Saturday, June 6, 2009

Relay for Life 2009

Last Saturday was the Relay for Life in our community. The K-Club had a team for the second year. Last year we raised less than a thousand dollars. I found out about the different contests on the day of Relay and I spent too much time, money & stress on those and lost focus on the whole experience... especially when it became obvious that the games were all just politics anyway with no "real" winners.

This year I went into Relay season with the attitude that our primary goal was to raise as much money as we could and not allow myself to get stressed about any of it. I did pretty good with that goal, for the most part- except for a couple of weak moments in the final hours. The team raised almost $3,000. We had the yard sale/ car wash plus did an in-school collection and the team members raised money on their own.

The theme of this year's Relay was "The USS Cure." We kept it simple using a tropical theme and I asked team members to bring any items they had to help decorate. NO one brought in ANYTHING. So, late Friday I gathered things from the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. However, once pulling out all the decorations from last year's homecoming that I saved plus having some stuff Julie added to the cause, the only thing I even opened up that we bought was a tablecloth. The trick now is to make myself get around to taking the other items back. So... wasted money and stress.

During the Relay, we participated in some games, avoided others. But then, we were personally asked to make a team for the "Not so New" to Relay game. Justin and I teamed up and quite possibly could have won. We were given 5 (I think) questions about Relay, but then instead of guessing if we knew what the other person said, they instead, judged if our answers matched. I got a little tiffed, but managed to keep it in perspective.

I blog this now, so hopefully I will look back next year at Relay time and remember how right I was to focus on fundraising and not decorating or competing... and stick to that purpose even a little more next year. It's a good way to end the year. I am surprised that we raised so much in basically three weeks. I had to carry the brunt of the work, like with most things, but I am okay with that and am keeping my expectations realistic with the teens.

One of the team members alerted me there was a pic of Justin & me playing the game on the local newspaper website. I am surprisingly not allowing myself to be traumatized by this.

There is a lot of emotion wrapped up in the Relay experience. I really cheated myself out of most of it. The Survivor Lap, this year and last, made me teary-eyed. I think the most devastating this about cancer is its nondiscrimination. Sure, there are risk factors for certain cancers- like smokers are more likely to develop lung cancers. But for most, there aren't. Anyone can and does get it. The number and proximity of those people is jarring. Second to that, I think the way in which cancer is more outstanding than other diseases is the visible, physical battle it has with its victims. It's a war. A shaved head. A chest with a scar where there once was a breast. The uncertainty of a life-span. The coming out of remission when you think the battle has been won.

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