Walking For a Cause at the Relay for Life

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 29th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Volunteering

A lot of people did a lot of walking this weekend at our local American Cancer Society/s Relay for Life. This is what I saw and felt while walking my laps there.

Helping a Good Cause

Feet pounded the pavement, music blared from loudspeakers and candles glowed in honor of cancer survivors and those who lost their fight during my local Relay for Life this weekend.
It's all for a good cause: the American Cancer Society. Here's how it works: people form teams and raise money for the cancer society. During the relay, team members take turns walking around a track or sidewalk for 24 hours straight. Many teams camp out.
My team honors the memory of my mother-in-law, Sally McKinney, who died from uterine cancer nearly seven years ago. She loved to participate in the relay and walked in the survivors' lap many times before she left us.

Surviving and Thriving

Every relay starts with the survivors' lap. This year, about 50 people walked the lap, wearing purple survivor t-shirts. Most were adults but there were also two teenagers and two children. Cancer doesn't discriminate by age. Some people smiled proudly while others blinked back tears. Spectators clapped and cheered as they passed by.

Remembering Those We Lost

Participants could remember a lost loved one or honor a survivor by purchasing luminarias - candles placed in bags and weighted down with sand. We had one for Sally burning. Candles glowed in the darkness as people kept walking all night long. By morning, some candles were still burning while others had burned out.
Some messages written on the bags were simple: "Miss you, Dad." "In memory of Bob." "In loving memory of Kathy."
Other luminarias had pictures taped to them. One had a picture of a garden and the message: "Tending your garden in heaven." Another had a New York Yankees logo on it. Still another must have been a basketball fan because of the picture of the basketball scrawled on the bag.

Helping Others and Having Fun

There are some tears at the relay but there's also a lot of laughter and smiles. The cancer society tries to make it fun for the participants. For example, this year's relay featured an African safari theme. A few people wore safari hats. Elephant, giraffe, and zebra balloons swayed in the breeze. One walker wore a gorilla suit. I still don't know what team the gorilla was on!
Walkers were entertained by a local folk band and a lively disc jockey. Several walkers took a break to sway, twirl and clap to a Latin beat as they did Zumba - at 6 a.m. in the morning.
Walkers could also swivel their hips during the hula hoop contest, belt out tunes during karaoke or see who could eat the most watermelon during the watermelon eating contest. Younger participants could play games in the youth tent.
Some people watched the contests but just kept walking laps. Those are the really dedicated folks.

Hope for a Cure

Participating in relay can be fun but also a lot of work. There are fund-raisers to plan, donations to collect and preparations to be made. There's a lot to pack for the overnight camping.
Yet, it's all worth it. All money raised at the event helps cancer survivors and funds research into a cure. Relay gives us hope that someday cancer will be a thing of the past.


American Cancer Society, Cancer, Cancer Fighting, Families, Family, Family Story, Volunteer, Volunteering, Volunteers

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author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
30th Jun 2013 (#)

A touching post, Connie, thanks for the share. Cancer is a reality of life that none can overlook. The majority spared from this dreadful disease should rise to the occasion and lend a hand. Everyday is indeed a gift to be treasured - siva

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Jun 2013 (#)

Siva commented so beautifully above...said it all...healing to all those in need...thank you Connie...

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author avatar Delicia Powers
30th Jun 2013 (#)

wonderful work...thanks Connie...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, everyone. Siva, I agree with cnwriter: very well said.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
30th Jun 2013 (#)

A lot of people sometimes feel as though they cannot help, but volunteering is a way anyone can help a cause they support.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Jun 2013 (#)

Excellent point, Mark. thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Jun 2013 (#)

What a great cause! I'm sorry to hear about your MIL, but love your action in response!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, Phyl. This is a great way to honor her memory.

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author avatar Lesa Cote
17th Feb 2020 (#)

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