Dressed in pink shirts adorned with the distinctive breast cancer ribbon, hundreds of people gathered Friday at Lake Nokomis to catch a break during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day trek for what looks like its last time in Minnesota.
Event organizer Carrie Stovall confirmed that the foundation is cutting back on the number of fundraising walks, from seven cities to four, and the Twin Cities didn’t make the cut.
Stovall said the downsizing is an effort to keep the three-day event afloat and the walking community together.
“We felt like it was just the best decision to look at events that could be regional to continue to spread the important message,” she said.
The walk raises money and awareness for breast cancer research.
Participants will continue on the 60-mile course Saturday, making their way through White Bear Lake and Roseville. On Sunday, the group will walk from downtown Minneapolis to St. Paul and close with a ceremony at the State Capitol.
The Twin Cities’ fundraising event has raised $61 million since 2004. But next year only Boston, Chicago, Dallas and San Diego will host the walk.
Many Minnesota participants had a somber reaction Friday to the news.
“It’s definitely going to be sad,” said St. Cloud native Taylor Danielson. “This is something we like to do as a family, so we’re going to miss it.”
Danielson said that she and her cousin were volunteering in celebration of their aunt, a 16-year survivor.
“If we could coordinate it enough we would love to go to one of the other cities,” she said.
Stillwater resident Melissa Dickhausen agreed.
“When I first started I wasn’t doing it for anyone in particular,” she said. “But as the years have gone [by], the list has grown immensely.”
Dickhausen said she plans on walking in San Diego next year. She always wanted to go there, she said, “but I always thought I was cheating on Minneapolis. Now we’re excited about going out and spreading awareness.”
Irene Cassidy of New Jersey, a five-year survivor, said she’ll continue to travel because the Komen walks give her the chance to explore cities she doesn’t frequent.
“I think going to a new city lends a bit more excitement,” she said. “I don’t get stuck in the same rut, so it adds something.”
While the Twin Cities will no longer host the 3-Day, Stovall said that doesn’t mean the foundation is leaving Minnesota completely. Next year’s Race For the Cure is still scheduled to take place.