At some point during the night last night, someone made a donation to my Relay for Life fundraiser. Thank you, your compassion is showing, that you opened your heart and wallet to help. I wanted to share a bit more of my thoughts and what drives my heart to continue with Relay for Life, something I have been involved with for the last fifteen years. Yes, it took my diagnoses to finally get me involved in what I had been watching from a distance.
When I attended my very first Relay for Life event, it was an all night event. It was fun during the afternoon as people showed up and it was a party type atmosphere. There was music, food, raffles and things to purchase. All intended to raise money for the cause. Education, fighting, beating cancer. Attendees walked the track, making lap after lap around while visiting. As the evening waned and night deepened, some wandered away, some found groups to visit with, others still walked the track. Walking one at a time or with others. While I did visit, chat and enjoy the company of others, I spent most of the time walking alone. When it moved into the wee hours of the morning, when the music had been lowered or even quietened, I could hear the night birds calling. The air was cool to the skin and the dark seemed endless. I felt very alone, even in the crowd around me, but I was reminded that even in that battle, I was not alone. It..I.. would be fine.
At the meetings that were held during the time I was able to attend, I learned a great deal. All of the different ways the money raised was used. Research. Ride programs. Education. Making it possible for family to have somewhere to stay if the hospital/doctor visits were out of town. Providing supplies, food, drink for cancer warriors. So many ways to help.
It also became clear that cancer is an evil beast that does not care anything about its intended victim. It doesn’t care whether it attacked a person who lived a healthy lifestyle or one with risky activity. It doesn’t care if the person is well known or known only to friends and family. It doesn’t care how badly the victim may be loved or needed. It simply doesn’t care. It is an evil beast that needs to be fought and defeated.
During my personal battle I learned how to live healthier and avoid the things that made the possibility of its recurrence possible. I learned how to eat better, exercise, calm stressful moments. All I learned though, doesn’t stop the hurt when others are lost. When the beast wins.
I mentioned yesterday that I can’t be as involved as I have been in the past, but I am still here in some capacity. I look at the list of those in our family alone who we lost and I grow angry. I miss my brother deeply. He was my go to for help, for fun, for information. He was the one who called me when he knew there was something I would love to photograph. He was the one who accused me of scaring the deer when I walked. I miss hearing “Hey Sis.” It hurts when I think of them, missing them deeply. Wishing they were still with us and promising them I will do what I am able to fight for them. To fight so that others won’t feel the pain of losing someone they love.