Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Send Me Mail

Want to lift my spirits at the end of a long day of walking in November?  I truly enjoy getting mail while I walk 60-miles over 3 days.  If you have a minute, drop an encouraging note or letter to me that I will pick up in the campsite post office.

Send letters to:

Susan G. Komen 3-Day 
PO Box 720771
San Diego, CA 92172

Envelopes only, please. No boxes or large packages.
Mail must be postmarked no later than November 6th in order to ensure delivery at the 3-Day Camp Post Office.

(10/27/12) Training: 5.4 miles in 1 hour, 55 minutes: Total: 352.6
(10/22/12) Training: 3.1 miles in 58 minutes, Total: 347.2
(10/14/12) Training: 5.7 miles in 1 hour, 51 minutes, Total: 344.1
(10/13/12) Training: 10.5 miles in 3 hours, 37 minutes, Total: 338.4
(10/11/12) Training: 6.4 miles in 2 hours, 3 minutes, Total: 327.9
(10/9/12) Training: 5.5 miles in 1 hour, 43 minutes, Total: 321.5
(10/8/12) Training: 18 minutes on the elliptical
(10/7/12) Training: 15.0 miles in 5 hours, 19 minutes, Total: 316.0
(10/6/12) Training: 18.2 miles in 6 hours, 17 minutes, Total: 301.0
(9/30/12) Training: 11.3 miles in 3 hours, 56 minutes, Total: 282.8
(9/29/12) Training: 14.2 miles in 4 hours, 58 minutes, Total: 271.5
(9/27/12) Training: 9.3 miles in 3 hours, 9 minutes, Total: 257.3
(9/25/12) Training: 1.5 miles on the elliptical in 34 minutes
(9/23/12) Training: 7.0 miles in 2 hours, 21 minutes, Total: 248.0
(9/22/12) Training: 5.2 miles in 1 hour, 39 minutes, Total: 241.0
(9/13/12) Training: 5.0 miles in 1 hour 35 minutes, Total: 235.8
(9/9/12) Training: 6.1 miles in 2 hours, 3 minutes, Total: 230.8
(9/8/12) Training: 10.0 miles in 3 hours, 23 minutes, Total: 224.8
(9/2/12) Training: 10.0 miles in 3 hours, 19 minutes, Total: 214.8
(8/27/12) Training: 6.0 miles in 1 hour 54 minutes, Total: 204.8
(8/25/12) Training: 7.8 miles in 2 hours, 43 minutes, Total: 198.8
(8/23/12) Training: 5.0 miles in 1 hour, 50 minutes, Total:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Training Update (8/18/12)

Here's an update on how my training has gone since March...

(8/18/12) Training: 5.4 miles in 1 hour, 55 minutes: Total: 180.0
(8/15/12) Training: 2.5 miles in 50 minutes, Total: 174.6
(8/13/12) Training: 5.4 miles in 1 hour, 53 minutes, Total: 172.1
(8/10/12) Training: 5.4 miles in 1 hour 45 minutes, Total: 166.7
(8/4/12) Training: 4.4 miles in 1 hour, 29 minutes, Total: 162.3
(7/31/12) Training: 3.4 miles, 1 hour, 9 minutes, Total: 157.9
(7/21/12) Training: 4.4 miles, 1 hour, 30 minutes, Total: 154.5
(7/4/12) Training: 4.4 miles, 1 hour, 22 minutes, Total: 150.1
(7/1/12) Training: 5.6 miles in 1 hour, 58 minutes, Total: 145.7
(6/30/12) Training: 5.6 miles, 2 hours, Total: 140.1
(6/24/12)Training: 10.2 miles, in 3 hours, 23 minutes, Total: 134.5
(6/22/12) Training: 4.1 miles, 1 hour, 26 minutes, Total: 124.3
(6/12/12) Training: 4.3 miles, 1 hour, 30 minutes, Total: 120.2
(6/2/12) Training: 5.4 miles, 1 hour, 57 minutes, Total: 115.9
(5/27/12) Training: 4.3 miles, 1 hour, 23 minutes, Total: 110.5
(5/26/12) Training: 10.3 miles, 3 hours, 30 minutes, Total: 106.2
(5/22/12) Training: 2.0 miles, 40 minutes, Total: 95.9
(5/21/12) Training: 4.3 miles, 1 hour, 23 minutes, Total: 93.9
(5/17/12) Training: 3.1 miles, time not logged, Total: 89.6
(5/15/12) Training: 8.3 miles, 2 hours, 28 minutes, Total: 86.5
(4/30/12) Training: 3.5 miles, 1 hour, 15 minutes, Total: 78.2
(4/29/12) Training: 4.3 miles, 1 hour 27 minutes, Total: 74.7
(4/25/12) Training: Run/Jog 2.0 miles in 25 minutes, Total: 70.4
(4/21/12) Training: 4.6 miles, 1 hour 36 minutes, Total: 68.4
(4/20/12) Training: 4.3 miles, 1 hour 30 minutes, Total: 63.8
(3/31/12) Training: 7.6 miles, 2 hours, 46 minutes, Total: 59.5
(3/30/12) Training: 2.0 miles, 1 hour, Total: 51.9

