Thursday, July 24, 2008
Thanks to Chelsey and AG Edwards/Wachovia, we had a Relay for Life Team for 2008! I have participated on the outskirts of the event before, making luminaries for people to purchase at the event and the like, but this was my first year actually being a part of it. Let me tell you, it is amazing. I think that even if I didn't have people in my life that this cause strikes home for, I still would have been blown away at the enormosity of it all. I decorated a luminary for In Celebration of Steve and one For the Fight of Rita, and one for In Memory of Linda Tiersma (for Beach's sister).
It was amazing to see all the decorated luninaria in the daylight, but it was breath taking to see all of them lit at night- 4 full street blocks worth!! I was (much to Steve's delight) able to light his and Rita's luminaries. Rita even came down for a while to hang out! She and I did a lap to check out all the festivities and show her the one I made for her. She is doing fantastic and looks great! She's ready to start her maintenance chemo- I am lucky to still have her with us!
I figure I walked close to 5 hours, and Richard thinks 3 times around the block is a mile... no wonder I was tired! The Luminary Ceremony was something else- once all of the luminaria were lit, we did a lap of silence, then gathered at one corner for about 20 min of speeches, then started to walk again. It was really emotional and amazing to be a part of! They started reading off all of the names on each luminary- they went in 10 min spurts, with a song or 3 in between- they started at 11:00 pm-ish and ended around 4:30 am!! Jaimie and I slept in her tent with ear plugs in and could still hear the names! It would wake us up every time they switched between names and songs.
I woke up at 6am to walk another hour, and it was uplifting. At the start of the relay, the chairwoman explained the significance of starting at 6 pm and going until 2 pm the next day. It is symbolic of a cancer patent's journey: twilight is when you find out you have cancer, then as you start to deal with it and treatment, you go into your darkest hours. Dawn breaks and you are coming out of treatment as a survivor, or getting ready to leave your worn out earthly body and live free in heaven... it gives me goose bumps just to type it and remember those parts of the journey I have lived through myself. It's just so true, and so amazing to be able to apply that to a larger cause than my husband and mother-in-law, and to have been a part of all of it. What an amazing experience!! Jaimie, Becki, Chels and I were joking that this year we were novices- next year will rock!! Each hour had a theme- poker, P.J's, disco, etc,. and sometimes we went in the other direction around the block. We will SO be prepared next year! Cody and Clint manned the wachovia guess how many pens in the jar table- and did fantastic with the ladies- until we'd show up again, so we had to distance that!
Go Team- CANCER SUCKS!!