"When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better." Unknown
Brace yourself because this post is probably a lot deeper than you would have liked to have read on a Tuesday morning. If you have been a follower of mine you may know that I strongly support the American Cancer Society's main fundraising event called,Relay for Life. If you are new to following me, first of all...welcome, because I don't think I have welcomed y'all yet and second you may not know the reason I relay. Three years ago, I lost my best friend to cancer. She was young, vibrant, beautiful, kind, she was my best friend but more than that she was my sister. I miss her every single day and as long as I'm alive and able I will fight with all I have in honor of her and others who have lost their battle with cancer or are fighting for their lives right now. Earlier in the year I wrote this post about her, feel free to read it and learn more about what happened and more about how awesome and wonderful she was.
I have volunteered for Relay for Life for about 5 or six years now, I first got involved not necessarily because I wanted to but because I had to. In college, I was in a sorority and as many of you know being in a sorority isn't just frat parties and socials...we sometimes have to do philanthropic activities as well...I know, right? Imagine that. Anyway, one of the events was a Relay for Life and I didn't partake in the overnight activity I just donated money.
Well, the summer after DonEtta was diagnosed with cancer I had just moved back to my hometown after graduating college and felt the need to get involved. It was too late for me to start a team, so my mom and I joined the Firefighters team. We had a great time, I mean why wouldn't we, we were with the firefighters...hello! I learned more about the meaning of Relay and what it represents. Relay for Life is about Celebrating, Remembering and Fighting back. Celebrating those who have survived Cancer with a celebratory walk around the track, remembering those loved ones we have lost to cancer with the luminaria ceremony and at the end of the night waking up to the sun and promising to fight back.
The following year, I did not participate in Relay for Life, that was the year that I lost my best friend, my sister to cancer. I just couldn't bring myself to participate, I probably should have, Relay for Life has sort of this healing power. I don't know what it is, it probably has something to do with the hundreds of people walking down the track backwards wearing dresses for whatever kind of lap is going on at that time or the fact that everyone is there coming together for the same cause, the same reason. To have hope, hope that someday we won't have to have these events in memory of those lost, but to celebrate that cancer has been beat.
The next year rolls around and I am there in that meeting. My mom and I decided to have a team, our team is called Marga-Relayville....clever, right? Our two passions, Margaritas and Relaying. We raised over 1200.00 as a team and camped all night, that is until it rained on us and was freezing cold. Cancer doesn't just go away when it rains outside or when it's freezing cold, cancer doesn't stop while your sleeping, or while your walking your lap around the track. So, why should we?
Last year was the first year that both my mom and I were on the committee for our local Relay. I was the survivorship chair and my mom did the accounting. It was a lot of time, a lot of dedication and a lot of work...but it was more than worth it. I had the best time doing what I did. No, I didn't get paid for it, but that doesn't matter. When you are involved in something that is without a doubt bigger than you are and you are passionate about it and you want to see a great outcome, it doesn't matter how much of your time you put into it....just seeing the smiles on those survivors cross that lap is worth all the time and money in the world.
The last weekend I was very fortunate to have gotten invited to participate in the American Cancer's Society High Plains division Summit in Dallas. It's where volunteers and staff come to stay in a fancy hotel for a couple of days and take in all things Relay. It was the most amazing, inspirational, educational, worth while experience of my life. Just when you think you are having a bad day, have a conversation with a six time cancer survivor who has been in remission for 2 years. Then tell me how bad you think your day was. I made friends for life, others just like me who are fighting this same fight for those they love. I met survivors. Survivor isn't just a word...it's a reality. It's a way of life. Surviving. I watched two little boys receive an award for their mother who just lost her battle to breast cancer. Their mom was only 36, and while she was fighting cancer, she was relaying and raising money, she raised over 40,000 individually. How amazing is that? Obviously the apples don't fall to far from the tree, because her little boys, who by the way are ages 10 and 7 each raised individually over 20,000 each.
The stories I could tell could go on and on, but I have already written a novel. When you are this passionate about something, it's easy to write. I know their are a million different causes out there for everyone to get behind and support and I am all about it. There is not a single person in this world that has not experienced cancer, whether you personally have had it or know someone who has. Cancer doesn't discriminate, it knows not race, age, gender, whether your rich or poor, famous or not famous. It doesn't care.
If you would like more information about Relay for Life or how you can join your local Relay in your community please email me or leave me a comment, I would be more than happy to get you the information you need.
Have a wonderful day loves!