For this next post (of several posts in my mind), I'm going to admit something I'm embarrassed about. I'm embarrassed that, until this last Friday evening (June 19), I didn't really ever bother to find out more about American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. My sister-in-law, Amber, has participated in her local Relay for Life for years. I just never realized fully what it was all about.
From 7:00 P.M. Friday evening until around 4:00 A.M. Saturday morning (it was supposed to go until 7:00 A.M., but rain stopped the event early), quite a few dedicated walkers stayed up the night to walk to help the fight against cancer. These walkers included cancer survivors, family members of cancer victims, friends of cancer victims, etc....
Before walking, each participant did some fundraising to go to the American Cancer Society.
Meet our friend Lisa....
We've known Lisa and her wonderful husband Mark for awhile now. They've been with us in our Community Life Group through church for the past three years. Last fall, Lisa was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Since then, she has undergone several surgeries, numerous scans and blood work, and chemo treatments.
Several weeks ago, just as her chemo treatments had ended, she had a follow-up PET Scan to determine the next course of action in her treatment plan. The scan showed some "reactivity" in her neck. To make a long story short, Lisa and Mark are soon headed up to Rochester, MN, for an appointment at the Mayo Clinic to get a second opinion on her treatment options.
Here's where my personal embarrassment continues. My grandfathers both had colon cancer; however, in both cases, it was treatable. Marc's mom had breast cancer. It too was found early and was treatable. Other than that, I hadn't really been affected by cancer. I'm embarrassed, yet thankful, to say that I was a little naive to cancer. That is until now -- watching what Lisa and Mark have gone through for Lisa's treatment has opened my eyes. Lisa is amazing and continues to persevere. Lisa and Mark have put their faith in God. They know that God's ultimate plan will shine through this ordeal.
So, this past Friday night, Lisa and I went and hung out at the event -- at least for a little while.
Here's the entrance. Both of us were amazed at just how big the event really was.
One of the first things we saw was the "Caregiver Garden." This garden is where cancer survivors can honor their caregivers. That first photo of Lisa (earlier in this post) was of her honoring Mark, her husband, as her caregiver.
Now, admittedly, what first pulled us to this event was to support our friends, Seth and Sarah H. Seth and Sarah are also in our Community Life Group. Sarah was on a team called the "South Breeze Sockhoppers." This team was formed at the school she teaches at. Seth was there as a participant and as a supportive husband. Also on the team were friends Bart, Torri, and Shannon K. Here's a photo of their team's tent and resting/relaxing area.
As you can see, he was also there for the food that the team members provided :) Seth -- I'm fairly sure you've fully convinced my husband to do this next year -- food always does it.
Lisa, Seth, Sarah and I did walk around the track together a few times. Around the track were all of the luminaries. The luminaries were all in honor of cancer survivors or in memory of those who lost their battles to cancer. The luminaries were decorated by team members. Dollars raised "purchased" the luminaries.
Here are some luminaries in honor of Lisa -- I wasn't able to get them all photographed.
Also, luminaries were decorated in honor of sweet little Cora Paige McClenahan, the little girl of our friends, Joel and Jess, who lost her short battle with cancer back in February. Here is one of the luminaries for her. Again, I didn't get them all photographed.
Here's a photo of Seth, Sarah, Lisa, and I after walking the track. It was an EXTREMELY hot and humid evening, and my red cheeks should be a testimony to that.
Around 10:00 in the evening was the ceremony for the "Lighting of the Luminaries." This is where the luminaries were officially lit, and the track lights were turned off. Some bagpipe players walked around the track during this time. They're in this photo, but you do have to look carefully to notice them among all of the other people. Just trust me on this one.
Then, each name of those honored and remembered were on the screen one by one. Unfortunately, my photo with Lisa's name didn't turn out. But, here are some more to honor.
Overall, it was a GREAT event, and I encourage everybody to get involved in some way next year -- even if it's supporting a participant. I realize that not everybody is able to walk a track all night :)
I'm so glad that Lisa and I took the time to go. Thanks Seth & Sarah as well as the rest of your team and others for walking for such a great cause.
The last photo I want to post is this....
If you can't read it, it says "Hope." This was shining on the water tower during the "Lighting of the Luminaries" ceremony.
While looking at the water tower, I was reminded that we can't put our hope in earthly things. Only God will determine whether or not a cure for cancer will be found. I was reminded of sooooo many important verses about that. Here's the one I will share for this post. It's from the book of Hebrews.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:11-12
Isn't that so true? We're being diligent and persevering through everything here on earth (including cancer) to ultimately end up in heaven -- if we choose to repent and put our trust in Jesus Christ.
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