Thank You, after the MI 3Day

The Michigan Breast Cancer 3Day walk was incredible, amazing and unforgettable because you helped our team in the fight against breast cancer. Here’s a recap on how the ‘hot’ weekend went. (Literally the hottest weekend that Michigan has seen this year!)


DSC01779 The Opening Ceremony began at the Henry Ford Museum Friday morning in Dearborn. We walked through U of M Dearborn and then through Hines Park where the community quickly came out to show their support. They were handing us everything from ice pops to candy and stickers! We were so excited to find so many of our friends and family who made it out to the cheering stations to support us! At the first cheering station, we saw Victor (who will be walking with is in San Diego) and his friends holding a HUGE Coconutter Strutter sign, Mellisa; one of our newest teammates who will also be walking in San Diego, Amelia’s mom with her dog, Guiness as well as Trisha and her husband with their newest little coconut, Miles! Trisha walked with our team last year and we were so lucky to catch her as we were nearing the end of the cheering station! It’s always so fun to see how creative people are with the themes along the 3Day route. DSC01793DSC01788Each pit stop and lunch has a theme and the crew dresses up, blasts music and make us all feel like we are part of their world. We found ourselves walking along the yellow brick road, hung out with the “Boob Bees” and even saw “Snow Pink and the 7 Hooters”. We found our way to camp and were looking forward to shade, food and showers. We were lucky enough to meet our camp angels who DSC01824helped us carry our luggage and even helped us set up our tent! We are also very thankful for the Romeo High School football players who helped us put up our tent decorations. It was a little tricky getting everything to hang just right! (Considering that we had to pack everything we needed for the weekend in one bag that weighed less than 35lbs, our tent decorations rocked!!!) That first night we made fast friends with a couple of girls who had a tent directly across from us. This was their first year walking and they were so exhausted from the heat and the long day that they decided to find their way to a hotel for the night instead of hanging out in their luxurious pink tent. We promised that we would watch their cute butterfly decorated tent and make sure their tent wouldn’t blow away in the wind after we put all of our luggage inside. ;) (In hindsight, the one thing we didn’t think of is the extra tent that we would need to take down on the last day- oh well, it was worth it!)


Saturday's 20.9-mile day was a continuous flow of support from the incredible cheering stations, the cheerleaders, music blasting from all directions, Girls Scouts with their cookies and the “Dancing Lady”. It was this day that we started to feel pretty popular! Tomi, Amelia and I wore DSC01848matching shirts each day with our Coconutter Strutters logo and people started to really notice. Coming into the Plymouth cheering station a woman handed us baggies filled with ice cubes (our favorite treat this year) and out of the blue said “Hey! It’s the Coconutter Strutters! You know, I won’t be there in San Diego to hand you ice!” We have no idea who this woman was and were too excited to stop and ask… we just enjoyed the moment of fame! It’s almost impossible to truly describe the cheering station held in Plymouth. Widely known for their pink fountain, Plymouth was jam-packed with supporters this year! We took advantage of the crowd and hung out for a little while DSC01852chatting with my mom, Aunt Terry, Victor, Kristen (who had just traveled in from Texas) and Kim with her newest little guy, Alex. Alex, like Miles the day before, was sporting his new Coconutter Strutters onesie- so stinkin’ cute! Just when the excitement was wearing off after the Plymouth cheering station a few more miles down the road we came across another five seconds of fame experience! Like many of the houses along the route, a small group had gathered in the front yard to show their support. This particular group had set up a small table where their children were handing out water and candy. As we waved someone noticed our Coconutter Strutters shirts again and said, “Hey! It’s the Coconutter Strutters, I saw you guys on Facebook!” It turned out that one of her friends had put a comment in their status that morning to look for the Coconutter Strutters on the 3Day walk. The funny thing- we have no idea who these people were and none of us recognized their friends either! How crazy is that! At one point we even ran into Amelia’s friend Dan, he flagged us down as he was driving by with his wife and kids. DSC01861We swung into DSC01864McDonalds parking lot to give sweaty hugs and then back to pounding the sidewalks. My mom, Aunt Terry, Victor and his friends were true walker-stalkers that day as they managed to find us between stops. We eventually made it to the final cheering station where they brought us gifts, candy and balloons. We were also so excited to meet Tomi’s Aunt Penny- we had requested that she bring baggies full of ice and she did! We continued to feel support from our friends as we saw Christina (a previous 3Day walker) DSC01865and her family (her aunt Pat worked medical) with her awesome sign that she made, noting Coconutter Strutters, of course! And Heidi (another previous 3Day walker who had just walked in Chicago the weekend before), who came out with her daughter and their incredible “Hip, Hippo, Hurray! Thank you for walking the 3Day” sign and stuffed hippo entourage. Thank goodness we were just a mile or so from camp, we were pooped! The heat was starting to get to us as the temperature reached 89 degrees, but as always on the 3Day someone was one step ahead of us and thinking about how they can make this the absolute best experience, the Livonia Fire Department was waiting for us at the entrance of camp with their fire truck spraying water to cool us down. We quickly found our tent and found that we had won the tent decorating contest! We have been inspired by so many great ideas over the years that we finally put something together. Now winnerwe’re thinking of how we’re going to make it stretch across multiple tents in San Diego this fall. Camp that night was pretty relaxing, after dinner we took advantage of the AMAZING 5-minute chair massage provided by one of the sponsors. This wasn’t just one of those goofy chairs that you sit in at the mall, it massaged your feet and legs and back all at once. They even had a funky photo shoot that we couldn’t pass up. We typically take advantage of the stretching circle (lead by an awesome lady who helps us stretch out each and every muscle) but tonight it was just too darn hot to stretch in the sun so we laid out a sheet in the grass along the shade of the dining tent and relaxed. With shade, baggies of ice on our toes and a cool breeze we listened to the camp news, watched some amazing dancers and giggled at the routines during 3Day Rock Star (yep our own version of karaoke with lots of pink).


Sunday morning we were one of the first teams awake. We were being bussed into Ann Arbor for the first pit stop today so we needed to get up, pack up, eat breakfast and get in line for the ‘school bus’ by 5:45am! After walking 40 miles you can only imagine how slow some of us were moving. We walked through the U of M campus, along Main Street and through a number of beautiful parks. This description of the final day is pretty short because it was hot. That’s all I remember, just being hot. We ran across Victor and his friends one last time. I’m not sure how they found us along the trail we were walking but it wasn’t hard to finally spot them and their crazy huge sign. The last miles on Sunday were unbelievably hot as the sun was beating down on us with full force! Once again, we were rewarded with a cool mist from the Ann Arbor Township Fire Department.

Closing ceremonies were incredible; we once again had a small fan club there to support us. My husband came out (primarily to drive us home but also to see what had caused my infatuation with pink) along with another good friend Julie, who will be walking with us in San Diego, and her husband and daughter, came out to see us walk the final distance around the survivors’ circle. Despite the heat and the exhaustion all 1,800 walkers plus the staff, crew and volunteers cheered, cried and raised one shoe to show their support for all of the survivors who gathered in the center, the heart of their new family.

The 4.7million dollars that the Michigan walkers raised will help Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund save lives. Thank you for helping the Coconutter Strutters contribute everything they had for the most amazing, life-altering, 3days!

thank you 3


  1. Way to go Vanessa!!! So glad to see your pics. I really missed walking this year...

  2. Miss Vanessa you may have to give me a blogging class! You are so creative! Love the pics :)