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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 on.

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 passed away.

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.

Click here for more pictures

Our Chick of the Month Relay for Life Team Leaders
Megan Reeves and Courtney Witherspoon

Click here for more information about
the Relay For Life events near you

 

 

 

 

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