Fundraising has gone really smoothly.  I am now up to $2,700 and I'm almost done with my online check-in.  Waiting for some tenting information before I finish.  I'm getting excited about November!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The 2011 Susan G Komen San Diego 3-Day for the Cure

By Margie Dowens
Mileage Possible Over All Three Days: 60; on route: 56.8; in camp: 3.2; My actual mileage: 51.8

Day 0, November 17, 2011

Packing went way more smoothly for me this year.  Having done it once, getting everything bagged up into ziplocs (to protect from wet and also to make it easy to find a particular day’s clothing) went far faster and more smoothly. I bought a new sleeping bag that squishes down more than my old one and was able to fit everything into a wheeled duffle.  Having the wheels made toting the bag much easier. I also liked that my bag had a thin profile, as this made keeping it in the tent with my teammate easier.  The night before the event I drove down to the hotel and got some Chinese food for dinner.  My fortune read, “Your path may be difficult, but will be rewarding.”  It seemed pretty appropriate to me!  My teammate, Nancy arrived and we worked out some last minute issues.   She’d been dealing with a major emergency at work all week and had packed in a super short time frame.  Between the two of us, we both ended up having everything we needed, so it all worked out.

Day 1, November 18, 2011
Mileage possible: 21.5, on route: 20.5, in camp: 1.0, My actual mileage: 21.5

We woke up at 4:15 am, got ready, and headed out arriving at the Del Mar fairgrounds around 5:30 am.  We got our bags checked in to the truck that would take it to the camp and headed over to the fairgrounds.  I was under the impression from information we’d been given by the organizers that the only place we would get the walker’s badge for this year was there at opening ceremonies, but they were handing them out at the extreme opposite end from where we’d come in.  So we walked a lot extra to get that little badge.  Turns out that we could have picked it up in camp that evening and I *will* remember that for next year and save my energy for the actual walk.  We got our picture taken with the opening ceremony sign and by that time the opening ceremony was about to start.

Opening ceremonies is a relatively short presentation, but very moving.   I always have to get tissue out.  The new national spokesperson, Dr. Sheri Phillips (pictured here), is an incredibly inspiring speaker.  She clearly has a passion for this cause.  I got a high five from her on the way out of the opening ceremony holding area.

It was awesome to see all the police officers out.  San Jose and San Diego PD have officers who volunteer their time over the three days to keep us safe and they are often quite entertaining.  There’s serious talk that San Jose will not be allowed to come back next year.  I only really saw them at opening ceremonies this year, most of the officers on the route that we ran into were San Diego.  But I will not forget that as we were almost to the point where they scan us out onto the route, one of the (very good looking) San Jose officers pointed at me and said, “Whoa, she looks like she might be dangerous.  Need to check you for weapons, ma’am.” and gave me a brief pat down to hoots and hollers from the ladies around us.  Made me (and many others) laugh and smile.

