By: Jen Hagan and Jesse McDaniel
It’s officially the time of year when the foliage begins to shift from shades of emerald and pear, reaching for reds, browns, and golds. But as these colors shift, we’re readying ourselves for a streak of pink that’s making an appearance as well. October marks the annual return of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and observances are honored not only in the United States, but also around the world. Since 1985, efforts have been made to support patients grappling with this disease, encourage testing that could lead to early detection, and promote general education. As the second leading cause of cancer death, and most prevalent cancer among women in America, the epidemic reaches beyond numbers to impact real people and their families. But there are many people and organizations working tirelessly in the fight against breast cancer. That’s why our partnership with Susan G. Komen to produce the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is especially near and dear to us at Event 360. Komen’s direct efforts have helped lead to a 43% decline in the U.S. breast cancer death rate between 1989–2020, funded close to $1.1 billion in breast cancer research and labored to support the uninsured and low-income earners in need of care. We’re so honored to have played a role in this journey for the past two decades!
The 2023 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Series started out with a bang and within one month we completed three of our five events for 2023. New England and Denver were back-to-back weekends in August with Chicago following two weeks later in September. Although there were long days, the team rallied and produced amazing experiences for our participants. Still, the first three events didn’t come without their challenges; specifically in the weather category.
With rain in the forecast for the first day of New England, we kept a watchful eye on the sky. As the severe forecast loomed, a plan was created and communicated to the walkers by Thursday evening. We postponed Friday’s Opening Ceremony until later in the morning, to allow time for the forecasted early morning storms to move through the area. A later start meant the route would need to be shortened for the day, and the team, being the event professionals they are, was able to create a 10-mile route for the walkers so they could still get out and get some steps in. As the Opening Ceremony came to an end, so did the rain. The timing could not have been more perfect!
The 3-Day events in Denver and Chicago also decided to give us a wet Day 1. But this time, the weather was not as severe, so our walkers braved the drizzle and some downpours to trek their first 20 miles. Even with the rain, they arrived at the hotel with smiles, knowing there were warm showers and dry clothes waiting to greet them. With this being the twentieth year of the 3-Day, we found unique ways to enhance the participant experience and celebrate this incredible milestone. We added pop-up tents and lights on Main Street for a more fireside-esque atmosphere. And Bank of America’s Celebration of Champions on Friday featured an anniversary cake to help commemorate this momentous occasion in each city. Saturday night’s Honor Ceremony, always a highlight, reminded us exactly why we walk, as our spectacular Youth Corps took to the stage, followed by the emotional presentation of the “Why” behind each walker’s steps.
Denver’s Closing Ceremony started early to stay ahead of an oncoming storm, while Chicago’s offered a change of pace by taking place in the hotel ballroom. Despite the differences in scenery, both cities allowed walkers to reflect on meaningful sentiments shared by Komen, bask in the cheers of their loved ones waiting at the finish line, and revel in their monumental accomplishments.
The month may be halfway over, but the greater battle continues. With the Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego 3-Day still on the horizon, the event season hasn’t wrapped quite yet. Still, as we take a moment to recover and regroup, we will carry the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month as an important reminder. Part of the philosophy behind the 3-Day is, “Every step is a story.” As we continue our collaboration with Komen, we hope that one day the stories that bind us together are cancer-free.
If you’d like to find more ways to get involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, please click here.
Jen leads our Susan G. Komen 3-Day project. She oversees all aspects of the project to make sure we are executing on the strategy, budget, timeline and especially client expectations. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in recruitment, fundraising, project management and nonprofit marketing. Doing good in the world is her passion. In her free time you can find her volunteering for her favorite local charities.
Jesse joined the Event 360 team in 2021 following a career in the worlds of editing, development, and fundraising. As Creative Services Coordinator he tackles everything from communications trafficking and project management, to copywriting and overseeing niche deliverables. A jack of all trades, master of none (…ok, maybe two or three), his favorite experiences allow him to wordsmith or make meaningful connections with our amazing participants. When he’s not city-hopping during event season, he enjoys composing music, penning nonfiction, traveling, and spending time with a good book.