Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reflections of the year

I often view the holiday season as a time for reflection. While reflection should occur frequently, Christmas is a time where I get to slow down a bit and look back on events that transpired throughout the year.

This year I am reflecting on my first 2-event year and how wonderful it was to go coast-to-coast as well as be the first and last events for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I met lots of new folks who had a ton of energy as well as return to embrace friends from previous years. Both events went very well. This is a time in the year where people step outside their daily grind to really give of themselves. It is a chance to see people at their best.

But alas, I also reflect on the fact that I went to 2 more Breast Cancer 3-Days this year. Do I grow weary of attending? NO. However, what I yearn for is the day I can go to a Breast Cancer 3-Day that is not about raising money awareness, but a PHAT party to celebrate the fact we have accomplished our goal of finding ways to give people a lifetime.

My best friend visited last night. She is finishing her PHd in genetic statistics. What was revealing to me yesterday was that cancer will never go away. It is not something we can immunize against. Current research is at the point of trying to figure out the causes and how to stop cells from dividing, which if I understand correctly, is the problem when you have cancer. Everything can cause cancer, so science is working on figuring out how to correct the body once cancer has been found.

The epiphany to me was that I will probably be volunteering for a long time until the solution is developed. If for no other reason then to raise awareness to get checked early, then my battle will have been worth the cost. The promising news is that my best friend's advisor, a well respected geneticist in the industry truly believes the solution will be found in her lifetime...that means theirs hope for me to see this through.


Monday, December 3, 2007

How the thought of cancer affects me

The last few days have been tenuous for me and my family. Over the weekend I had to bring my mom in to the emergency room for lightheadedness and other symptoms that require medical attention. Over the course of 2 days, assessments have indicated internal problems. Whether you are a cancer survivor or the family member of a cancer survivor, anything worse than the flu can send you into worrisome thoughts about cancer.

My first thought, "please don't let it be cancer." I hung on every word the doctors said. I copied down terminology and conditions that they spewed. I googled or researched each term. "What are the symptoms?" "What are the causes?" "What's the treatment?" To call medicine a science, I sometimes really wonder. It's not a science per's an art. Yes, they know all the names of conditions, symptoms, and technical terms...but when it comes to the bottom line, can they get the differential correct the first time? That's the art.

Last year, I ended up having some surgery. Let's just say, symptoms caused me to go to the doctor. What started out as one thing, ended up in the removal of a lymph node for me. Detrimental? Not highly, but the art in determining my problem was missed by two doctors...yup credentialed and all. My biggest worry was whether or not they were going to diagnose correctly...because the power of the internet gave me the ability to look up what I had potentially. Guess what? Cancer was in there as one of the choices.

Just knowing my mom is a survivor makes me that much more paranoid when things happen to me. A good friend of mine is a cancer survivor. She has attempted to put cancer out of her mind and now I understand to some degree...why.

So today, we learn my mom does not have's something else...but what? A two to three day wait is now required for the results from the biopsy. I pray it is nothing serious.

But in the end, look what cancer has done to me. I think it no different than any other major life threatening event and how it affects peoples' lives. Am I scared of it? Sure. I hope to avoid cancer and as many other similar problems in my life.

That's why I fight. I fight the fight so maybe someday, just children and children around the world will know a world where you don't have to worry about cancer.


Friday, November 30, 2007

A Captain's Forum for 3-Day

I created a Facebook group for Crew Captains of 3-Day. With 14 events and close to 25 captains per event, that is about 350 people who all need the same information.

If you don't have a Facebook account, please sign's free

I want to use the Facebook group for sharing ideas and best practices. A great example would be the standardization of griding out the camp. I have had 5 years to get a good working model and now it's available on this group. This area should also be a great resource for new captains. Let's leverage the collective knowledge of 14 cities!

Click on the title of this post to go to the 3-Day Crew Captains Forum


The lifecycle of 1 Camp Logistics Captain

So what does being Captain mean?

To start with it is almost a year long commitment to plan, execute, and review the 3-Day event itself. I strongly believe a great working relationship between the captains and 360 staff is vital to the success of the event.

Here's the perspective from Camp Logistics


Early during the year, crew coordinators will start sending out rosters to captains. Prior experience helps a captain know how many people needed to accomplish the assigned duties. Otherwise, new captains will have to rely on the crew coordinator and coaches.

