Two Sundays ago, I spent a few hours standing in front of Wal-Mart with a friend collecting donations for the 3-Day. I know some people find those folks annoying, but I feel like in this economy, it's an easy way to gather several little donations that can make a big difference. (I collected a total of $350 on two different afternoons!!)

Just as I was getting ready to pack up, an older gentleman approached and said he was going to give me $1 and a piece of his mind. As foreboding as that sounds, he only somewhat grumpily complained that his 16-year-old daughter had wanted to do the 3-Day (or maybe the Avon Walk?) but couldn't because of the fundraising amount.

I spared him my rant on HOW MUCH TIME I'VE POURED INTO FUNDRAISING and how SOMETIMES I THINK IT WOULD BE EASIER TO SET MYSELF ON A MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN AND JUST DONATE IT ALL MYSELF. Instead, I just smiled and admitted it was a large challenge. (Besides, I'm too poor to actually donate $2,300 to anything all in one year.)

But that's the point - it is a big challenge ... Huge.

Raising $2,300 is supposed to be hard. Not like "discovering you have breast-cancer and must have toxins poured in you body" hard. And not like "asking your husband to shave your head because chemo has already caused too much of your hair to fall out" hard. And certainly not like "the cancer seems to be gone for now but could return. sometime. who knows when" hard.

But it needs to be hard enough that those with intense passion feel like they are doing something BIG. Because breast cancer is big and bold and (so far, anyway) hasn't disappeared just because someone tapped it on the shoulder and told it that it wasn't playing fair.

Raising that much money and walking that far is supposed to (in my humble opinion) bring normally competent adults and VERY competent teens to the place where they think they can't go any farther. So they can do it anyway. Because at any given moment, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are experiencing that very same but much more concrete emotion through no choice of their own - maybe through illness or poverty or war or crime or any of the large number of the rest of us would prefer to know very little about.

If you think about it, you know someone in that position right now. If you don't, maybe you need to get out more.

Anyway, there are a plethora of events (Race for the Cure, local breast-cancer walks, etc.) that give people ways to contribute on a smaller scale, but much of the beauty of the 3-Day is its scale. The event Web site might say things like "Small sacrifice, big reward" and "end breast cancer," but from my perspective, walking 60 miles over 3 days and raising $2,300 requires more than passing interest.

Realistically, not everyone can do it. And I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been doing it alone.

And that's OK; it's supposed to be hard.
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15 Responses

  1. It IS hard but somehow even *I* have (almost) managed to raise the $2300. I'm very excited! This will be my first walk (Atlanta)!

  2. Jul Says:
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  3. Jul Says:

    Couldn't have put it better myself! I am walking for the first time next year, I have done the volunteering(2008), crewing(2009) and now I am going to walk! I know the fundraising and the walk itself will put me to the test, but if all of these women can do it, I can do it!! I have seen women who can barely walk but they would get up the next day and do it all over again! AMAZING!

  4. Laurie Says:

    Such a great post! I agree with everything you said! You are less than $25 from goal, so congratulations. I just started fundraising for my second 3-Day in 2010. I am starting early b/c I know it will be more difficult, and it IS a LOT of hard work. We also did two day in front of Wal-Mart last year. Were you selling anything? We sold the little pink ducks and make a little over $600 (in two days). Good luck on your walk!


  5. Jenne Says:


    I'm not to 2300 yet, but I'm getting there... It's worth it!

  6. Vickie Scott Says:

    I totally agree with your passionate letter! Couldn't have said it better myself. Congratulations and thank you for your blog!

  7. Amen to that! Having it be this hard eliminates all the tourists who want to just get the t-shirt and show up (or sleep in) and get it done in time to get on with their other obligations. No offense to the 5Ks and 10Ks, but the training and fundraising obligations bring the 3-Day to a whole 'nother level.

    If I were grandpa, I'd encourage said teen to give it a shot--maybe she'd raise more than she thought she could!

  8. Totally awesome post. Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder!

  9. Nicole Says:

    Well said! The whole point of the 3Day is to push people out of their comfort zones and help ordinary people discover how extraordinary they can be! If it were easy that couldn't happen. And for those who aren't up for the challenge or just know they can't commit the time, there are other great ways to get involved, like crew, that are often overlooked.

  10. Kayren Says:

    I know you didn't ask... can I get an amen- but you got it!-- AMEN!!!

  11. Amanda Says:

    This was said so wonderfully!

  12. Natsin Says:

    Jilian -
    You are soooo right!!! I am a first-time walker, who doesn't have a family member or friend who has been afflicted with the disease, so I am walking in hope of KEEPING IT THAT WAY!! I agree, it's a whole lot easier than writing a check to the organization (don't get me wrong, I appreciate each donation), but it's sooo much more gratifying to know that I am doing something selfless for others.

    Simply put, you have a tendency to appreciate and value the things you've worked hardest for.

    Best of luck with your continued fund-raising and training. I'm a little apprehensive of my walk next week, and not yet halfway to my $2300 goal, but I am determined.

    Please feel free to check out my blog @ http://natsin-3day.blogspot.com/


  13. J Says:
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  14. J Says:

    GREAT article!!!! I loved it!

    I've raised my $2,300, and once I help my Mom get to her goal, I'll be coming back for another 700$. Last year I raised just over $2,300 and this year my goal is $3,000.