19 May 2012

Relay For Life 2012

Relay for Life is great.

On the American Cancer Society website, it says this about the relay:
"Relay For Life is a life-changing event that helps communities across the globe celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease."
And really, there is not much more I can add to that.

Last year's post was about my reason for walking and how we spent the night making memories.
This year, it was about that, too, but something had changed. Something was added to MY equation. My outcome was changed. Because this year, I was not alone. My best friend Beth was with me and my unborn baby.

I am a survivor. I am HOPE (as some of the t-shirts say). But I am also a witness to God's love, mercy and grace. I was so blessed to have Beth there, right next to me, because this year, i KNOW that if that stupid cancer would ever come back, I would be prepared (as much as one can be prepared for such a tragedy), and I would NOT be alone.

And I know - I was not alone last time, I had my wonderful husband and my family as support. What I didn't have was a best friend or a tight church family that was close to me and that supported me. And not because they didn't want to, it was because I was not close to them, and I was 'hiding'. Big time. Cancer is funny that way! It can break the strongest person, or it can break the weakest one out of their shells. For me, it was the latter. I broke out, finally. I became more open. I started talking about it. And you know what happened? I got hugs. I got encouraging words. I got prayers every time I went back for an appointment. And I got a best friend, who loves me and holds my hand when a bad day sweeps over me.

I AM NOT ALONE anymore. And that is what made yesterday so special.

The event starts at around 7 pm with the survivors lap - and this year, I did not walk it alone. Beth and Baby came with me, as a sea of purple shirts walked very slowly around the track one time. It was a wonderful moment shared together.
By the way, we had special shirts made for this event, that were designed by a friend of Beth. My t-shirt says: "My Bun. Her Oven." and Beth t-shirt says: "Her Bun. My Oven." Thank you to a very kind lady.

After that, the opening ceremony started, where the survivors sit on benches as the people on stage make their speeches. Last year, I sat alone; this year, we were standing up front together.
After the speeches, the survivors took a picture for the newspapers, and signed a huge banner - that I believe was hung up later - but we didn't get to see that anymore, as we left early. Miss Beth needs her beauty sleep.

Last year, I walked 19 miles throughout that night; this year, I made it a total of 4 laps, that is pretty much one mile. Wow. Talk about a crazy workout! While waiting, we were also busy decorating a cake. Which again, I had to do by myself last year, and just recruited Beth this year to help. Someone donated the cake to our team, and the survivor of that team has to decorate it, and this way, it is put up for the auction, and the winner of that cake will take it home.

We waited for the Luminarias that started at 9pm. They are to remember loved ones that lost the battle, loved ones that are fighting right now, and in honor of all the survivors, that hopefully never again have to fight that specific battle. It is very touching. Our team leader had put up two for me, one in the circle that goes around the entire track, and one in the ribbon that was next to the stage. (If you want to see pictures of them at night, I would kindly refer you to the post from last year.) 

And there is one picture of the ribbon that was a new addition to the ceremony.

It was a night to remember, at least for me. And I am looking forward to doing this again next year. One day, I would love to bring the entire family....

I want to shout out a big thank you to all my friends, new and old, who donated to the team. The money will be used for good. For example, it will be used to buy wigs for those that are going through chemo therapy. It will also provide rides for people who do not have a support team that can take them to the oncologies, hence to their doctor appointments or treatments.And it will do much more than that. THANK YOU.


C. Beth said...

It was special to go back this year...to see how far God has taken us both on this journey!

C. Beth said...

AND...I am so honored to be part of YOUR survival journey.

Call Me Cate said...

It sounds like such a wonderful event, Ann. Thanks for sharing your experience.