greatly, with the Puget Sound Affiliate hit especially hard. The annual gala auction on March 3rd raised more than expected, but June’s Race for the Cure came in $700K below goal. As the Affiliate’s largest fundraiser, this shortfall will most certainly reduce the availability of free mammograms and patient assistance funds for women in Western Washington.

Earlier  this month I had the opportunity to meet Komen President Elizabeth Thompson, who shared her perspective on the conversations leading up to the Planned Parenthood announcement. As with any polarizing news story, it can be challenging to ensure the accuracy of information shared in the media.

Liz didn’t offer excuses.

Rather, she accepted responsibility for the mistakes of the organization’s leadership, fully acknowledged the gravity of the situation, and spoke to the lessons Komen continues to learn from this crisis. She believes the foundation has a responsibility to continue to tell the breast cancer story, but in “a better and different way.”

Liz also talked about some significant changes being made at the national level:

  • A strategic communications firm has been retained to help with immediate and long-term communication plans, something that was painfully missing during the days following the announcements. Efforts will also be made to increase transparency into the organization’s decision making process.
  • Komen’s Board of Directors has traditionally held one of its nine positions for an affiliate representative. This is being increased to two positions.
  • Among other leadership changes, the organization has hired a new General Counsel and is in the process of hiring a Chief Operating Officer.
  • Seven Regional Vice President positions have been created to serve “as a two-way communications conduit between Headquarters and Affiliates, ensuring Affiliates stay informed of and aligned with Headquarters initiatives, and that Affiliate perspectives and needs are heard and responded to at Headquarters.”

Komen is currently focused on addressing ongoing impacts to local communities, where the anger and disenchantment of supporters is having a direct, negative effect on fundraising efforts. Here in the Puget Sound region, the decrease in funds will result in fewer breast health services for underserved women. With the year’s remaining major fundraising events scheduled for October, the Puget Sound Affiliate has its work cut out.

This has been a challenging time for everyone involved with Komen, but I stand firm in my commitment to the organization’s efforts.

How about you? Six months later, how do you feel?