Getting Involved with Relay For Life

Until this year, I didn’t know much about Relay for Life, other than it was an annual event in our little town to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I’ve donated each year, but, being the hermit that I am (classic anti-social writer here), I’ve never attended an event. My youngest (who turns 16 today!) decided to change that, announcing he was going to start a team for this year’s relay. Cancer has become a prominent villain in our family, lung cancer taking the life of my hubby’s brother this past January, his uncle in August, and his father is currently fighting Leukemia and thyroid cancer. Two of my grandmothers also lost their battles with cancer.

Ethan and I attended his first relay captain’s meeting last month and I have to say I was shocked, impressed, and,ย  uhm, a tad overwhelmed by what a huge event this really is, and all that it offers a community. Figured I’d share some of my enlightenment for those who might also live in a writer-like-bat-cave like me.

I hadn’t realized the relay was an event for anyone other than those who’d signed up to beat-feet around a track for 24 hours–but it’s so much more. A kind of community fair to educate, commemorate and raise support for all those affected by cancer.ย  Aside from those walking, there’s food booths, music, raffles, and games for spectators. We also found out that each teams base camp isn’t just a place for team members to rest and crash throughout the day, but little info centers. Each team has a Fight Back Mission and they chooses a type of cancer, decorate their camp in those Cancer Awareness Colors (click here to see a list of color awareness colors), and create displays or activities to inform and educate visitors to their camp. For team members, every hour of walking also has a dress-up theme (Hawaiian Vacation, Mardi Gras, Crazy Hat, Patriotic, PJs) keeping team members on their toes.

Here’s a YouTube Video I thought gave a cool overview:

Relays are going on all over the States during the next couple months. Our relay isn’t until June, so my boys are still trying to raise donations for their team. Here’s a link to their’ team page–any donations are greatly appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚ If you don’t know about a Relay For Life in your area, Google Relay For Life and your town–it’s an amazing way to spend a day. Here in our neck of the woods, it’s not too late to join a team ๐Ÿ˜‰

For those who’ve attended past relays, have any experiences to share?

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7 thoughts on “Getting Involved with Relay For Life”

  1. Relay for Life is awesome, Stacey! I think you’ll really enjoy it and it’s amazing when they have the lap for cancer survivors and others cheer them on. I participated for years with my company’s team when I lived in Montana. One year the company purchased those HUGE foam cowboy hats in bright yellow (our business color) and rode stick horses for the team lap. Our theme was Ridin’ and Ropin’ for the Cure. Even hoofing it around the track at midnight holds its own rewards. Cancer has hit our family and in its own way this gave a sense of fighting back.

  2. I participated for the first time this year. (We had our event on April 29-30.) I was the old lady of the team, which was mostly made up of college girls, but I had fun anyway. The luminaries were a beautiful part of the night. The stadium lights were turned off and candles were lit in honor of friends and family members who had been lost to cancer. It was very touching. I’m glad I participated. Doesn’t hurt to burn a few extra calories, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. What a worthy cause, Stacey. I’ve heard of Relay for Life here in Salt Lake City, but I’ve never been involved. Growing up, we lived downwind of the 1950’s Nevada nuclear tests. There’s a lot of cancer in the town and in my family -I lost my mother to cancer a few years ago. Thanks to your blog I will pay more attention to this great event.

  4. This is a great event. The small communities in this area all have them. In the small town where I worked, it is a big deal. The streets are lined with purple bows for weeks ahead of time and they stay up afterwards. The school track is where some events are held. I know in years past they have had a stroller event and an overnight walk with the track lit by luminaries. As in most small communities, most people participate in some way. The school students are very involved which is great. The earlier kids learn to be involved, the better. I don’t think there is anyone whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer. It has struck down too many before they had a chance to live their lives.

    Best of luck to your son’s team.

  5. Stacey, my husband died of colon cancer so I know the devastation cancer can do to a family. I’ve never participated in the Relay For Life event though. Relays seem to be the thing. My granddaughter has cystic fibrosis and we’re having a walk here in Lubbock on May 21st. It’ll be the first time I’ve tried to walk. Hope I don’t poop out too quickly.

  6. Hi Stacey!

    I participated in one last year when I was doing a booktour here locally. I gave away many, many books and met alot of people and it was a great experience.

    I only have one problem with it and that is that this particular society seems to be looking for cures that only Big Pharma can market. It doesn’t include homeopathy or natural ways to beat cancer — i.e. Bruzenski’s clinic there in Texas or the book, “WE WANT TO LIVE” or the works (books) of G. Edward Griffin on vitamin B 17. I just wish they’d give equal opportunity to the more natural approach and let people decide for themselves which “therapy” they think is best — always think for yourself is my motto. What do you think? ๐Ÿ™‚

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