I was scanned out onto the route right around 7:25 AM.  I arrived at camp that afternoon at around 4:26 PM.  We walked the full mileage for the day, which was 20.5, so we were out on the route for roughly 9 hours.  It was an easier first day than last year (you can read my write up of last year, which goes into a lot more detail about the setup of the event, how things run, and what the route is like at http://margiesmagentamiles.blogspot.com/2011/01/susan-g-komen-san-diego-3-day-walk.html).  I put the walking feeling easier down partially to the fact that I was able to train more and that I was in better shape this year than I was last year.  Some of it is probably that I knew what to expect as well.

I know part of it is because of my awesome teammate.  I cannot express how valuable it was to have Nancy with me.  She has a quiet demeanor, but was not put off by my loud boisterous enthusiasm at times.  She is wonderful company and easy to get along with.  I’d start slowing down and she’d just continue to go and it inspired me to pick up my pace to stay with her.  Once again, I am convinced I could not have done as much as I did without her there.  Everything seems better with a friend.  In particular, I remember going up the Torrey Pines Hill on Day 1.  I turned my music on to keep my mind off of how steep it is and I trudged along.  I kept wanting to slow down and she just kept going, and I found I had the strength and the will to catch up and stay with her.  This played out several times over the weekend.  We laughed a lot together.  Thank you, Nancy, for being an amazing teammate!

One thing that was kind of cool was that people recognized my hat.  Several walkers stopped me at various points throughout the weekend to thank me for the write up I did of my first walk, and many of them told me that they passed my blog on to all their teammates.  It felt good to know that my experience had helped them be more prepared for their walks.

We saw a lot of the same people as I saw last year out cheering us on.  Smile Guy and Little Grin   were seen several times each day.  The woman in her convertible who wore a pink fuzzy coat last year was out there.  The gentleman with crazy clothing and a pink beard was out with his pink buffont-haired ladies.  The guys wearing bras with small watermelons in them were there.  The Barbie Twins were there.  And many, many others.  There were some young teenage boys wearing bras.  There was a woman dressed as Princess Leia (one of my personal favorites).  There was a pregnant woman with a hole cut in her shirt so her big belly stuck out, and she painted different saying on her belly each day of the walk.  There were families out with their kids.  Lots of Girl Scout troops provided treats, or drinks, or coffee.  I wish I could list them all.  The supporters on this walk are as much a part of it as the walkers and crew are.  I can’t imagine doing the walk without them there to cheer me on.

I did not see and very much missed the older couple (I always picture them in green) from last year who just stood by the route and quietly said thank you to us as we passed.  I had hoped to be able to stop and tell them how much they had meant to me last year.  I get weepy wondering what their connection to the event is and why they were not there this year.

It was wonderful having my phone in a little pouch around my neck that kept it easy to access.  A big thanks to my best friend (who also happens to be my sister-in-law) for making it for me.  It made it easy to get it out to update our progress and keep everyone in Facebook-land appraised of where we were and how we were doing.  I set up the phone to receive the Facebook comments that people left and that was incredibly valuable!  It was like having my own personal cheering squad of all of the people who mean the most to me in my pocket.

I figured out how to manage the downhills this year so they were not so hard on me.  It took a lot of concentration, but basically involved adjusting so that I could still put my heel down first and then roll from my heel to the ball of my foot with each step.  Last year, I mostly did downhill on the balls of my feet which was super hard on my knees and my feet.  It made a huge difference to concentrate on that stride.

We stopped for lunch and then kept going.  The 20.5 miles was long, but didn’t seem so hard this year.  It was the longest walk I’ve ever done and I actually felt pretty good at the end of it!

When we got back to camp, we set up our tent, got our gear in it and then headed over to the showers in semi-trucks.  A hot shower is still one of the highlights of the day after the walking.  We visited the village, went to dinner, got our stuff organized for the next day and pretty much called it a night.

Day 2, November 19, 2011
Mileage possible: 20.8, on route: 19.6, in camp: 1.2, My actual mileage: 12.6

We got up and headed over to have breakfast.  Last year, they had sodas (including my morning drink of choice, diet Coke) available at breakfast. This year they didn’t.  Had I known, I would have saved a diet Coke from the evening to have with breakfast.  I had coffee for my morning caffeine infusion.  Breakfast was yummy.  Of course, food in general is yummy when you’re walking 20 miles in a single day.  I’m always impressed that they can feed so many people with pretty high quality food.

