In case you didn’t know, I’m a seven-year cancer survivor. My diagnosis anniversary is May 13, and I’ll dedicate a post to that soon, but I wanted to give you the heads up so you can realize how important Relay for Life is to me. Relay was a few weeks ago on Friday, April 20. The event lasted from 6PM-6AM! I somehow managed to stay up ALMOST the whole time. I feel asleep for about forty-five minutes around 430, but I think that’s acceptable.
I was a member of an awesome team, Cohort C. As a team we raised $687 for the American Cancer Society, and I personally raised $287 of that. My team consisted of a classmate in my education “cohort” Ashley, her boyfriend Brian, and six of my wonderful and supportive friends. Ashley and Brian stayed until around two or three, and Jessica left shortly after. My friend Zach’s girlfriend Courtney came for several hours and the two of them left around three as well. Me, Alex, Chris, Ian, and Justin (the guy who literally walked THE ENTIRE NIGHT without stopping!!!!!) managed to stay the entire night though! (Although Alex and Chris left for about an hour because Chris had homework.) Regardless of how long they stayed, I am so thankful to have such a great group that did this event with me. I am also thankful for Ashley and another classmate Catherine for asking me to be apart of the event!
I was not sure how I would be affected by the ceremony emotionally. For the most part, I was having a blast. Laughing, walking with friends, Zumba at one o’clock in the morning, coloring, and winning a scavenger hunt. Of course, there was time spent stuffing my face and relaxing, too. There was also time I spent reflecting on how far I’ve made it and the group of great friends that I had there with me. Relay always has an “Luminaria ceremony” where people can decorate a small paper bag dedicated to someone who has survived, is still fighting, or has last their battle with cancer. It’s a quiet moment to honor those people. Candles are placed inside the bags which line the walking track. During this walk, two of my best friends, Alex and Jessica, were linked at my arms, and we walked together, the guys close behind us. As we walked, I closed my eyes and thanked and praised God for being with me along my journey and for pulling me through it. I also thanked Him for blessing me with such an awesome group of friends who would stay up all night to join the fight against cancer. It was a touching night, and I can never say thanks enough to God for helping me come this far. Thanks American Cancer Society and Relay for Life for your efforts to help cancer patients have more birthdays!