Monday, May 18, 2015

Relay for Life 2015

Friday night was our area’s 2015 Relay for Life. A few changes were made this year that I think were for the better – one of those changes being the time range of the event. Instead of relaying until 6 a.m., we stopped at midnight and held our closing ceremonies. This was my first time to ever stay all the way until the end (because Saturday morning’s are long run days) and I loved it – the teams seemed to love it, too!

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Our event was mentioned on the news all throughout the day on  Thursday and Friday. As we were setting up for the event, I was asked to be on the live at 5 broadcast.  If you read Friday’s post, then you know that “live” things freak me out. Well, I did it and all was fine and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be! Baby steps…I’m getting there!

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we have a fantastic committee! Their hard work and dedication to the fight is incredible.

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At opening ceremonies, this sweet little survivor shared her leukemia story and sang a song that she wrote while undergoing chemotherapy. There wasn’t a dry eye around, it was incredibly touching. They shouldn’t have to make survivor shirts in kid sizes…that just breaks my heart.

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Survivor lap!

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My hospital team joined in for the caregiver lap. This portion is one of my favorite parts of Relay – seeing all of the survivors on the track, knowing that our work is making a difference!

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Another favorite part of relay is the food. In SWLA, we have GOOD relay food! This isn’t your average ballpark nachos – no, it’s pulled pork nachos…what?! We also had fajitas, fried pickles, crawfish etouffee, burgers, pulled pork wraps with slaw, funnel cakes, a multitude of sweets, the list goes on and on! You definitely don’t leave our relay hungry!

My other favorite part of Relay is the luminiaria ceremony. OK OK I’ll admit, I just love it ALL!!

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Our committee had a vision of “Hope” spelled out somewhere on our grounds. As an “ah-ha” moment, our logistics chair came up with this idea literally the night before. Isn’t it amazing?! You could see it all the way at the road!

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During the luminaria ceremony, bags and torches are lit in memory of those who lost their battle and in honor of those who are continuing the fight. All of the generators and lights are turned off and you can literally hear a pin drop. It’s such a touching time to remember and reflect.

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My grandfather passed away from lung cancer in 2000 and that’s part of the reason I went into oncology nursing. I also make a luminaria bag for him every year. He loved flowers and used to always give a handful of sweet peas to me every time I went to visit, hence the field of sweet peas on this year’s bag! :)

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Before I knew it, midnight rolled around and it was time for closing ceremonies! I love this picture – our MC’s took selfies at opening and closing!

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Walking the final lap of the night.

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Melissa so graciously agreed to spend part of her birthday weekend with us by keeping track of our accounting for the night! I appreciate her so much!

I made it home and in bed around 2 a.m. , woke up at 7 a.m. for a run with Heather, then went back to bed and woke up at 2 p.m. Y’all, I was TIRED…but it was worth every step!!

Does your area have a Relay for Life? If so, have you ever attended/been a part?

18 comments:

  1. I admit I was getting emotional just reading this post. My Grandmother also passed away from Lung Cancer. Those luminaries that spelled out HOPE was an excellent idea. Ya'll did such a fantastic job!

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    1. Thank you so much. Your kind words mean a lot to me!! So sorry about your grandmother.

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  2. I love the mission of the relay for life! I've never physically participated, but I always give money towards friends' teams.

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    1. That's awesome, Stacie! Thanks for that!! :)

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  3. Wow, what an incredible experience! So glad that you were able to stay til the end with the changes that they made this year.

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    1. Thanks so much...I agree, it was nice being able to stay until the end! :)

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  4. Yes our area has a relay for life event actually there are two events close by. I attended one two years ago when my grandpa was fighting a aggressive form of leukemia. He passed away a few months after the event and I couldn't bring myself to go to the one last year. But do plan to attend this fall.

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    1. I completely understand, Shelley! ((hugs))

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  5. What an awesome event! I totally agree about the kids. We went to an event a couple of weeks ago for Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital & one of the patients talked & said that the Lake was her favorite hospital. That just hurt my heart that a kid has a favorite hospital.

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    1. That's really sad, I agree...kids shouldn't have a "favorite hospital". I want to visit a Relay in BR or NOLA...hope to do that next year some time! :)

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  6. Your involvement and support with Relay for Life is inspiring. I recently moved, but my previous area has an event. The luminaria ceremony is so moving. I walk for 2 of my grandparents who also passed from lung cancer.

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    1. So sorry about your grandparents, Kim! Great to hear you are involved with Relay...love love love the luminaria ceremony! It's so moving!!

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  7. This is such a great event Karen and I am so impressed by your work and dedication every year. The luminaries bag to honor your grandfather is beautiful. You inspire so many people to be better with your commitment to helping others.

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    1. Thanks so much, Pam! I appreciate your kind words! :)

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  8. I went one year in HS with my family and we walked with my mom. It was held at the state park where they end the gulf coast half in mandeville :)

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  9. I'm so glad that the event went well! I always did relay for life when I was in college and loved it.

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    1. Thanks so much! We have a local college Relay here and I enjoy attending their events!

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