This past weekend, I took part in Relay for Life with some people from my office. RFL is a fundraising event where teams walk throughout the night from 7PM to 7AM with all the money going to the Canadian Cancer Society, and it is a national event with relays happening throughout Canada.
I’ve always wanted to do something to support cancer research and those affected by it, so I jumped at the chance when this opportunity came up. When I was 5 years old, I lost my dad to cancer. From diagnosis to his passing, he survived around 2 weeks. Since I was the only one of my friends who had lost a parent, I didn’t realize the effect that cancer had. As I grew older, it became more evident that almost everyone has a story of how cancer changed their life and this wasn’t something that just affected me.
The walk was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s clear I’m not the spring chick I used to be, but I’m glad I did it. With each step and each donation, I really felt like I was making a difference. The most memorable moments were the Survivors Lap and the luminaries that lined the track. Before everyone started on their walk, cancer survivors and their families walked around the track with everyone cheering for them. I can’t imagine going through what they went through, and as a group, they looked strong and determined. Everyone also had the opportunity to purchase a memorial luminary for loved ones that have passed or are fighting the disease. These luminaries lined the track and were lit when the sun went down. Seeing all those lights was extremely powerful as each one represented a person affected my cancer.
At the end of it all, I was cold, tired and sore, but I felt proud, accomplished and fortunate. I definitely gained strength and determination from the other walkers at the event, and you could see that when people get together with a common goal, you can make a difference. Cheesy? Yes. True? Definitely.