Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Year, An Honor and a Privilege

I have officially reached one year.  The magical one year mark since I completed my chemotherapy.  One year ago today, I was sitting in that big, pink recliner for the last time.  Mugging it up for my daughter's camera.

I expected to look forward to this date.  Honestly, it almost slipped by unnoticed.  I realized it only because I  have been asked to serve as the Honorary Survivor Chair to the East Penn Relay for Life. 

The Relay for Life position is an honor and I feel incredibly privileged to be asked to represent the survivors at this year's event.  

While I have known people who participated in relays, I have to admit that this is the first time I will actually be involved in a relay myself.  I will be learning as I go, but I will do my best to keep up and be where I need to be and not make a fool out of myself or the wonderful person who recommended me.

If you are not familiar with these events, Relay for Life describes themselves in this way (from http://relay.acsevents.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Relay_learn):
At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!
Relay For Life teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, park, or fairground. Events are up to 24 hours long, and because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times.
The first event I attended was last evening.  It was a Survivor Soup Dinner.  I had no idea what to expect, but I had a blast.  While learning about the plans the organization was making for various fundraisers, the great work already taking place to raise money and all the planning for the big event in May was wonderful, the focus of the evening was on the survivors.  

I was one of a number of survivors who were honored during this dinner as we each rose and shared our stories.  Listening to the journey each of these wonderful souls has traveled was nothing short of inspiring.  Some journeys have been longer, some are closer to the beginning of the trip, but we all share a common bond- that big "C" word- Cancer.  

The other overwhelming feeling I had sharing dinner with my new journey mates was Hope.  I know this sounds like a cliche, but it was very much present in that room last night.  There was no 'woe is me' 'I have/had cancer'.  It was much more a feeling of 'This is what happened and I overcame it'

We are strong and nothing is going to keep us down!  

There was also a strong feeling of community around those who need uplifting.  This is a tough community to be a part of, prayers are needed for those who are struggling or have reached the end of their journey as well as those who are left behind.  It is always hardest on the loved ones- they need it most.  The group is right there for them as well.

It was an inspirational evening.  I am grateful to have been part of it.  Thank you to Michele for including me.  

After I got home, I was inspired to do a little art project on the theme.  I had a Munny doll to decorate, so I thought I would do a Relay for Life theme.  The front is the national theme, the back is the one I found on the East Penn page.  She is all decked out in her chemo cap to represent anyone who is or has been going through chemo (crocheted, of course LOL).

I am no artist, but I thought it was kinda cute, so I would share.  
If you would like more information about the Relay for Life, check out my page, the details of our event are available from the page.