“I have cancer”. 3 words you never want to say to anyone or hear from a loved one. The first time I heard those words was in August 2002 and they came from my mom. She had just been diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. She was only 47. 7 months later I would hear those words again. This time from my dad. He had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. We had celebrated his 60th birthday the previous June. I was 23. My brother was 19.
The spring of 2003 while mom was recovering I was searching on the Canadian Cancer Society’s website looking for different fundraisers that I could participate in. I came across this fundraiser called Relay for Life. It sounded really neat. You got a team together and you all took turns walking for 12 hours overnight. Anyone who is a survivor or fighting their battle gets to take part in the survivor lap at the beginning of the night. I was soooo excited to take part and start recruiting for my team. Until I realized the event was happening June 13 – the night before my wedding. Soooooo as much as I wanted to participate I decided not to. But I would remember about this and participate the following year.
Fast forward to the spring of 2004. Our team of family and friends signs up for our first Relay. The night of the event we watch mom participate in the survivor lap (there may have been a few tears), and later that night we light luminaries in honour of dad who lost his battle in December 2003. Even with all the tears we had an amazing night. We had an amazing team of 10 and we stayed for the whole 12 hours. Some of us snoozed in the tent, some stayed awake the whole time, but someone was on that track the whole night.
Since that first Relay in 2004, someone from our team has participated every year – even if we just went out and walked a few laps. And when we stay the night we always take our memory banner with us. Anyone who donates to our team is able to add a name to our banner for us to walk in memory of.
This year we have put together a team once again. My kids will be walking with us. Mom will be participating in the survivor lap. And we will again remember dad. We’d love for you to join us and participate with our team. Or to make a donation to our team if you can’t join us. And as always when you make a donation, just let me know who you’d like us to add to our “in memory” banner. You can find more info about our team here.
This is who I relay for.