Firstly, I apologize for my absence. Life happens.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life again. I was the team captain for The Rockin’ Entourage, a team made up of mostly my family and a few close family friends. I chose to do the relay for my senior community service project because of how much the event means to me.
Why do I relay? Originally my mom was part of a team called the Walk N’ Rollers. The team lasted for quite a few years and had even claimed the Top Fundraising Team for two years in a row. My mom had even claimed the prize of Top Individual Fundraiser in 2008. The team was put together because my brother’s aunt got cancer. Although she survived, she was near death many times and still suffers from the damage chemo and radiation did to her body.
Then on June 8 of last year my grand grandpa died of cancer at the age of 90. He was too old to undergo any treatment and he was given a window of the time he had to live.
I signed up for the event and registered by the first team captains meeting. I was ready to help finish the fight and put an end to cancer. Then cancer struck back.
My journalism teacher, who is definitely one of the greatest people I have ever met, was diagnosed with cancer near the end of the school year. This came just months after another teacher at my school was diagnosed with cancer and had to take leave for the remainder of the year. He was okay, he took the last week of school off and had the cancer removed, but it was just a reminder for me that cancer can strike when you least expect it.
The relay itself was a joy as always. My team dressed up as 1980s hair band members and my tent site was decorated by stringing my family’s ’80s rock t-shirts together. We also made a team sign and sold Epic Donuts (thanks to my neighbors, the owners of Epic Donuts, for donating six dozen to us) and held a raffle on a massive bird house. Our efforts to compete in every spirit activity and to act silly paid off.
We won Best Decorated Tent for our unique ideas. We didn’t win best baton, but our Aqua Net hairspray was pretty clever too. And, unfortunately, we didn’t win most spirited team, despite our 24-hours of running around the track in zebra-print pants and wigs while doing guitar solos to rock songs. It was still a fun event, and a very important fundraiser. We contributed nearly $2000 to the relay, which isn’t bad for a brand new team.
I will never forget the Luminaria at the end of the first night, where we remember those who we have lost to cancer and recognize those who are still fighting or who have succeeded in their fight. I will never forget when we painted HOPE on the field and a plane flew overhead to take out picture. The Relay for Life is a very powerful thing.
I really recommend the Relay for Life experience to anyone who has been affected by cancer, or who knows someone who has. Even if you just want to help raise money or just show up to see what relay is all about, it is bound to be an exciting time.
Hope It – Dream It – Cure It.
As the American Cancer Society puts it, “follow us to a world with more birthdays.” PASS HOPE ON.