Sunday, June 7, 2009

Relay for Life

Over the weekend I participated in the Relay for Life.
What is Relay For Life? from the Relay for Life website

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity. It offers everyone in a community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.

Teams of people from all walks of life have fun while raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.

No matter who you are, there’s a place for you at Relay. To participate, form a team, or dedicate a luminaria at your local American Cancer Society Relay For Life, please call 1.800.227.2345 or visit

Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people to:

• Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.
• Remember loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.
• Fight Back. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease

I don't know anyone who has not been effected by cancer in some way. When I was 14, I lost my grandma to breast cancer. My best friend's dad is fighting pancreatic cancer. My cousin's 3 old year son has battled cancer since infancy. A high school friend lost her young daughter to cancer this year. My mother in law is a survivor. My parent's good friend, Dorothy passed away just months ago after a long, hard fight with breast cancer. In my place of worship, every Sunday, the prayer requests are read aloud. I hear, "cancer, cancer, cancer..." My heart aches for those who have lost, for those in the fight, for the moms that hold their babies through treatments. I have a feeling of helplessness against this disease.

The Relay for Life offered me a small way to feel like I could help. Make a difference, even. It was such a wonderful event. A way to memorialize loved ones and honor survivors and those who are still in the midst of this disease. We heard survivor stories. The event was touching and sad and hopeful and even fun. Our team, Rings of Life was named in memory of my parent's friend, Dorothy Ring. I would encourage any of you that feel touched by this disease to participate. Bring your family. Bring your friends. There were activities for kids, music was playing, lots of support and ways to keep the relayers uplifted and excited about what we were doing.The relay I attended had a circus theme. There were clowns and acrobats. I witnessed a seriously competitive game of musical chairs on the side of the track. I got to walk the laps with my aunt, my sisters, my mom. For a little while, the frustration and the hopelessness were gone.

Here is where the dollars raised go:

Research, Education, and Advocacy

*Free transportation to local cancer patients needing rides to and from treatment.
*Support for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients by pairing them with trained breast cancer survivors who have undergone a similar experience.
*A camp for young cancer patients and survivors ages 6 through 15 that offers them the opportunity to enjoy recreation and companionship as part of a traditional camping experience.
*College scholarships for cancer survivors from Indiana and Michigan planning to attend an accredited college or university in either state.
*Free lodging and a supportive environment for caregivers and cancer patients undergoing outpatient treatment.
*24-hour access to up-to-date cancer information and support in over 75 languages

Some scenes from the Relay for Life this weekend:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cancer sucks. We are just beginning our battle with my Dad's prostate cancer diagnosis. Makes me cringe just typing it.

Thanks for this post. People never think it will happen to them/someone they know.

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