Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One can not do it alone

Not too long ago I sent out a email explaining why I do what I do for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. Looking back on it now that some time and distance has taken place I may have come off differently than I intended. I was not meaning to sound bragging or boastful. I personally know people who do more and work harder for Relay for Life. I stand in awe of what they do and am honestly envious that I am unable to work side by side and hand in hand with them, every step of the way. Because truth is, one person can not do it. It is simply impossible.
 For those who have never been involved in Relay for Life here is a condensed breakdown of ours. We have a person who is our link with the American Cancer Society in Charlotte. We have a chair and co-chair, our committee members, team captains and team members. Many people who work to insure that our Relay for Life event moves from concept to reality.
 The chairs who work basically non-stop as they seek to imagine, to inspire, to encourage and to accomplish the goal of a successful Relay.
 The Committee chairs who work independently as well as together with members of the committees on their assigned tasks. Logistics, Fundraising, team retention, survivor dinners, bankers to name a few, all and more working diligently. As they work they may bring in others who are talented, who are good providers of needed items, or who knows someone who knows someone who can help in a need.
  Team Captains, those brave souls willing to take on the challenge of leading a group of assorted people toward a common goal. Who through various measures seek to gather together and through individual efforts and collective raise funds, raise awareness and raise participation in Relay.
 Team members, those folks who for reasons known or unknown work hard to bring about a successful event. Who band together, and as one seek to end this once and for all. To find a way to end cancer and all of the misery and heartache it causes.

  A Relay for Life event; a gathering of like-minded people seeking a common goal. An end to cancer. On a predetermined date, at a predetermined place those involved gather at a predetermined time. They have already been given assigned spots to set up their 'camp site' and it is there where their tents and tables go up. Decorations put in place, if merchandise is to be sold it is set out in the most pleasing manner that will draw attention and potential buyers. If it is food that is going to be sold for suggested donations then the preparations for that is made. Coolers set out, grills and burners, power generators put in place. At the end of the field a stage is built and the speakers set up. There will be music, dancing and full enjoyment. Along one side of the field and at various other spots porta johns will be placed. The track will be lined with Luminaria Bags, placed and waiting for the ceremony that will take place at a much later time.
  A couple of hours before the actual event begins the Survivor Dinner will take place. It is a time to celebrate those who have fought or may be fighting and who have won or are winning the battle.
 Last year we had our first 3K fun run, it went over well for the first year and talk is of it happening again this coming year. There was also a Ford test drive event which we are also hoping to repeat.
  At the appointed time the Honor Guard from a local high school took the field, behind them the survivors in attendance took our place on the track. The very first lap of the event is to acknowledge the survivors. The second lap is for the caregivers and then the field is open for all. From seven in the evening until seven in the morning we walk, we dance, we sing, we play and we seriously seek to gain a better understand and more awareness for more people about Relay for Life and its purpose.
  Through the night there will be various events going on. Each hour has a theme, whether its crazy hats or a pajama hour or bubbles or walk backwards. All meant to bring laughter and incite people to stay.
  There will be more that goes on, different things not yet fully thought out or even thought of.
 But no matter what goes on or for how long.. no matter who or how many people attend and stay.. the purpose and intent is always the same. To raise funds for the various projects, as in the Look Good Feel Better, the Hope House, the always manned web site and 1-800 number, the rider programs and the research to find an end, to finally end cancer and the loss and heartache that it brings. It hurts, it seriously hurts to hear that diagnoses whether it is for you or for someone that you love and care for.
 Lets end this- lets bring it about so that we can and will celebrate more birthdays. Join us-- support us--share us. Please consider a donation, be it of your time, your talent or yes, even your dollars. Be a part of the team that finally- puts and end to this fight. Finally ends it, so that I'll never have to send out an email such as this ever again..
 Thank you one and all for taking the time to read this, for being a part of this, for caring.
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thankful not just this time of year..

  The time of year has arrived that has many of us recalling the things that we are thankful for.  There are a lot of things on my list. The thing is, a lot of those things are possible and increased in value because of  one specific thing I am thankful for. Those who know me or have read my posts before can guess what that is I'm sure. (I'm not afraid to guess that every cancer survivor has a list somewhat like mine) 

 I am thankful that my cancer was caught early.

 Because. It was much easier to treat. I underwent the biopsy that confirmed that I had cancer. I had a lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments.  Put in a couple of sentences it is made to sound easy- it wasn't- but it was easier.

Because. I am still here. I am still able to spend time with my family. We have always been a close family, caring for each other, looking out for each other, always having each other's  back. Even though my cancer was in 2008 and I'm fine now- I will forever in my memory see the expression on my brother's face when he found out. It is not fun when you are having to realize and admit that we are not immortal or invincible. I'm thankful that I am still a target for family teasing and hugs. That I'm getting to see the next generation being born. I can still visit with family, talk with them over the phone, online or in person. Laughing, discussing, educating, continuing on with life...together.

Because. I am still here. I am getting to see what a fine young man my son has-and continues- to become. We get to laugh and joke and deal with the every day things. We get to explore the virtual worlds in video games and the real world and its happenings. I can still work on that process of growing old with my husband. Continue with all of those plans that we tend to make and that bucket list that is ever growing.

Because. I am still here. I can take those long walks in the woods, listening to the wildlife and birds around me. I can feel the leaves and grass underfoot. I can watch the ripples dance across the pond and see the trees dancing in the breeze as I watch clouds drift past, their reflections sailing across the surface of the pond. Hearing and seeing the fish as they break water jumping for a meal. Hear the deer blowing in the distance of running away if I get too close for comfort. Seeing the beauty of wildlife as they move about in the woods. This time of year I'm enjoying the variety of colors painting the landscape, should we get snow this year that blanket of white will change the scenery entirely as will spring and the new life that comes with it.

Because. I am still here. I can go places. I can visit the local ones, the parks, the museums, the stores. I can walk without worries, seeing and exploring. I can go alone, or with friends. I can when time and finances allow wander off a little farther. Enjoying the differences, sights, sounds and feelings.

Because. I am still here. I can still enjoy the company of friends and the solitude of my walks. I can work. I can play. I can dream. I can attempt to do everything that I possibly can to help others find themselves in the same place. Survivor.

Because-- the list is longer. But I won't drag it out. I'm thankful for being a survivor. I'm thankful that I have people who support me in my Relay activities. I'm thankful that over the course of time more and more people are surviving cancer. We can do this.... we can work together to change the statistics. We can win -- finish the fight. We can beat cancer ....together. And knowing that, makes me thankful.

Join me? Join my team or create your own. Participate, donate, help those who are fighting win, help those who have won..help others. So they can say the things that they are thankful for and one of those be they are a survivor.