Friday, June 8, 2012

A Reflection of Hope

I'm writing early today because I'll be away from the computer overnight. It's one of my favorite days of the year, Relay day. For those of you who may not know, Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature fundraising event. Held in countries around the world, it is an overnight event to demonstrate that cancer never sleeps. A cancer patient must battle his or her disease day in and day out.
I've been involved in Relay for several years. My family has a team in honor of my Grandma and Grandpa, both who are cancer survivors. Relay truly is a family event, and even though it's hard work (all those fried apple pies...) we still love it. We Relay because...

Relay gives back. It gives us a chance to be a part of a greater community. We are joining with others, not just in Breathitt County, not just in Kentucky not just in the US, but around the globe. Cancer has affected nearly everyone one way or the other.

It gives us hope. My Mom likes to tell about a childhood friend who died from leukemia. If she had been diagnosed now, chances are she probably would have survived. Hope is present even if sometimes it is small.

One shining light of hope will walk the track tonight. There are so many cancer survivors who I love. I've had them as patients, and cared for their families. In samll towns, it's hard not to know everyone. WE have survivors who come back year after year to get their pins. Tonight, though, I know one survivor who will make the night extra special.

A couple of months ago I wrote about Rosa, who was in a car accident and had a traumtic brain injury. Tonight, Rosa will walk around that track a true survivor. She has fought so hard, and is stll fighting,as she was recently rediagnosed. Rosa has been such an inspiration to me. She is a definition of a true miracle.

As I read those names during the luminary ceremony, tears come to my eyes. Those little flickers of light, lining the track, representing people we love. People who have lost the fight- Guys like Todd Noble, who reminded me just before he found out he had cancer that I should treasure every minute of life while I could (me, a high schooler at a pool party complaining of being bored). Guys like Kevin Rice and Brad Lockard, who I went to school with. Wallace's Papaw Richard, who I never go to meet. Young mothers who were taken too early and patients I had in the nursing home and hospital. Then there are those who fought and won, or who are still fighting. Names on that list of my Grandma and Grandpa, family friends like Sharon Deaton and Ann Carter.

As I was at the park today, I was thinking of all I've got to do. I've got a midterm in stats due Monday and a wedding to go to tomorrow and church on Sunday. Then a small voice told me... "Stop. Look around you." The weather was beautiful, the wind was blowing, and tents were going up. Our fearless leader Patty, who is a miracle in her own right, was sitting under the picnic shelter with Caleb. It's all good.. I decided to stop worrying and just enjoy life, this minute. That's something Relay has taught me... to appreciate being able to fight the good fight.

Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back... for a world of more birthdays. Hope to see you there.

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