The 2009 American Cancer Society Relay for Life
On March 7th , 2009, Nick was invited to speak at the Relay for Life kick-off event for North Davis County . He shared his story as a cancer survivor with some of last years participant. His story was so well received he was asked to represent our community as a co-“poster” child, so to speak, in marketing materials to promote this event.
We arrived at the Syracuse High School track at about 5:00 p.m. Friday afternoon. We unloaded coolers, snacks, posters, books, pins, etc. and set up our canopies (we had reserved two sites for a combined 30 team members). I was worried we would be left short of team members but it turned out we had about 40, with the majority staying the entire 15 hours.
Nick made it, although he was feeling poorly. Thankfully, his dad brought the motor home and he was able to take breaks when he was tired.
By 6:00 p.m. each survivor announced their names and how long they have been a survivor (Nick was resting in motor home so we missed him announcing his name). He made it in time when the survivors took their victory lap in one direction, while the caregivers walked in the opposite direction, meeting halfway. Then we all walked together symbolizing our journey together to complete the lap.
Following, was the introduction of each team; our two teams proudly held up a poster with Nick’s logo. The main attraction was Fairy Godmother, Jennie, with her hospital gown revealing what honestly looks like her own bum peeking out. Carly donned the other hospital gown and joined Jennie in the team lap. That was enough for Carly, but Jennie wore the gown well into the wee hours of the morning, with cameras snapping periodically throughout the night, accompanied by finger pointing, gasps then peals of laughter.
Olive Garden provided dinner and the walking was official. The evening took on a tender, emotional moment at 10:00 when the lights were turned off and the candles in each luminary bag glowed. There were hundreds of bags lit and placed around the entire track, representing those that have fought or are still fighting cancer. We were asked to stand next to our personalized bag, and if we didn’t have one, to stand next to a bag on the track so that no one was left alone. Our teams had 36 bags, lovingly decorated by three young women from our church. There was a moment of silence followed by a sweet song as we remembered our loved ones. It was a beautiful scene: the lights glowing in a collective circle, surrounded by love, support and faith.
Nick had many of his friends come, as well as Carly and her entourage. They were pure delight to watch – playing soccer, football and an impromptu dance off with Carly and Kyler . I think it was a draw. This was Nick & Lee’s favorite part of the night. Mine was watching Carly and her friends sing karaoke at 3:00 a.m. We howled with laughter as those kids brought down the house. Well, at least the 30 or so people that stopped to watch, dance and sing along. Carly is definitely in her element with a microphone in her hand, her buds beside her and an audience.
Although we had sleeping bags, air mattresses and pillows, most of us didn’t sleep a wink and walked and walked and walked. Fairy Godmother, Denise, made a killing in selling her “key-purse” accessories. I sold a whopping 2.
What is Relay For Life?
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity. It offers everyone in a community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length. Teams of people from all walks of life have fun while raising much-needed funds to fight
Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people to:
- Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.
- Remember loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.
- Fight Back. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.