We hit the route a little after 6:45 AM and within just a little while, I was feeling a lot of pain in the soles of my feet.  I hoped that walking would ease it, but it started getting worse.  I was kind of slow going for the first several miles.  Finally, when I hit 5.3 miles at one of the Grab and Go’s I decided that I needed a break.  So I jumped on the “Boobie Lift” sweep van which took me the next 2.2 miles to the next Pit Stop.  Nancy decided to keep walking and I told her I would wait for her to arrive at the Pit Stop.

As I waited, I discovered that I’d lost my camera.  I was pretty bummed, but figured the most likely scenario was that it had been left in the Sweep Van.  So I got someone in one of the other vans to radio to “Boobie Lift” to check and see if it was there, and it was!  I was so relieved.  They were on their way back, so I waited and thanked them all profusely for delivering my camera to me.  It wasn’t too long after that when Nancy arrived at the Pit Stop and we continued on.

One of the most moving moments for me in this year’s walk happened at one of the cheering stations before lunch.  There was one lone woman standing on the side of the route.  She wore a baseball cap and I could tell she had no hair under her hat.  As I passed by, she reached out, took my hand in both of hers, looked deep into my eyes and just quietly said “Thank you for walking.”  Tears fell down my face for a while after that.

Got to lunch around 2:00 PM (13.6 miles along the route) and we decided to take the SAG bus back to camp, skipping the last 6 miles.  The total mileage that I skipped on day two was 8.2.

Another semi-truck shower and a lot of stretching and resting is how we spent most of the afternoon.  Eventually we went to dinner.  We realized that the weather report was calling for rain on Sunday --- which is way better than last year’s downpour – at least the camping part would be over and at the end of Sunday a hotel room or home is where we’d be able to warm up and rest.  I repacked things a little bit to keep electronic items safe from the water and to take a few more of the things I’d need for rain in my pack that I carry with me.  Felt really good for having taken some time off during the afternoon and I was feeling rested and ready to face day 3!

Day 3, November 20, 2011
Mileage possible: 17.7, on route: 16.7, in camp: 1.0, My actual mileage: 17.7

We awoke at 5:40 AM to the sound of rain on the tent.  We got dressed and packed the last of our stuff up and then started to dismantle the tent.  Luckily it had stopped raining while we did that and we got our gear and tent turned in and headed to breakfast.

We found some seats and sat down to eat and after a little bit, a woman who was sitting a few seats down and across from me asked “Is your name Margie?”  I smiled and answered yes.  She probably recognized my hat.  Well, it was the hat that helped her recognize me, but it was more than that.  Turns out that she knows a very good friend of mine named Caroline.  Laurie and I took a couple pics together to be able to post for Caroline to see.  Of the 3,600-ish walkers that were there, what were the odds that the only two women Caroline knew who were walking the San Diego 3-Day would sit down together at the same table for breakfast on Sunday morning?  It was a fun coincidence to start the day with.

We got out onto the route around 7:15-ish and while a little stiff, I felt pretty good.  Much better than I had felt on day 2 at the beginning of the day.  Within a short period of time, it started raining.  Not a lot, not really heavy, but enough that I wondered how cold and wet the day might be.  It let up relatively quickly and we made good time and were in very good spirits.

I knew this time to limit my drinks on the 4 mile stretch that they have right before the big hill in old town.  So it was a much more pleasant day for me than the previous year when I needed a restroom so badly.  I had promised my son that I would do the final hill on day 3, and I was actually feeling pretty good.  Nancy does hills faster than I do, so she took off and we agreed to meet at the top.  It’s steep.  It’s longer than it looks from the bottom.  But it’s doable.  There are tons of people on the hill cheering us on and I made it to the top without a problem.  Nancy was waiting for me and continued on.

We had a relatively uneventful day and it was such a different experience doing that last day with a positive mood rather than the miserable one I had last year.  We were making good time, so we stopped at a cafĂ© for lunch and had some sandwiches and used a real flushing toilet.

