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