Our scheduled Relay for Life event on May ninth, was pretty much a non event. Mother Nature struck and struck hard. To call it a wash out is not completely accurate. There was much more to it than that.
On the afternoon of the eighth my son and I went to my dad’s and borrowed a few tables and chairs, loading them all into the back of our pick up truck. We then went back to the house and proceeded to load up everything else that I would need the next morning. I then tried to work on the few things that I had not managed to complete up to this point.
I was up early that morning. I’m accustomed to rising at 4am so the 6am wake up was not difficult. After putting the dog out into our fenced and shaded front yard I continued to work on Relay related things when my son came into my make shift office. He asked me were we not supposed to do something that morning- reminding me that he had to work. Giving up on finishing at home I loaded what I was working on, grabbed my coffee and keys and we hit the road for the track. We were early but that was good. Driving over to the spot that was designated as mine we unloaded the tables and tent. James wanted to stay and help set up the tent but when I told him that someone would come along and help me he left to go to work. Someone did help me a little while later and I begin to set things up to a point the way I wanted them.
During the day I alternated between working on my things and helping others. All the while I watched the weather and watched the stakes holding my tent in place. The wind as it usually does was tugging at the tents and doing its best to tear down what we were putting up. Clouds chased each other across the sky at times dropping a drizzling rain down. Nothing that warned us of what was to come.
By early afternoon the tents were up and the real work of getting ready was in full swing. My niece came up to help me and stay at my site while I attended the Survivor Dinner. We had already had one shower come through wetting things down a bit but warnings were coming to us about major rains in the area. The clouds in the distance now looked a lot more ominous.
While I was at the dinner enjoying a delicious meal and fun entertainment I heard the rain begin. It was falling so hard you could hear it inside the building over all the noise inside. I leaned back in my chair and looking through the doorway and the glass walls to the foyer I could see the wall of rain falling outside. I knew that wasn’t good. Still I stayed in my place wondering about my niece and how she was handling everything over on the field. I found out when my sister-in-law called her mother who was sitting in front of me and relayed the message that I needed to go and check my tent as my niece thought it was broken.
Grabbing my things I left quickly. Thankful that the rain for the most part had stopped for the moment I crossed the parking area and walked onto the field. From halfway out I could tell, my tent was without a doubt broken. When I arrived at my spot the damage was clear. The wind had caught the tent and since the stakes held, the canopy twisted around and broke all four support poles. Two came complete apart and the other two were held together by shreds of metal. I was glad that I had thought to put most of the things I had brought back into the plastic boxes before I went to the dinner. My decorations were soaked through, some papers and the signs made were a soggy pulp but the main items were okay. I called my son who was home from work to come help try and figure out what we could do. My brother offered to lend me his tent even though I managed to break it last year (thank you other brother for being able to repair it). As I was in the middle of salvage operations members of our Relay committee came around and told us to pack up as they were cancelling the event due to more storms coming.
My tent and many others were either damaged or destroyed due to the winds. The canopy over the sound stage was destroyed. That thing was guaranteed in winds up to fifty miles per hour and the grommets were ripped right out of the tarp. A lot of the merchandise that had been brought was ruined by the rain. A great deal of money had gone into preparing for this event. Now….we were not only soaked by the rain, we were soaked in disappointment. The good thing that was acknowledged, was that no one was injured. Things can be replaced.
Word now is that a mini-event is scheduled. On May 31st we will have an event that will run from 6pm to 10pm. We will have our fundraising, we will have our food, our music, our games. We will have our moments of laughter with friends, remembering those we loved and lost with shared tears. We will walk the track at Common Grounds of Stanley, NC and be thankful for all we have in the way of health, hope, courage and determination. We will continue to work to finish this fight because we are tired of losing the people we love. We are tired of watching the fear and confusion of those diagnosed and the families and friends who love them.
The storms put a damper on that day. We will work to do everything we can to accomplish as much as we can on the upcoming event day. We (I) do hope to see as many people there as possible. fill the field and show cancer we’ve had enough and we aren’t going to take it any more.