Each year relay is a little bit different. This year the energy is a little zippier. A little zingier. Maybe it’s because this is our third year offering lap bead necklaces, and people know us more, and we know more of them. Maybe it’s because some new committee members did an awesome job. Maybe we are finding our groove.
Whatever it is, I am glad I am here. 10 pm and we have the Luminaria ceremony. They run a slide show of those touched by cancer, and I silently think about why I am really here. My family members and friends touched by or lost to cancer.
Both grandfathers – what I learned from them is you fight the good fight and you persevere, no matter what the doctor tells you.
My grandmother – from whom I learned that we really are the ones in charge of our own bodies. I think she may have taught a few medical professionals that too!
My husband – who lost his mother and best friend to cancer, and watched his sister battle – and beat it! – not once, but twice.
Countless other friends and acquaintances.
And myself. I rarely talk about this, and so few people even know. I am one of the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ones whose doctor saw it coming and took preventative measures, only to tell me, over the phone, as I am driving into the grocery store parking lot two weeks later that it was more advanced than they thought, so they weren’t as careful as they should have been, so guess what, “you are on the two year watch list”. That moment is etched in my mind, and I am so grateful every day that those two years were over six years ago, and I am 8 years cancer free. I am grateful every day that I am healthy, and I want to honor those who have had to battle so much more. And those who have taught me so much.
Our team is Wally’s Jolly Walkers. We came up with the name because we are Wally & Son Automotive, so it was a nice way to tie it together. But I started because I never got to meet my mother in law - Wally's wife and Keith's mom - and that was the only reason I needed.
There are too many cancers, and so many wonderful fundraising walks. I am glad to be a part of this community, part of this team, and part of this cause. Together I think we can make magic happen.