We made it to holding around 3:40 PM (according to my tweets) and this time the gauntlet of people cheering us on as we entered was welcome and not painful for me.

We picked up our shirts, found a place to sit and just relaxed for a little while.  I took off my shoes and just rested my feet on the cold concrete.  It felt almost as good as ice packs on my sore feet.  Around 4 pm it started to lightly rain.  We got our rain ponchos out and moved to a covered area.  It was almost time to head out for the closing ceremonies so we made one last pit stop at the real bathrooms in the stadium and then joined everyone to the short walk to closing.

The closing ceremony was moving.  Again I was impressed at the passion with which Sheri Philips spoke.  We learned that 9.2 million dollars were raised.  I heard from someone that we had roughly 3,600 walkers (down 400 from the previous year).  We raised our shoes in salute as the survivors joined us and there were lots of people with tissues out.

It started to rain in earnest as we walked across to where the buses were.  We found our luggage and carried it to the bus.  We got on and it really started pouring.  Once we got to long term parking, we got drenched as we took our bags to the cars, Nancy and I gave each other one final hug in the pouring rain, and then we each drove off.  She actually drove all the way home.  I stayed in a hotel overnight to relax and recover before driving home the next morning.

As always, no write up of the 3-Day would be complete without giving a hearty round of applause to the volunteer crew.  They clean, they cook, they serve, they drive, they make sure the walkers are well taken care of, safe and healthy.  They get up before the walkers and they go to bed after us.  The event could not happen without their dedication. 

Overall, it was a good experience this year.  Far fewer really down times.  I like to think that’s because I was in better shape, but it could have been lack of being soaking wet and so many other things.  I’m just glad to report that I liked it enough to sign up for 2012!

Yup, I am walking again in November 2012.  However, this will be the first year I will be walking without a teammate.  I hope that the lessons I learned with Joanne in my first year and with Nancy in my second year stick with me.  It’ll be a very different experience to not have that second person to bounce ideas off of, to laugh with, and to help pull me along when my energy is flagging.  But it’s not like there won’t be another 3,000 or more folks out there with me to keep me company.

If you would like to donate to my walk this year, please go to my donation page and click on the “Donate to Margie in 2012” button!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've Decided to Walk

After much thought and numerous discussions with Frank and others, I have decided that I am going to go forward and continue to walk in this year's Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. The fact of the matter is that cancer doesn't care about politics, and this organization still funds important work to help screen, diagnose, and work towards a cure.

I walk because my mom is a 10 year survivor. I walk because I have double the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer as someone who doesn't have a first degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has had breast cancer.  I walk because I don't want my daughter or my son or anyone to face this diasease in themselves or in a loved one.  I walk for all the families affected by it, now and in the future.  I walk because 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

However, I cannot get there alone. I need your support to raise the $2,300 required to allow me to walk. My goal is to have 400-500 miles of training walks under my belt by the time the walk comes and to walk all 60 miles this year (The third time is a charm!)

As always, I only ask what you're willing to give. If you are unable to give at this time or you are not happy with the organization, that is OK with me. If you are willing to support me, please go to http://www.the3day.org/goto/margie_dowens and click on the Pink "Click to Donate to Margie in 2012" Button on the left side of the screen. Or if you prefer to pay by check, scroll to the bottom of that screen and click on the link that says "If you are unable to donate online, please print out a donation form."

Make your donation today, while you are thinking about it.

If there is someone you'd like me to walk for, please email me their name and I will add a ribbon to my hat for them. You do NOT need to donate to my walk to have me add a ribbon.

Thank you!

