Not many of you know, but I lost my grandma to breast cancer, many years before I could meet her. She fought so hard, yet she lost her battle. I hear so many stories and see pictures but I never got to meet her. I wanted to fight breast cancer, in my own way. I knew many other families struggled with the loss of loved ones to breast cancer. And I could not just sit there, so I am here to tell you all about three years of my life on the Susan G. Komen Three Day walk and how I helped kick cancers butt and how I will keep going until there is no breast cancer.
THE SUSAN G. KOMEN 3-DAY AND YOUTH CORPS.
Sadly, not many of my local Salt Lake City friends know exactly what the three day is, let alone what youth corps is.
"The Susan G. Komen 3-Day, frequently referred to as the 3-Day, is a 60-mile walk to raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and promote awareness to fight breast cancer. Individual participants must raise at least $2,300 to walk 60 miles (96 km) over a three-day weekend" - Wikipedia
That is how the internet would explain the three day. I explain the three day as three days to get away from reality to be surrounded by love, hope, and peanut butter graham cracker sandwiches at the snack stands. When you enter those three days, you kind of forget about the world for a little. And it is amazing.
Now what is youth corps?
"The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Youth Corps is a select group of young people (10-16 years old) who participate as crew members on the event. Youth Corps members will attend the entire Komen 3-Day event, including the All-Crew Kick-off on the Thursday before the event (accompanied by a small group of Crew Captains), tent at night in camp with the participants and complete a multitude of important tasks both on the route and in camp. Each Youth Corps member will be required to raise $500 by the time of the event in order to participate." - The Susan G. Komen
Again, this is how the internet explains this. How I describe is three days to change my life for good and how to put so much kindness in my heart. Along with making lifetime friends and last time memories. I was so lucky enough to be on this team three times. So please let me share some memories and let me tell you how I helped make a difference.
2013, MY FIRST YEAR.
I was twelve years old on my first year. The 3-day is put on in a few cities but I was chosen for San Diego, California every year. And words cannot explain how happy I was. I had a tu-tu that one of my fellow youth corps friends gave me, so every time I saw a walker, I would scream as loud as my twelve year old voice would let me and I would say "SHAKE YOUR TU-TU". Then me and a walker are shaking our hips together. Did I know this person personally? No. Was this person a stranger wearing a tu-tu? Yes. Yet I made a lifetime memory, and that is one of the reasons why the three day is so special.
So here I am, on my first year of youth corps. Yes I look like a baby, but I was a baby. I am wearing a yellow sweatshirt with a neon green fanny pack, along with black and pink sweat pants with a tu-tu over them. You can't forget the pom-pom I have too. I had no cares in the world. Because the three day was a safe place for twelve year old me to shake my tu-tu.
That year, I carried walkers dinners, I refilled water bottles, I shook my tu-tu, and I met some remarkable people. Not to mention I always raised my 500$ for the event. I put on a raffle and it was so much fun.
Although the memories of this year are a little patchy, there are memories that will never fade. Which is why I wanted to do Youth corps again.
2015, MY SECOND YEAR.
I was fourteen years old at this time. As soon as I was accepted I was put into a group chat so I knew some friends. Two years later, I met up with most of them and we all stay in contact. It is amazing how we all meet on Thursday, but then we are all crying because we refuse to leave each other Sunday night. Camping, being your porta-potty buddy, and all going into a truck that has showers really ties a bond quickly.
What I remember the most that year was our dance party during lunches. I did the cupid shuffle so many times with walkers and the police men that I could've done it in my sleep. A lot grew in my heart that year when I gave my speech on Saturday night, youth corps gives a short speech about why they are there and how breast cancer has been in my life. And I felt like my team was so strong, and we were all so moved. Although I was only doing small things, like picking up trash, giving out stickers, and carrying food for people, I felt like I was making such a difference in this. Not many walkers know this, but each child on youth corps has to apply for the team. We have to fill out applications, and get interviewed. I have been denied before and it is hard. Which is why I have always been so grateful to work so hard each year.
We had a theme that year, and we were working minions. We had minion hats. So that year as I was hugging walkers, refilling water bottles, passing out stickers and doing so much more, I was doing it with my lifetime long minion friends. Not to mention that Adele's song "Hello" just came out and that was our theme song.
2017, MY THIRD AND FOURTH YEAR ON YOUTH CORPS.
I just got back from my third year on youth corps as a sixteen year old girl. And I am so honored that I had this many opportunities. I learned to love and help strangers. I learned to work hard, I learned to wake up at four thirty in the morning to get breakfast and then cheer on the walkers as they start their daily route. It is only three days, but so many life changing things can happen. My heart is always so full afterwards because I am so happy to see this many people working so hard to help find an end to breast cancer. Including myself.
This year, what I hoped with most is I never stopped smiling. Even though we hit a few rocky patches it was amazing. We passed out several flowers and watching the walkers light up as I offered them one made my heart so full. I also complimented tons of walkers, and watching their faces light up made mine light up as well. Our theme this year was "Rays of Sunshine" because we are a small light in some of these walkers lives and it makes me really happy.
Every morning, I would cheer the walkers on, every pit stop we went to, and even at dinner I would walk in and yell "ANOTHER DAY YOU DID IT!!!" And then I would take their trash and refill their waters, haha. This year at the closing of the third day they did something a little different and they lined up the walkers and we got to walk through as a parade to them. I walked past hundreds of walkers giving me a high five and saying thank you. Some pulled me aside for a hug, others yelled "I loved your dance moves". My favorite group of walkers yelled "It's our favorite youth corps!" When they say me. The line went on for a long time, by the end of it I was crying so hard because I was so happy that I had the opportunity to support all of these walkers. And then I gave the walkers a high five as they walked to closing and I started crying even more because hundreds of people just walked 60 miles to help end breast cancer. And I was lucky enough to cheer them on.
I have met over thousands of people during these three experiences. And I have smiled with each and every single one of them. Wether it was putting a sticker on them, dancing the cupid shuffle with them, or taking away their trash for them. I am so grateful that I was able to smile with these amazing people, and I am so sad that my experience on youth corps has come to end. But this does not mean I'm done helping fight breast cancer, it only means I am becoming stronger. I can't wait to be a walker on the 3-day myself! To anyone reading, thank you for reading about my experience. And any walkers or crew reading, thank you for all you do. I couldn't be happier. I wish I could take you all back to see the experiences for yourself, because sadly no one quite understands the love and feeling of the three day. Sadly, I cannot explain it specifically, no one can.
BUT if you want to walk, or be on crew, or just donate, or just learn more. Please go look at their website!
Thank you for reading everyone. Have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend!