Thursday, June 7, 2012

The power of a white paper sandwich bag...

Last weekend I participated in our local Relay For Life event to raise money for Cancer Research and Support.  It is a 24 hour relay event and every team needs to have at least one member on the track at all times.  All day and all night there are tons of things going on - theme laps, zumba dance, lip sync contest, and the beautiful & powerful luminaria ceremony. 

If you ever have the chance to attend and be part of the luminaria ceremony you owe it to yourself to do so.  You will never look at a white paper sandwich bag the same way again.  A few words of remembrance, a name, a picture...then when it is dark you place the bags all the way around the track and add light.  Walking in the dark and seeing people huddled in front of a bag holding each other and crying - it will move you to tears and make your heart swell so huge.  Relay for Life Luminaria Ceremony

Relay For Life Luminaria Ceremony

For myself I made the decision to fundraise by shaving my head.  A great many people came forward and overwhelmed me with their support and their donations.  Thank You to each and every one of you!!  I don't yet have any video from the big event, but here I am directly afterwards.  I rather like being bald - but know that for those who have lost it due to Cancer it is a completely different thing entirely.  Choice is taken away from them by their disease and the treatment to overcome it.  Many people told me how brave I am to have done this...but for me the decision was easy.  Those who fight cancer and/or care for those who do are the brave ones.

My team, Purples & Pinks Cancer Stinks, supplies "lap beads" each year so people know exactly how far they walked.  It has become a real tradition and we actually had people lined up to get their necklace and starter bead before the relay officially began!  The real fun is staying up all night and talking to each walker as they pass by for their next bead.  I think it keeps us going as much as it does them and we really get to know the people and the stories behind why they relay.  I managed 13.25 miles, but there was one little girl who did closer to 30 miles!  At least one survivor made it past the 20 mile mark.  What an incredibly strong woman she is.

This year I Relayed for my Dad, My Sister, and the young man who grew up across the street from my parents who lost his life to melanoma one year ago.  Andrew Pinkham was much too young and full of promise to have been lost so soon. 

After hearing stories of love and loss during Relay for Life I can only say - tell your family and friends how much you Love them every chance you get.  Should anything ever happen they will know.  And live each day like you are dying - and do all of those things on your bucket list.  Go crazy - shave your head even. :0)

I would also like to Thank each and every one of my teammates.  Your strength and power inspire me.  Special Thank You to my co-captains Mary Ann Tasker-Thompson and Cheryl Palm.  You ladies ROCK!

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