5.13.2010

The 3 Day is a Journey, Not a Destination

There seems to be a lot of frustration around the 3 Day community this week.  Cat, who writes the wonderful Fat Girl Walkin' blog wrote about the lack of support coming from some negative corners of her life. Janice of Athena's Armoury is battling with plantar fasciitis in her feet and is concerned about actually being able to walk in the fall.  And I've been dealing with a pretty disappointing turn of events in our team fundraising.  It just seems like the initial euphoria of the 3 Day is starting to wear off and the reality of this huge challenge that we've all taken on is becoming more clear:  actually completing the 3 Day is seriously hard work.

As we all know, there are two huge things that every 3 Day walker is trying to accomplish.  We're each trying to raise at least $2300 and we're each trying to get through those 60 miles.  Along the way, we will all stumble at some point.  There will be some people who fall short of their fundraising goals.  People will need to catch a ride on a sweep van.  Injuries will keep people from participating on the event.  No one sets out to fall short of their goals, but the truth is, stuff happens.  Not everyone will raise all $2300 and not everyone will walk all 60 miles.  That is the reality of the situation.

That being said, just because you may not reach the goals that you originally laid out for yourself does not make your participation in the 3 Day any less important.  As I titled this post, much like life, the 3 Day is a journey, not a destination.  It is in pursuing those goals that we are truly making a difference!

So let's say that you fall short of your fundraising goal.  Every dollar that you raise, whether you make it to $2300 or not, is going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and will be used to fund potentially life-saving biomedical research.  As a scientist myself, I am here to tell you that science isn't funded in $2300 increments.  It's paid for one dollar at a time.  A box of gloves costs less than $5.  A giant tub a sodium chloride, an important component is almost every buffer used in every lab everywhere can be had for less than $100.  Parafilm, eppendorf tubes, Kimwipes and other strange sounding things are cheap but critical things that are used by labs every where.  Labs cannot function without this stuff.  And it goes the other way too - science often costs more than $2300 at a time.  Our microscopes and machines are EXPENSIVE.  The $1500 or $500 or even just $50 that you raised will be combined with all the other money raised by 3 Day walkers to help fund research that not one of us could possibly pay for by ourselves.  In the end, it doesn't matter if you fall short of your fundraising goals.  If you have raised even $5 through your efforts, you have made a difference.  As my mom says, it takes millions of tiny rain drops working together to fill the bucket.

And what about walking the whole 60 miles?  Sure, we all want to be able to say that we walked the whole 60 miles.  That's why we do all this training.  But the whole point of getting out on the streets is to be seen and to raise awareness for this important cause.  We may be more visible for those three days, but that's still only three days.  Most of us will be out training for months, and often for hours on end, provide endless opportunities to raise awareness in the community around us.  Every time someone stops to ask you why you're walking is a chance to raise awareness.  It's an opportunity to have a conversation about breast health and the need for more funding.  You will likely encounter people who have never heard of the 3 Day before.  If those people go home and think about your conversation, you've achieved one of the major goals of the 3 Day right there.  If they look you up online and make a donation, even better.  If they schedule a mammogram or a do a breast self exam because you reminded them about how important those things are, that is an accomplishment to be proud of.  It doesn't take walking the whole 60 miles to do that.  It takes getting out there and being visible in your community, day after day, mile after mile.

Whenever the reality of the difficulties of the 3 Day really starts to set in, it can be helpful to remember to what the REAL goals of the 3 Day are: to raise as much money for breast cancer research as possible and to raise awareness in our communities.  It is great to have $2300 and 60 miles as your goals.  It is even better to set your personal goals even higher.  Without those goals, many of use would never raise a single dollar or walk a single mile.  But in the end, even if we don't get there, it is in reaching for those goals that we truly make all the difference.

"Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars."  ~ Les Brown




18 comments:

Athena's Armoury said...

Thanks for that, Kristen. I just made an appointment for a physical therapy evaluation for my feet for tomorrow morning. =)
-Janine

Tammy K said...

very timely! Thanks Kristen

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, the quote today about the raindrops is great!
Thanks again for inspiring me!
Becky

Paape Family said...

Just what i needed to read this week! I have been struggling with getting my training walks in and feeling bad about it. Your post today motivates me to get back on track!!

Starchy said...

Thank you so much for this. I have had such a frustrating week--work has really gotten in the way of my cheery 3-Day attitude. TAnd I'm growing weary of all my free time being consumed by training and every waking thought being consumed by fundraising. So THANK YOU so much for the wonderful pep talk!

Cat said...

Excellent, excellent post, Kristen! It's so important to remember the big picture and the journey. Especially when the goin' gets tough. The 3-Day isn't about just fundraising or just walking 60 miles. It's both -- and so much more. Thank you for the reality check and reminder. Let's hear it for the raindrops! :)

Jen said...

Thanks so much, Kristen! I love the inspiration!

Christine said...

Loved this...thank you! It truly IS all about the journey!

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

I'm glad that everyone is enjoying this post! It was something I needed to remind myself so I figured other people would benefit from it as well!

~ Kristen

Karen said...

Kristen, what a great blog post and a great attitude. Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are a tiny team of two preparing for our first 3-Day Walk in Philadelphia. My husband keeps me motivated to train, but I am the one doing the rest of the planning and fundraising. Sometimes, I feel alone and discouraged. Your posted reminded me of why I am walking and why it is a journey. I am a one-year survivor and for me it is all about focusing on the positives, keeping the fear at bay, and making a difference. Keep those posts coming! Karen

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this great post. I am walking for the first time and so excited to hear about all the training, shoes, memories on the walk etc. However, I love that you talk about the cause and the impact every person is making . .it is way bigger than walk packs and water bottles. Every dollar, every person and every "step" is what makes a difference in the fight against breast cancer! That is what it is really about.

Michelle said...

Great post and thanks for putting a positive spin on the challenges that lie ahead for all us 3-dayers. ~Michelle

Deborah said...

Plantar fasciitis is often caused by a tight calf muscle. As a massage therapist and stretching teacher I see wonderful results with stretching. Looking forward to my first 3 day too!
Deborah
stretchforhealth.org

Tonya said...

So needed to hear this! You are so right, the point is that we are doing something!!!

Nancy said...

THANK YOU! This was a great post re: where the money goes. I'm in the industry that sells that stuff to researchers and I know it's so #@$$% expensive. Every penny helps.

I think of this every day as my darling young daughter struggles to survive stage 4 triple neg breast cancer.

Light and love

Shop Without Money Sisters said...

I love your post...I am a first-time walker this year and 5-year survivor who was her2+...had a reality check watching the Lifetime movie Living Proof about Dr. Slayman (sp?) and all the money it took to get herceptin on the market, the drug that probably saved my 32-year-old life 5 years ago...anyway...I just keep telling people...every dollar counts...who knows whose $1 helped fund what part of what research that may have saved my life? I truly believe that! Thank you for walking!
Heather

Mary Chubbuck said...

I have wanted to do the 3day for several years. The fear of being able to collect the $2300 has stopped me. I am not longer afraid. I have had the pleasure of meeting Kelly from a Tx team "No Walker Left Behind" and just hearing her talk about the experiance is too much for me to miss out on. She has given me the confidence to go for it. It will have a special meaning for me too. The AZ walk will be almost 1 yr that I will be done w/my treatment. I am a breast cancer survivor. Cant wait!!

Rhea said...

This is an awesome article. Thank you for linking it up for me. I needed the reminder. :)