Warmly and with Love,

(3/24/12) Training: 7.6 miles, 2 hours 42 minutes
Total: 47.4 miles
(3/22/12) Training: 5.8 miles, 1 hour 41 minutes
Total: 39.8 miles
(3/10/12) Training: 6.5 miles, 2 hours, 14 minutes
Total: 34.0 miles
(3/9/12) Training: 5.5 miles, 1 hour, 51 minutes
Total: 27.5 miles

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Komen - I Still Don't Know Where I Stand

I am still struggling with my thoughts on the whole Komen problem and whether I will walk this year for them.  I found the following blog post, from Kristen, a fellow 3-Day Walker, to be incredibly well researched, backed up and I definitely learned some things from it.  If you need background on what's been happening, facts and information, start here before you go on to my post below:

Susan G Komen for the Cure - My Thoughts by Kristen Cincotta

My post is actually a letter I just emailed to the Project Manager for the National 3-Day who called me last week after I sent an email complaining about the fact that I received a survey from the National Komen organization and then couldn't take it because I was disqualified from giving my opinions after inputting a few demographic pieces of information about myself.  I felt like my voice didn't matter to them.  His call has helped with that.

It is far more about my emotions regarding the events.
Thank you so much for taking the time to call me on Thursday and giving me the opportunity to have my voice heard.  I'm still feeling pretty upset with the larger Komen organization for disqualifying me from the survey they sent out.

A little background on me.  My mother is a 10 year breast cancer survivor.  I got invovled in the 3-Day in honor of her and because I wanted to make a difference and show my children (an eight year old son and a five year old daughter) that you can make change happen if you're willing to go out and do things to see that it does happen.  I also wanted to do something that would potentially lower the risk of my kids ever having to face breast cancer themselves or face it in a loved one.  I walked in the San Diego 3-Day in 2010 and 2011, I also walked in the Los Angeles and Orange County Race for the Cure in 2011.  I have personally raised $7,750 for those events and convinced two other people to walk the 3-Day and one other person to join me at a Race for the Cure.  Including what those friends raised, I am responsible for bringing well over $12,500 to the 3-Day and those 2 affiliates in just 2 years.  I have a hat with 43 ribbons with the names of 42 women and one man who have battled breast cancer and won, or lost their battle with breast cancer.  I am connected to those people through my donors and friends and family.  I walked for all of them and the countless other families touched by this disease.

My initial feeling when the news hit was great disappointment, but I felt like it wouldn't affect my wanting to walk this year. I definitely thought they'd made a mistake in defunding Planned Parenthood and I wasn't happy about it. However, as no word came from Komen, the message got shaped by others and I watched the ire on Twitter and Facebook grow, I began to wonder if I still wanted to affiliate myself with Komen.  I didn't jump to any conclusions though as I am a wait-and-see-don't-judge-until-you-have-more-facts type of person.  At first I found it hard to believe that they had actually targeted Planned Parenthood as an organizaiton that they wanted to de-fund.  Then I learned about Karen Handel and her very anti-Planned Parenthood stance.  It seemed a bit too coincidental that this person joins the board and a relatively short time later, Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood is ending.  I know the Komen organization's official line at the time was that this was never about Planned Parenthood, but I've also read articles quoting insiders who say the board has been actively looking for ways to distance themselves from Planned Parenthood for a while and that this move was *all* about that.

My heart was breaking as all of this went on.  I am passionate about this cause and about wanting to find a cure.  I believed that Komen was one of the organizations out there that were doing great things with the money they brought in.  At the same time, I also believe strongly in the services that Planned Parenthood provides to women and men who might not have any other means of getting those services.  However, within a few days, as Komen tried desperately to shape their message, for me it had gone beyond and was no longer about whether breast health services at Planned Parenthood were being funded by Komen.  Komen kept changing it's message.  They claimed Handel had nothing to do with it, that politics had nothing to do with it.  The more I dug, the more it looked like none of that was true.  I felt like I'd been betrayed and lied to by someone I cared deeply about.  I love the 3-Day event.  I love the physical challenge combined with making a difference in a cause I believe in, combined with a long weekend of being surrounded by fabulous people.  But I feel like I've been shown a "political agenda" side of Komen that has no place in the work I thought they were doing.  It makes me question everything I know about this organization.

