Relay For Life 2009

Last year Tiffany, Susan and I walked on a team in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. How things have changed in our lives since then. This year Tiffany and I decided to start a team in Susan's memory.
The Relay is an amazing event. Thousands of people walking in shifts for twenty-four straight hours raising funds for the American Cancer Society. I feel honored that I was able to participate in such an extraordinary event.

Tiffany, Jordan, and I arrived at the field, with Dillon in tow, right around seven Saturday morning... We left around ten-thirty this morning. Talk about a long day. It was hot. Probably high nineties. But it was also fun, rewarding, and emotional.
There were a few times when I could barely hold myself together because it made my loss seem more real. Sometimes it doesn't seem like Susan is really gone, but seeing the luminary bags that we decorated for her really drove it home.
There were bands playing all day, a bagpipe player during the Luminaria ceremony, and a DJ that played music until the wee hours of the morning. He made it really tough to get some sleep... We had a tent at our campsite and I was able to lay down for almost two hours, but sleep was next to impossible because all I could hear was boom, boom, boom, boom the entire time. Thankfully this didn't affect Mr. Dillon's ability to sleep. He slept all night long and was so excited to be on a "camp out."

My favorite part of the day was the Luminaria ceremony. It is amazing. People buy bags and then decorate them to remember those who have lost their fight with cancer, celebrate those who have won their battles and to honor those who are in the midst of cancer now. It is so emotional walking around the track and seeing all these lights shining. I think that I cried almost the entire way around the track.

Dillon had a blast - he thought we were at a parade. He got to ride around the track in a wagon that was built like a boat. There was a "kid zone" with bounce houses and fun things for him to do. And there were all kinds of yummy snacks for him - like frozen bananas and snow cones.
I am blessed beyond measure for all my friends and family and their friends and family who came out and walked on our team. And a special shout-out of thanks to Tori and Tricia who took one of the hottest shifts of the day - two to four in the afternoon and then came back to walk from two to four in the morning! You both are awesome!

And I know that I already said that I was honored to participate, but it really is special knowing that I was part of a larger picture... one that helped raise over $230,000 towards finding a way to stop this horrible disease, cancer. I really do pray that one day when someone has to hear the words, "You have cancer" it will be no big deal, because it will be no more terrible than hearing "you've got an ear infection" or "you have strep throat." And that is why I relay - to help make a difference.

Dillon in the "boat":

Derek's friend Tim in the "boat" (he felt bad for the guy pulling him so he donated $10 instead of the $3 that they were charging):

Jason's sister, brother and mom:

many of our team members:

the two to four crew:

the Luminaria ceremony:

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