Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Relay for Life

Every year, local chapters of the American Cancer Society host Relay for Life all around the country. For more information, click on the links. But in short, Relay for Life is a night-long event that raises funds for the American Cancer Society. It goes all night to symbolize the cancer patient's fight--from the darkness of diagnosis, the seemingly never-ending fatigue and sickness, and then with dawn comes the new hope that there is an end in sight. It's a very powerful thing, especially with the presence of so many cancer survivors, caregivers, and friends and families remembering those who have lost their battle.
All the funds raised go toward the many services provided by the American Cancer Society. They provide information to cancer patients and their families, rides to and from treatment, support groups, wigs and other services for image recovery, grants for canceer research, and much more.

The American Cancer Society and Relay for Life are two things that you hear about, but you never really realize what and why until you witness the cancer fight firsthand. I have seen way too many people fight, and lose that fight, to not be a part of Relay for Life.

The night begins with the Survivors Lap, where every survivor in attendance says his/her name, what cancer they are fighting, and how long they've been winning their battle, from days to decades. We had five survivors on our team, and all of our patients on the floor were given Survivor t-shirts and encouraged to walk the Survivor lap at the same time. 

Here are just a few of our 20 team members. We were the Alegent Health Chemosabes, and we raised nearly $5,000 to help fight cancer.

The Hope Ceremony is an hour-long portion of the night in which we celebrate those who are currently fighting their battle against cancer and remember those who have lost their battle. The luminarias (right) line the track, and they are placed there in memory of and in honor of those diagnosed with cancer. This is the most somber and most powerful part of the night. During this hour of walking laps, everyone was silent in rememberance and bagpipes played 'Amazing Grace'. 

What a powerful 12 hours.

Thank you to all those who contributed to my team,
and to those who are doing your part in the fight against cancer.

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