I was invited to participate in my
first Relay For
Life event on the weekend of July 12th and 13th, 2003. At 8:30
in the morning I arrived at to our local high school track with no
idea what to expect. I saw groups of people setting up tents and
laying in provisions. For the participants, this would be a 24-hour
vigil. For me, it would be a "drop by for some LOOOOVE"
whenever I wanted to.
Total strangers greeted me with
hugs, stories and gifts of a T-shirt and food coupons, like I was
family. I felt like a celebrity. I am just getting used to the
immediate bond you feel when in the company of other
"survivors", most of this group were pro's. Those of us
arriving early in the morning were there to walk the first lap
around the track at the official start of the event.
From that point on, four teams will have one member on the
track at all times. While waiting for your walking shift you were
free to party… or sleep, but I can't imagine much sleeping went
The ACS web site explains, "Relay
For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will
never be forgotten, that those living with cancer will be supported,
and that one day, cancer will be illuminated." For team
participants, the 24-hour commitment is symbolic of the never ending,
challenges of living with cancer, or surviving after a loved one has
I returned later that night for the
luminary event with "Boy-chick" (my husband Tobin).
Candles either baring the name of a survivor or in memory of a loved
one lost to cancer encircled the track. The night sky warmly glowed.
There were speakers and songs and we culminated with a walk around
the track, all holding candles representing HOPE.
I am personally grateful for
grassroots events such as these that have raised both money and
consciousness in support of cancer research. This event is reported
to have raised $138,000 for the cause. For OUR cause.
here for more pictures
Chick of the Month Relay for Life Team Leaders
Megan Reeves and Courtney Witherspoon
here for more information about
Relay For Life events near you