My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Relay For Life 2012

on June 25, 2012

I started writing this post during this year’s event, and continued writing it through the weekend.
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I have been doing this walk for many years now, having lost my stepdad to lung cancer. Of course, now I also do it for me. I look forward to this event with great anticipation. If you have never attended this kind of event, you should put it on your To Do list. It’s awe-inspiring and motivational. The number of people who take time out of their busy schedules to honour someone they know who either lost their fight or is still fighting or who won their battle is just amazing. Not just those that walk, but also those that volunteer their time or just come out to support those who do. It’s hard to describe the feeling of it all. It’s something everyone should experience.

As I stood in line to purchase luminaries in memory of my stepdad Warren, my husband’s dad David (who lost his battle long before I met my husband), and to honour my friend Jeff’s dad Alan, I met a lovely woman named Mika. She had already purchased several but needed to get 2 more. She was upset because she only had enough cash to get one and you could only pay cash. I immediately told her I would get the other one for her. She was so touched that she started to tear up. She asked me my name and said I would forever be in her prayers. She herself is a two-time survivor. We chatted for a few moments before I had to leave to start my volunteer work. What a lovely lady. Later she came into the Survivors Tent to get her shirt and came over to thank me again.

I saw and chatted with many wonderful people this year. Many I had seen before. Many remembered me from past years. We don’t always know each others names, but we at all there for a common cause so we are almost like family. I ran into a couple of ladies I know from the gym. I saw people I used to be on a team with. They said they almost didn’t recognize me. It had been almost a year since they had seen me last. I’ve changed a lot in that year.

The team I walked with this year was a friend named Doug, whom my husband plays softball with, and his family. By the end of the night, I sort of felt like they were my family too. A great bunch of people. I felt honored to be a member of their team.

Doug was volunteering as well this year. He as shuttling survivors who had trouble walking to and from the Survivors Tent. He also had the privilege of driving a couple of survivors around the track during the Survivors Lap, which kicks off the event. One lady he had in his cart cut the ribbon to start the event. Another lady was 92 years old and a survivor for 55 years. How amazing is that!

Another friend named Dale, whom Doug and Dan also play ball with, came out for a few hours just to support us. He even walked several laps with me. He was like my pseudo-trainer, keeping me going, giving me support, encouraging me to keep going when I wasn’t sure I could.

When I was gearing up for the walk this year, I set a goal of 50 laps. The track is 400 metres long, so 50 laps would be 20 kilometres. I knew it was a very lofty goal. In all the years I’ve been doing the walk, if I add up all the laps I’ve done each year, I don’t think it adds up to 50. So I knew it was going to be hard, but I’ve never been as strong as I am now. I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do something so big. I tried really hard, pushing myself each time I was on the track. The music they had playing was good motivation. The fellowship of the other walkers helped keep me going as well. I did as many laps as I could before stopping for a rest and going back out.

We stopped for a short while to light the candles in the luminaries and have a moment of silence to remember those who lost their battle and honour those still fighting and those who have won. Such an amazing moment.

Back to walking. My feet hurt a lot. I was so glad I had on my gym shoes. My shoulders started hurting, which I thought was a little weird. I used a couple moves from my stretch class to help with that. I wished I had my yoga mat so I could have done more stretching. I’ll have to remember that for next year. I got a foot massage at one point which was awesome. Definitely need to do that again next year!

In the end, I managed to walk 30 laps, which is equal to 12 kilometres. Even though I didn’t meet my goal, I can’t be too upset with myself. It’s still more than I ever walked before. I’m pretty proud of myself. I think I did really well. But look out for next year. I’m going to amaze everyone!!

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