A few weekends ago I participated in my fifth relay for life. To begin with I need to say thank you to many of you readers who have supported me in nthis wonderful cause over the years
It was as always a very emotional walk.
It is not quite the same now that it has been changed from 12 noon to 12 midnight however I understand that it is done to draw more people to the walk.
In past years the walk started at 8pm and ended at 8am the next morning. Walking at night as my daughter so eloquently explained; symbolized walking into the night, , into the dark, into the unknown. It meant being incredibly tired and not knowing if you were able to continue the walk until the end when suddenly, you were to be encouraged by the break of day, sunlight, a literal brand new day. The sun would come out, you would get to go home tired and successful and bouyed by the fact you had made it through to the other side.
The Relay started this year as it did every other year. At the start they always have the “Survivors” Walk and every year there are more and more people who I know who are now walking who were not there last year but have obviously beat cancer or are living with cancer since this same time last year.
This year is especially meaningful as three people who I am very close to are part of the survivors walk and in fact they are carrying the survivors banner.
The families and friends of the survivors all look at each other, and their eyes well up because they know what it is taking for these people to be walking in the survivors walk. There is also this unspoken understanding between the friends and family as they too have been on a journey.
At 10pm once it gets dark the entire “piste” (track) is lined on both sides with candles with the name of those who have passed away to cancer. But also in honour of those people who are living with cancer. All the candles are lit and you see literally thousands of the. There is always a beautiful band. This year someone sings Amazing Grace while we observe a 2 minute silence and then other heart wrenching songs.
After the host names each of the people who have fallen to cancer, the rest of the night is dedicated to celebrating life as well as a cure…so then… the fiddles really start! A real party starts happening. This is after all a relay for LIFE not for death not for illness but for LIFE ! So it is a large celebration of our lives and those people who touched our lives. And this year our small community raised $ 100,000 !!!!