LiquidAgents’ “Just Beat It Crew” Joined the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk to Support the Fight Against Breast Cancer
Walking 60 miles across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and camping with 500+ people isn’t a typical way to spend a weekend, but that’s just what a group from our corporate office did to support an incredible cause close to their hearts.
For the first time, seven LiquidAgents team members participated in DFW’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk over the course of three days to raise awareness and fundraise for the fight against breast cancer. The LiquidAgents 3-Day “Just Beat It Crew” included Team Captain Jenny Hanlon, Allie Harrell, Alexis Will, Jennifer Pomietlo, Leah Moss, Ryann Adoum and Tara Holly. During the event, the team was honored with the “Small but Mighty Award,” which recognizes their outstanding dedication and fundraising efforts.
“When I first volunteered to do this, I was not prepared for everything that came with it,” said Tara. “In my mind it was ‘raise some money, have some fun, walk some miles.’ But it was so much more. I started this journey because both my mother and grandmother had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer. They went through different treatments, but both ended up beating the disease. I was doing this for them, but I didn’t realize when I signed up in mid-summer, that they both wouldn’t be there to see me finish.”
Tara’s grandmother loss her battle to breast cancer two weeks before the 3-day walk. She finished the 3-day in honor of her mother and remembrance of her grandmother. Tara added, “On the last day, I wore my grandma’s shoes in honor of her memory and I know she crossed that finish line with me.”
Months before the event, the “Just Beat It Crew” worked hard to physically train and fundraise to meet their goal of $2,300 each. They were welcomed with so much support from friends, family and co-workers at LiquidAgents. They would meet at the office at 5 a.m. to train, walking several miles before work and increasing their mileage up to the event.
“Our office was amazing and supportive, especially when they saw how dedicated we were,” said Allie. “It was amazing coming to work every day and my manager would ask: how are the training walks going; how far are we from our goal; how much more can we do to help? It was the best motivation we could’ve asked for.” Every Friday in October, LiquidAgents’ employees wore pink in support of Susan G. Komen and the amazing 3-day walkers, and gave donations to help the team reach and exceed their fundraising goals.
The 3-day walk kicked off on Friday, Nov. 1 at the Star in Frisco during a very touching opening ceremony. It was 39 degrees but that didn’t stop the walkers. The excitement was through the roof. They call it the “Pink Bubble,” when survivors, strangers, family and friends all come together to support a single cause. It was amazing to see all of the participants with ‘Survivor Pins’ or photos of loved ones on their backpacks to honor them.
“The first morning, I probably have never been more excited other than my wedding day (love you Zach),” Allie shared. “I had a feeling in my stomach that I don’t know how to explain; it wasn’t butterflies, it wasn’t nerves, it was like ‘wow’ this is here. The training, the fundraising and the months of hard work to get to this moment was finally here.”
On Day 1, they walked their first 20 miles to Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch where they would set up camp. The entire company showed up at 8:30 a.m. to a designated cheering station to root for all of the walkers as they embarked on their journey. The last couple of miles of the day were the hardest, but when they were able to mark off the first 20 miles, they knew they only had two more days to go.
“Arriving at the The Star in Frisco in the freezing cold, we had this ‘what were we thinking’ mentality, but once we saw the long line of survivors up at the front and heard their stories, the cold didn’t really matter much; they were why we were doing this,” Tara added. “The cheering stations set up really kept me going. You’d hear people cheering about a fourth of a mile out, which made us think ‘I can do this, I’ve got this.’ There was even one small group in a neighborhood with a sign that read ‘Need a drink? Come grab one. Need a potty? We have one.’ They opened up their home to total strangers to show support. The community outreach was totally unexpected, but so amazing!”
People could stop by different meeting points along the walking route to cheer on the walkers, who were also known as ‘Walker Stalkers.’ Several team members at LiquidAgents showed up throughout the weekend to support the courageous walkers and share words of encouragement.
“I am incredibly honored to have walked side by side with my peers and cheer on the survivors next to me or on the sidelines,” Leah said. “To walk hand in hand and listen to people’s stories, it was the most rewarding experience. I want to thank all of the people who were ‘Walker Stalkers’ and fed us yummy snacks all day and kept us energized with their very pink spirit, it is what kept us all going.”
At the end of Day 2, Ryann shared: “I am writing this post from my 30-degree tent, bundled up in a sleeping bag. Today towards the end of the trail, I was barely hangin’ on. My feet were shuffling, and I felt like giving up. But a man and his wife came up beside me and asked why I was doing this. I told them it was for a couple family members who have survived breast cancer. He asked, ‘do you remember their faces when they were going through chemo?’ I nodded yes and he said, ‘think of that, and keep going.’ When I finally finished and got onto the bus, the couple walked by, patted my back and said ‘Congratulations, you did it. Your survivors will be proud.’ I felt a rush of emotions as my mind was briefly distracted from the pulsating pain running through my lower body. And I thought… this is what it’s all about.”
On the last day, the team walked past George who had a sweet laminated message on his back that read, “At age 87, I will be walking all 7 walks this year with love and honor for my wife Christine.” The 3-day brings together so many inspiring people to raise awareness and move mountains in the fight to end breast cancer.
“The biggest takeaway from the whole weekend is that there are so many people living with this awful disease and get diagnosed every day,” Allie said. “There’s so much we can do to help and raise awareness, even if it’s not fundraising. Go get those mammograms early, go do what you need to do to make sure you’re not taken away from loved ones because of this disease.”
“There is no way to really put into words the experience that you have at the 3-day,” Tara said. “It pulls at every emotion you have, it’s hard, it’s fun, it’s miserable but it’s worth it. The sense of accomplishment you have seeing that huge pink tunnel welcoming you to the finish line is overwhelming. As I collapsed on the floor at home once it was all over and started patching up my blisters and bruises, I thought to myself never again. Now I think to myself – who’s going with me next year?”
Team members are already signed up for next year’s 3-day walk and have started their fundraising efforts. Allie is even traveling across the country to participate in San Diego’s 2020 3-day. “I don’t care about the size of my blisters or how swollen my feet are going to be after this, I cannot wait to get back in that pink bubble. I will not stop fighting for the cure until I can go to sleep and know that my daughter, my daughters’ daughters, or anyone, won’t have to worry about getting breast cancer.”