This weekend, I participated in Lodi’s Relay for Life, a worldwide event that raises money for the American Cancer Society and celebrates cancer survivors and remembers those who have lost their battles. Teams throughout each city raise money all year, and join to walk together for 24 hours. Team members walk all day and all night, because cancer never sleeps.
It seems like it’s been days and days since the event kicked off. But it was only yesterday at 9 a.m. with our first lap representing local survivors. Relay for Life was hoping to have 150, maybe 175, survivors come out for the inspirational lap, but we exceeded that, and had 303 survivors represented.
It was a fun day, but emotional, too, as some of my family came out to support the cause only a few days after we lost my uncle to cancer. It was a celebration for most, though it was hard to hear people share their stories of lost ones and to see the heartfelt slideshow of people who have been effected by the disease.
It is the feeling of community that I enjoy most about Relay. You walk together. You sweat and get tan lines together. You share stories. And you share those most treasured stories, the ones of mothers who are no longer here, and of the babies who had to fight so hard to keep their lives.
Here are a few photos from the weekend of too many delirious hours awake. Some people went home to sleep or slept in tents, but Machelle, Maggie and I made it 24 hours (well, 23, because I snuck to my car sometime around 4 a.m. for an hour).
If you want to know more about Relay for Life or information about starting a team, visit www.relayforlife.org.
The Tokay High Band lead the group.One of our team leaders and survivor, Margo, pushing her father, who is also a survivor.People representing. My sign for Jerry and Laura.My dad and a friend stopped by, so we had them pose with the cow ladies. Naturally.Blake, my friend Lyanne’s son, stopped by for hula hoop and macaroni-necklace making.A wall of survivor handprints.And then, you have Miss Relay. Each team dresses up a pretty man and sends him around the track to collect money for cancer. It’s kind of a big deal. Dan, our photo chief, didn’t hold back.He’s been watching too much “Top Model.”As the sun started to set, everyone lined the walkway with luminarias lit with candles. I made one for my soul sister Laura and Uncle Jerry.It was beautiful to see the different luminarias for so many different people.My view from my yoga mat I tried to nap on in the grass, sometime around 3 a.m.:But a couple of hours later, the sun was back up in the sky, and I could peel off the layers of clothes again.The luminarias stayed lit until it was time to go home this morning.Sleepy, sleepy, maybe sunburned, Maggie in the final hour.It was another great event that I was proud to be a part of. Thank you to everyone who spent the last 12 months organizing it. Lodi’s Relay raised an impressive $115,000+ this year for the American Cancer Society. Thank you to everyone who bought raffle tickets, ate at our breakfast bar, shopped at the Snack Shack and donated so generously.
And now, friends, we sleep …