I would like to help change this by creating a central location that all crew captains in 14 cities can use to help them run a better event.

A captain has to think about the schedule of events and the needs of people resource throughout the event.

In my San Diego world, I get the opportunity to plan around several activities because we not only set up camp, my team is on the route as well. Thanks to my wonderful crew coordinator Amy Schwager.

Throughout the year a captain has to communicate with the team to ensure people understand what is expected of them, inform them of changes, influence participation in 3-Day activities, and keep an eye on attrition.


Once the event arrives, captains must assemble their teams for any last minute updates. The event begins and everyone attends to their duties. It is very important that the captain understands all the moving parts within their purview as well as some external moving parts. For example, if you are the captain of a Grab & Go, you should know the level of your supplies and when you might run out. This could be based on the walker count that has already passed your station. External factors might include staff opening up the route early or opening camp early. This will require some adjustment by the captain of any team.

In the end, my philosophy is that every ounce of effort should be left on the field. Going home tired and worn out means we did the best we could to make it a great event for the walkers.


Following the event and after some well deserved rest, each captain begins to assess the results of the event. This is the time to reflect on what went well and what could use some improvement.

For example, I would like to think that in 2006, the several suggestions our team had for different means of trash receptacles, led to the implementation of metal frames in 2007. They don't blow over and they are easy to change!

The Unspoken

Each captain always considers the people aspect of the event. After all this is a people event. It is up to the captain to find ways for their team to have lots of fun while doing the hardest work many people have ever done. While trying to remind people this is for charity, in the heat of the moment, it's not always easy to remember. So here are a few guidelines that I have used over the years for my team:

1. Don't ask anyone to do anything you wouldn't do yourself

2. Bend like the willow, have feathers like a duck

3. In the face of adversity or an angry walker...SMILE

4. Communicate and communicate often

5. Give yourself to the's the energy that runs the whole thing


3-Day Crew Captain - New to Blogging

Well, from a programmer's perspective..."Hello, World." The standard phrase to test results from your program. This has been a long time coming and I am definitely behind on the Web 2.0 phase. However, I needed the appropriate time to think about what was really important to write about.

After much thought, I decided I am going to post about my experiences, best practices, and thoughts about being a volunteer CREW member for the Susan G. Komen, Breast Cancer 3-Day.

So how about some context first?

I started volunteering for the Breast Cancer 3-Day (hereafter written as 3-Day) in 2003. San Francisco was the city and it was a 60-mile walk from Bay Meadows to Golden Gate Park. Instead of walking, I decided to help with the behind the scenes work. After attending a crew meeting, the crew coordinator, Terry Hoerstkamp (sp?), now Terry Yoder, asked for crew captains. I thought to myself, why not? I can lead. Little did I know, I volunteered for one of the hardest working teams of the event, SETUP. If anyone remembers that year, it was the year of the "RELO!" My team ended up coming back from campsite 2 to grid out a couple thousand sleeping spots within the confines of the Bay Meadows building.

The experience turned out to be I did it again next year. Craig Hermes was the crew coordinator and he did a great job. Unfortunately, the powers that be decided that Bay Area was too expensive and there were too many competing events, namely AVON. So I had to find a new home because I did not want the magic to end. I was hooked.

In 2005, I manage to sign on with San Diego. Little did I know (again!) that San Diego turned out to be the BIGGEST event. With SF gone and LA gone too, people flocked to San Diego (and Seattle). That year, over 4,200 walkers participated in San Diego and combined with approximately 300+ crew, the event raised just over $10 million.

Since 2005, I have been in San Diego as Crew Captain for Camp Logistics (a fancy way to say SETUP). In 2007, I also worked Boston. Next year, I plan 3 events, Boston, San Diego, and Bay Area.

IT'S TRUE! 3-Day is coming back to the Bay Area!

Why do this?

Everyone has their own reasons for participating. However, for whatever reasons you have, the reason to participate is because it is IMPORTANT. I used to think, "Why raise money that will not go very far?" We have all heard of the stories of corruption and administrative costs that suck up all the dollars. Furthermore, we can very well speculate that the pharma companies have incentives not to cure diseases because that disrupts revenue streams.

So what's left?

AWARENESS. Look after yourself as a person. While pharmas won't cure every disease, they at least make products that help us live longer. With breast cancer...EARLY detection is paramount.

That's why it is important to participate...because everyone deserves a lifetime.