Why I Relay: To celebrate survival of family, friends
BY MARIE STRAND
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s biggest fundraiser. Everyone relays for different reasons.
For the fifth year, I and my teammates, the Crosslake Curettes, will celebrate survival of family members and friends, remember loved ones lost and fight back beside others who have been touched by cancer.
We have much to celebrate this year! That’s what we all will be doing along with the survivors.
Dad has survived 12 years with prostate cancer and my niece is celebrating 23 years since her first diagnosis of leukemia right before her 6th birthday, then her second, 15 years later. She is a two-time survivor!
Also, her brother survived melanoma.
It’s also the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society, the 10th consecutive year for the Pine River-Backus Relay, and that day, June 21, just happens to be my 27th wedding anniversary with my husband, Ted!
April 29 marked five years since I lost my mom to kidney cancer.
My teammate, Julie, will light a memorial candle and walk in memory of an uncle who passed away this last year. Memorial candles are placed on a special table and we light one for each person lost within the last year, whether it was from cancer or if they had it in their lifetime.
We do this during the Lighting Ceremony at dusk. We then light the luminaries all around the track.
We walk to fight back with those in their battle right now. The relay is an overnight event because cancer never sleeps. Once you hear the words, “You have cancer,” you become a survivor and start fighting. I stay all night in remembrance of Mom’s fight and the precious time spent with her in her last days.
Relay For Life has free admission and is open to the public. There’s a variety of silent auction items and great food for sale, so come hungry.
The money we raise goes to the American Cancer Society.
Come see what it is all about. You don’t need to be a cancer survivor, a team member or stay all night. Just walk and enjoy the food, silent auction, ceremonies and luminaries (especially after they’re lit).
It is an awesome, moving experience for the whole family.