Several months ago I was asked by two friends to participate in two different American Cancer Society Relays for Life (this week I was asked to participate in another) plus to send a picture of my self to my cousin Karen Ellington to display at the Hilmar Relay for life. (Sorry Karen I messed up on the picture).
Yesterday was the first one that was asked to participate in. It was held at Union Middle School. As we gathered for the opening ceremonies. I notice a luminary with a familiar name of Martha Hall. I knew she was going through chemo. I looked a little to my right and there was Martha. She spotted me and I went over to her and we visited a little bit. They start the relay by inviting all cancer survives to walk a lap the track, then they ask the caregivers to walk a lap. As I was walking the survivor lap I saw a good friend from work Shaun Kershman. I had forgotten that he lives in the area.
One of the other things that happens during the walk is the luminary lap. One of the ways to support the walk is to purchase a luminary in someones honor. They use white bags with sand to weight them down. Everyone gathers and quietly walks around the track and as they walk someone drops in large glow sticks that light the luminary. I joined the end of the group and looked at the luminary. It is quite sobering to see all the people that have been touched by cancer.
I'm not sure what I was expecting the cancer walk to be like but it was a wonderful experience. I so appreciate the honor to go and witness and participate in it. There is sadness at the loss. Joy at survival and even bonding and friendship made. I met several people who knew my doctors and was able to discuss our experiences with cancer. It had a very festive feel also. I would invite any of you who would like to experience some of this that I have shared with you to go to Leland High School next weekend. It starts at 10:00 am Saturday and goes to 10:00 am Sunday. There will also be booths that will sell food and other things if you would like. I am looking forward to next weekend. Come join us.