Friday, March 19, 2010

Meet the Team ~ Joyce

Each team member will be profiled here. Up first, team captain Joyce Rizer. Joyce is a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a Pampered Chef consultant and the Executive Producer for Sirius XM Radio's Nashville operations. This is how her 3-Day journey began.

Susan G. Komen was from my neck of the woods ~ Peoria, IL. When “Suzy” died in 1980, her sister Nancy promised her that she would do everything in her power to eradicate breast cancer. How many times have I told someone I’d do “anything I can” for them? I feel pretty small and insignificant when I think of how Nancy’s promise has turned into Komen for the Cure. $1.5 billion – that’s a “b” – later, every significant advance in the fight against breast cancer has been touched by a Komen grant.

I first heard about the Breast Cancer 3-day Walks three or so years ago when I read an interview or news story somewhere on Trisha Yearwood. She walked the Chicago walk in 2007. Then Boston in 2008, and San Francisco in 2009. She talked about it when I produced an album premiere special for Heaven, Heartache & The Power of Love. How much support there was during the walk, how women would honk and wave and cheer. How survivors would thank her for walking for them. Sounded pretty cool – but way out of my league.

I heard Garth talk about it when he released a pink edition of The Ultimate Hits that benefited Komen. On the album premiere I produced for that project, he talked about watching these women train, and he said that he wanted to do a pink edition so that he could be as cool as his wife. I walked through the big pink truck outside his concerts in Kansas City. But that was as much thought as I’d give to walking. At least for a while.

Last year I walked the Race For The Cure in “Susie’s” hometown with my mom, two sisters-in-law, and my daughter. It was Mother’s Day weekend. My husband ran the same Race – and later the Middle TN Race for The Cure in October. After the Peoria race I started poking around looking at the 3-Day website. No walk in Nashville. So you know… it was pretty easy to say “well I can’t do that.” Because there’s a lot involved. Like a fund raising commitment of $2,300. And a Thursday-Friday- Monday off work, because I’d have to travel to wherever I was going. And I certainly couldn’t do it alone, and really didn’t know who I could get to do it with me.

Then last year, a couple of things happened. My husband started really getting into running. Actually, the Peoria Race For The Cure was his first run… and he was doing one a month after that. I saw the difference that his training and dedication was making in his health, and his overall focus. His long term goal was to do a half marathon. For Christmas, I registered him in the Country Music Half Marathon, which he'll run April 24th. He’s right on track with his training, and I’m SO proud of him. I was also kind of jealous that he had something so cool to be working towards.

Facebook is a funny thing. Even though I’d read about and researched the 3-day Walks, I hadn’t really experienced one. But last fall, my friend Mandy was part of a team that did the 3-day in San Francisco. Mandy is a cancer survivor herself (and an award winning Record Label chick!). She is an amazing human being, and she inspires me to want to do better things with my life. And thanks to modern technology, I felt like I was right there cheering her and her team on as she walked up those San Francisco hills. Photos and status updates and a virtual cheering section wrapped me up in the experience, and I saw just how incredibly cool the event really was. Not that I thought Garth was lying to me… but…a picture’s worth a thousand words, you know?

At that point… I was hooked. I knew I wanted to do a walk; the key was going to be finding some people here in Nashville to do it with me. The thing about this adventure is you’re going to be spending a LOT of time training and preparing, so you want to find fun women to hang out with. So I targeted a couple of cool women who fit that description. My friend Julie was in for sure, and her sister Annette was too. The hardest decision was what city we’d want to walk through.

I talked to Mandy about the experience, and got some words of wisdom, like avoiding crazy hot cities in the summer, picking somewhere scenic, and avoiding really hilly areas for your first walk. So after much back and forth about dates and school schedules, the first Sunday in March Julie and I sat at a table at church with our husbands and made it official – Washington D.C. October 8-10!!!!

The timing was really quite perfect too (as God’s plans tend to be) because later that day we’d be seeing our friend Bridget, who I really hoped would be my tent buddy for the walk. Because let’s face it, there’s a very selfish component of “girlfriend” time involved in this training. Lucky for me, she was on board! Neither Bridget nor Julie have been to D.C. before, so they are LONG overdue for a trip to our nation’s capital! WOOO HOO – we have a team!!!

There's a LOT of fund raising in my future ~ in addition to the $2300 fund raising requirement for the event, there’s a plane ticket and a hotel room and shoes. It all starts with these very first steps of training and organizing. There’s a LOT of miles between here and the 60 we’ll log in D.C. As much as I’m looking forward to the adventure, I’m looking forward to sharing it with all of you!

Unlike so many who do the 3-Day, I haven't been personally affected by this disease. Yet. 1 in 8 women get it.  I have a daughter, and a daughter-in-law and a grandbaby on the way.  Did you know that men get it too?  The reason I walk isn't about the past, it's about the future. Theirs. Mine. Yours.


  1. My best friend and I walked last year in DC. Bravo to your team!!! It is a wonderful, wonderful event that is life changing. One note - while not hilly in the way that San Francisco is, you might be surprised at how hilly DC is. So, don't completely neglect hills in your training. Long, mildly steep hills. We weren't expecting it (having only visited the mall area and museums, you don't realize how hilly the rest of DC is) and neither were a lot of folks on our event.

  2. Thank you Jen! I'll make sure our team incorporates hills on our walks. Plenty of those here in Tennessee!

    Are you walking somewhere this year?