For the last eight years straight, I have participated in a Relay For Life event by the American Cancer Society. I started my journey fundraising for cancer after my mom was recovering from her last bout of breast cancer.
At the beginning, I dedicated my Relaying to my mom. She has always been an inspiration to me. Three bouts of cancer had nothing on her. As the years progressed, I Relayed for myself, then my sister and grandmother. Now, I dedicate Relay to our future generations. I really do not want to see my daughter struggling through a cancer diagnosis as a young adult.
Since I have been doing this for eight years, my drive has slowly started to falter. I have been a team captain from the start. I then took on a role on the leadership committee three years ago when I started my own breast cancer journey. I have continued with both roles, and just this year added on chaperoning my daughter’s team of elementary school students. All this is starting to wear on me. This last week in particular, I attended three Relay events and prepared for one of the events for two days. My energy level has quickly drained. However, this last Friday and Saturday I found what I needed to renew my drive that has fallen.
What happened to renew my spirit? Talking to and listening to other survivors and caregivers about their stories of survival. Their stories of compassion, of their strengths and weaknesses, of their journey will often put things back into perspective for me. Many times they’ll say something that resonates in my soul, often times putting me in tears.
I have been participating in Relay for so long that I needed this renewal. I needed something to tell me to keep going. To keep fundraising so those dollars raised could one day help find a cure. That one day our kids could go to the doctor’s office and be told, “There’s a shampoo to cure that.” (I actually heard that from another Relayer, loved it and needed to share it.) And that one day our future generations will never have to hear those three dreaded words.
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