Giving Back,  Personal,  relay for life

Leduc Relay for Life 2012 Part One

I’m not sure I can articulate the range of emotion that lives within a Relay for Life event. My eyes have changed through the years of volunteering as a photographer at the Relay. Five years ago, my dear friend Hope Walls introduced me to the Edmonton Relay for Life event and within minutes my heart was taken by the amazing people that walked the track all of which share a common bond…cancer. Three years ago, my home city Leduc held their very first Relay for Life. My friend Jackie registered “Team Hope” and for the first time I was able to participate in the event as a Relayer along with my lovely girlfriends. I relayed in memory of my Aunty Lorraine, and my friend Chris. Little did I know that just months after walking the track in Leduc’s first Relay, my Dad would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. And so my eyes changed as our family rallied around my Father as he bravely fought cancer.  You view life differently when cancer seeps in, some days it invades like a flood and other days like a dripping tap. But it’s always there, hiding in the shadows. I quickly learned cancer is a family disease.

This year as the Relay approached, I put off fundraising a little longer than I usually do and I even considered not participating in the relay…because it hurt. It’s been a tough year of treatment for my Dad. And then I realized that’s the whole point. That’s the reason I Relay…To raise funds to fight the monster. To find purpose within chaos. To etch Hope into the landscape of this beautiful life. To support my Father, because he deserves all the support we can give. I set out to raise what I could and littered my facebook news-feed with pleas for donations.

And then something happened…

Hope happened.

I was reduced to tears as the generosity and support of my friends and family poured in to the tune of $5,000.

This Relay for Life, more than any other, held so much meaning. It represents loss and sorrow. It represents the power of community, support, and friendship.

But above all, the Relay for Life represents Hope.

We Celebrated.

We Remembered.

We Fought Back.

Up first was the Survivor banquet.

Let me introduce you to Matt. He’s an incredibly strong man with a powerful story of survival. After he was done speaking, one gentleman stood up in appreciation and the whole room followed suit.

Matt Relay Speach web

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After the supper, we made our way outside for the survivor group photo and balloon release.

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Survivor Balloon Release 2012 web

They kicked off the Relay with the first lap.

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It was so good to see familiar faces from the last two Relays.

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This is Al, he is such a sweet man!

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The Relay teams on their first lap…

I think Leduc has one of the prettiest walking tracks for the Relay.

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These two lovely angels greeted us with a “hello” at every lap, and a “Good Morning” as the sun rose.

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The amazing team Hier Power who raised an astonishing $15,500!

Hier Power 2012 web

I was honoured to be a part of Team Hope. Together we raised $8,670. I sure do love these soft-hearted girls…

Team Hope 2012 web

Even if you aren’t participating in the Relay, the event is a wonderful place to bring the kids for some fun.  There’s always lots to see and do.

The Leduc Kanata Gymnastics Club put on an amazing show of young talent.

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Relay Gymnast 2012 web

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As I ran the track, I was very touched by the messages of encouragement to all on some of the luminaries….

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We were blessed with beautiful weather, it was even made sweeter as we remembered last year’s June snow storm. The sun shone brilliantly warming all of us Relayers on the track.

Click here for PART TWO of the Relay. It was a beautiful sight to see when the sun went down.

*All images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society

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