About the Michigan 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk

By Kate Evelyn

  • Overview

    The 3-day breast cancer walk is an annual fundraiser that benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a leading breast cancer charity in the U.S. The walk takes place in states across the U.S., including Michigan. The Michigan walk takes place in Southeastern Michigan in either late spring or late summer, depending on the year. Exact dates are published on the organization's website (see Resources).
  • History

    A lot of people think of Avon when they think of breast cancer walks. However, the company no longer sponsors the 3-Day. Avon started the 3-day event in 1998 in partnership with Pallotta Teamworks, a company that also held AIDS Vaccine Rides and other large-scale fundraisers. However, Avon decided to stop sponsoring the 3-Days in favor of its own 2-mile walks in 2002 and Pallotta Teamworks went out of business in 2003, leaving the walks with an uncertain future. Susan G. Komen for the Cure stepped in and took over as the title sponsor. The first Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk in Michigan took place August 20 to 22 of 2002.
  • Course

    The Michigan 3-day breast cancer walk begins in Anne Arbor, home of Easter Michigan University, and culminates in or near the city of Detroit. The actual start and finish sites change from year to year. Much of the course takes walkers along the scenic banks of Lake Michigan, as well as through small towns and rolling countryside. Participants are expected to walk approximately 20 miles per day. There are two stops along the way where they can set up camp for the evening, appropriately in pink 2-person tents. Restrooms, showers, food, entertainment and medical care are available at each site. Locations vary every year. They are usually schools, stadiums or community centers.

  • Fundraising

    Each participant in the Michigan walk is expected to raise $2,300 before the day of the event. The majority of the money raised, 85 percent, goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure with the remaining 15 percent benefiting National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. In the past, the foundation distributed much of the money to research hospitals in the Michigan area. (One example is Karamanos Cancer Institute.) Walkers can raise money by making a personal donation and then asking friends, family members, coworkers and even strangers to help them by making tax-deductible contributions for the rest. If a walker doesn't have enough donations collected by the big day, she will have to insure the rest of the balance on a credit card. There is also a registration fee which does not go towards the fundraising total.
  • Considerations

    No walkers under the age of 16 are allowed to participate in the Michigan 3-day breast cancer walk. This includes children who can be carried or pushed in strollers. The only pets allowed are service animals. Additionally, all walkers are required to have health insurance.
  • Training

    Most walkers begin training months before the walk. Training is necessary not only to increase endurance but to ensure proper form. Common training regimens include walking 30 to 60 minutes each weekday, concentrating on using the entire foot, heel to toe, rolling the ball of the foot to build momentum. Walkers should also practice swinging their arms in a controlled way instead of letting them hang loose (bending the elbows at a 90-degree angle is key). On weekends, they need to complete one longer walk, starting with 3 to 5 miles and increasing the length by 1 to 2 miles each week. A popular place to train in Michigan is inside shopping malls, as a lot of the training takes place during the frigid winter months.
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