The decision to reverse their stance and continue funding Planned Parenthood's breast health services, followed by the resignation of Karen Handel happened and I felt that this was the right thing for the Komen organization to do.  But the feelings of betrayal were still there.  In essence, it was the idea that Komen was no longer this beautiful "can do no wrong, most-trusted non-profit" to me anymore.  There has not been an apology from them that has owned up to all that happened and all the mistakes they have made.  Their statements have been finely worded, but mostly have involved asking us to put the focus back on their "mission" and to "move on".  It's almost like they are saying, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" (to quote The Wizard of Oz).  Unfortunately, they were the ones who drew attention to "the man behind the curtain" (i.e. the fact that they are making decisions based on political leanings) and some of us need them to resolve that, ackknowledge it and not just have it ignored.

Things died down some, and I still felt tortured by the "should I walk?" question.  Then the survey happened.  I don't know what the survey was about because I was one of the people who was sent an invitation to take it, and then disqualified after having answered a few demographic questions.  It was like a slap in the face.  When I got the invitation, I was highly interested in seeing what they were going to ask.  When I was disqualified it felt like Komen basically told me that all the work I've done for their organization was not enough of a contribution to have my voice heard because I didn't meet some random demographic criteria (by the way, I'm VERY curious about what demographic fact about me actually disqualified me).  It was yet another huge blunder on their part in communicating with the very people who support them.  Number one, the voice of the entire demographic of their supporters should be important to them, but if they really wanted to look more closely at a particular subset, you still collect data from everyone and then cull that subset's data after the fact.  There would have been a lot fewer hurt feelings had they done that.

Getting your phone call and being asked to share my thoughts and feelings has helped alleviate the feeling that my voice is not being heard, but knowing you are affiliated with the 3-Day, and knowing all of these mistakes were made by the larger organization still makes me feel like the larger organization is not necessarily something I want to support.

The "should I walk?" question thought process revolves around four main points for me:

1) I don't "feel good" about Komen right now.  Do I really have the energy to fundraise and train when my heart is not in it?  The 3-Day is a HUGE undertaking involving tons of time and energy on my part.  I don't currently know how to heal these feelings of betrayal to the point where I can joyfully take on this task, and I know you can only do a volunteer task this big when you can take it on joyfully.

2) I rationally know that most organizations can't help having political aspects as they are made up of individual people who are political beings.  I know that if I really stopped doing business with every organization that did something I didn't agree with or that had a policy I disapproved of, or that made mistakes, I would in all likelyhood have to grow all my own food, make all my own clothing, furniture, toys for my kids.... in short, an organization that only did things *I* approve of doesn't exist. 

3) I signed up for the San Diego 2012 3-Day back in September of last year.  I currently have $605 in my fundraising account for that walk.  My decision would be easier if I didn't already have almost 1/4 of what I need to walk.  I'd take this year off and reevaluate my participation next year.

4) I know that the fight against breast cancer needs to continue.  My passion for that has not changed, but I'm no longer sure that Komen is the vehicle I want to support to do that.

I don't really know where to go from here to resolve the "Should I walk?" question.  However, I want to say once more that I greatly appreciate you taking the time to listen to what I have to say on this and hope that the larger Komen organization hears the relevant parts of my input and the input of other participants and learns from them to improve their organization.

Thank you for your time,

Margie Dowens
(2/22/12) Training: 30 minutes of walking ~ 1.5 mile, Total 22.0 miles
(2/19/12) Training: 5.3 miles in 1 hour 50 minutes, Total: 20.5 miles
(2/18/12) Training: Aerobics, 1 hour
(2/13/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(2/6/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(2/1/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(1/30/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 40 minutes
(1/26/12) Training: 3.1 miles in 55 minutes, Total 15.2 miles
(1/23/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(1/20/12) Training: 5.1 miles in 1 hr 51 minutes, Total 12.1 miles
(1/18/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(1/13/12) Training: 3.5 miles in 1 hr 11 minutes, Total 7 miles
(1/11/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(1/10/12) Training: 3.5 miles in 1 hr 16 minutes; Total: 3.5 miles
(1/9/12) Training: Aqua Aerobics, 1 hour
(12/7/11) Fundraising: $200 (matching gift), Total: $605
(12/5/11) Fundraising: $10, Total: $405
(11/28/11) Fundraising: $100, Total: $395