Monday, April 28, 2008

Relaying the Relay

Sometimes insomnia pays off!

Relay For Life started on Friday at 7pm with a little chaos for us late registrants, but by the time the opening ceremony got started it was a lot of fun. I heard my name read aloud during the survivor roll call, and was directed through an arch of screaming cheerleaders who presented me with a medallion, and then it was time to line up for the Survivor Lap around the track. My husband and kids joined me for that lap (I was toward the end of the line, where the Caregiver line started for their lap, so we kinda did both). People cheered us on the sidelines, and it almost made all this cancer stuff worth it. :)

By about 8:30 everyone was walking around the track. Relay starts at dusk, representing the time of cancer diagnosis, when things start to get dark and you think your life is ending.

As the night gets colder and darker, it represents the beginning of cancer treatment, when things seem overwhelming and exhausting. As tired and sick as you feel, you mustn't give up. You could still see people taking turns going around the track, and even in the wee hours of the morning people were having dance parties and soccer games to stay awake.

A couple of hours before dawn you're still really tired, but you know you can make it. Dawn represents the end of treatment, when there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a new day full of possibilities (at least after a good nap).

The description in this analogy seemed more dour than my experience. I've been blessed -- my cancer treatments were a breeze compared to the all-night trek! Of course, I'm memory impaired, so that might be why I think that.
We actually cried uncle and headed home around 5 am, when footballs and soccer balls kept flying into our campsite, followed by teenagers who almost trampled our kids who had finally fallen asleep.

Until then, though, it was a lot of fun. This was my dad's first Relay as a fellow survivor (here we are sporting our purple survivor shirts), and this was the third Relay that my son and I participated in together. I ran into a friend who is a long-term cancer survivor, and we did a lap together. At about 2 a.m. my husband and daughter went close to the stage for the dance party, and before long my daughter was pulled onstage and proclaimed the "cutest dancer". Before I could get close enough with my camera she was back down in the audience again, but I got some great footage:

I finally went to sleep at home around 7:30 am and slept for a whole four hours. We spent Saturday afternoon doing some gardening in the backyard, my husband and I spent some time at the temple Saturday evening, and we all had a great night's sleep Saturday night.

All in all, it was a worthwhile experience. Certainly another life-affirming one. I appreciate those who supported Relay For Life and helped me raise money for the American Cancer Society. Much thanks to the Cooper Aerobics Center and our Cooper Cares team! And here's looking forward to Relay #4 next year!


Linda said...

Congratulations, truly are a survivor!! God Bless!

Krista said...

I loved reading and seeing the video! I really was catching the spirit of it. And great that your father can be a celebrator too! I am glad you keep up this blog! Cancer touches us all in one way or another.