Coming up on June 13th, I will be participating for the 8th consecutive year in the Relay for Life fundraising activity for cancer research. I know there are many good causes out there and we are all constantly being solicited for one charity or another. Every day there seems to be another tragedy, illness, or disease which has a need for funding. I get it. This isn’t another means of sollicitation. (Although, if you feel like it, here’s the link ) Really though, I just want to share a couple of things.
First of all, for any of you who have read my previous posts, there was one I wrote about sisterhood and how it could be found in many forms. One of the groups of ‘sisters’ I have a connection to is our team for the Relay for Life in Québec City, The Valcartier Roadrunners. What a great gang of women! Most of us have been together for the full eight years. There have been a couple who have left and a few others have joined in, but, all in all, we are pretty stable as a team. We are a group of ten who join in the activity to walk from seven o’clock in the evening until seven o’clock in the morning. We are supposed to have at least one team member on the track at all times. Surprisingly, the time passes relatively quickly. We often walk in pairs or groups, so we spend a lot of time chatting and catching up on our busy lives. We are often joined by our families for the first part of the event. There are a couple of ceremonies throughout the evening and they are very touching and emotional. It’s difficult to watch the cancer survivors make the first tour of the track and to watch people of all ages wearing their distinctive yellow t-shirts, especially when they are very young children.
It isn’t meant to be only a night of sadness. Apart from commemorating those who have passed, we need to celebrate life and the people who have fought and survived the disease. Research has accomplished so much and it will only continue to do so.
I’m proud to say that, each year, our team has distinguished itself among the 150 or so other teams in our relay. We often have people stopping to take photos of us and our mascot. We also have been consistantly in the top ten teams in terms of amount of money raised for that particular event in our city. As a matter of fact, over the past seven years our group alone has raised over $65,000! We have a great team and a great captain (who happens to be my sister-in-law, Carolyn).
The second reason I wanted to talk about this cause is that, again this year, it has hit close. Every year, there is usually a friend, a relative of one of the team members, or someone in the community who was diagnosed with or lost because of the disease. This year is no different and maybe a little worse. One of our team members, a good friend of mine, has already lost her father to cancer. Her sister has been fighting it for five years, and now, recently, her mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s just not fair. No one should have to see their family go through that. At the same time, a woman I have worked with for many years has also been diagnosed with breast cancer and will soon be facing surgery. She has her own ordeal ahead of her. My heart goes out to these people.
That is why we walk, and it is people like them, so many people, who inspire us to walk and keep walking. And, like many causes, it’s a good one.