I drive my friends..my family..and complete strangers crazy......
Here it is the last part of 2013, fast closing in on 2014. In February I will celebrate 6 years of being a survivor. Six years can be considered a long time, but not so long that I have forgotten. All of the fears and uncertainty, waiting to hear the diagnoses. A part of me knowing, a part of me denying the truth. I will always remember the journey from diagnoses to that final radiation treatment. I will remember the people I met along the way. I will hold dear the people who cared, sending me words of encouragement through cards, letters and emails. Those days during radiation treatments when I reached a point where it took sheer determination to put one foot in front of the other. I managed to work nearly every day from diagnoses to cure.
I see, hear and know people who have participated in Relay for Life for years- some being participants long before I joined the battle. I see them grow weary, claiming burnout. I know weary. I don't ever want to go back to that.
Who do I walk for? Why do I do what I do as a Relay participant? I do it for myself. I want to make sure there is a cure. I want to see more education available as to how to take care of oneself and prevent cancer when ever possible. I want to see my friends all live long and healthy lives cancer free. I can't afford to quit. Not as long as cancer exists.
I go to every meeting that I possibly can. I drive other Relay members crazy..I try to do, want to do more. I want to accomplish more, know more, do more. I may not know all the right steps to follow. I may not know all the words to say that will convey the message I want to share. But I try. I may go home frustrated because I felt as if I fell short again, but I'll regroup and keep going. I can't afford not to. Cancer is still out there.
It attacks our children. It attacks our family, parents, relatives, friends. People who are there working beside us one day and then gone. Family members who fight the good fight only to leave us much too soon. Cancer is a nondiscriminatory enemy. It doesn't care.
I can't afford to quit. I know that those who we have lost left behind people who miss them. I've lost friends and family...I miss them. I wish they were here. They fought and fought hard. Relay for Life is the least I can do in their honor and memory.
I create, paint, glue and decorate what ever I can to sell in hopes of raising money. I take every flier telling of restaurants and businesses holding events where they will donate a portion of the proceeds to Relay. I go, I work, I buy, I sell and I share. Where I've been, how far I've come and how I never-ever-ever want to go back. I want to do all that I can to help others in what ever place they find themselves on the journey.
I send out hundreds of emails during the Relay season. I make multiple status posts and blog posts. I take photos at meetings and other events and share them. I invite any and everyone to meetings and seek corporate sponsors.
Times are hard and getting harder. It is more difficult for people to take care of themselves as they should. Some have no clue as to what they can do to make themselves healthier. Some who find themselves in the midst of the battle have no idea where to go to educate themselves for the fight. where they can get assistance.
I drive my friends crazy because I know the money raised goes to help in research. I know that it goes to the HOPE house where families are housed if they must go out of town for treatments. I know of the Look good feel good programs. The rider programs. I know, so I continue. I have bank cups sitting everywhere. I can get more or stick labels on drink bottles and ask for them to be filled with change. I don't mind wrapping change- it adds up. I don't mind offering challenges and participating in challenges. I don't mind meetings, events or anything else that may take some of my time from the usual home stuff out into the world trying to fight, trying to educate, trying to win this one- for all of those who fight. To prevent others from having to fight.
I drive my family, my friends--and strangers crazy---and I will continue as long as cancer exists. I can't afford not to.