Yesterday Cancer Lost!
I’m starting this post about 24 hrs after the OSU Relay for Life started. I hoped to write sooner while all of the thoughts and recollections were more fresh but there are some good reasons that didn’t happen. The goal of this post is to share some things that I learned about life, myself and cancer.
Body of Health had a total of 18 team members who attended the event if full or in part. The relay ran from 6 pm to 7 am. During that time we had people walking, riding in strollers, playing music and singing, performing chair massage and supporting other groups in their fundraising efforts. By the time all was said and done our team ended up raising about $700 for cancer research and supporting those dealing with cancer.
My Chiropractic Assistant, Kate and I performed over 50 chair massages throughout the night. We worked on current patients, future patients, students, survivors and even a few people who have never had a massage before. It was amazing to be able to hear the stories of all of these people participating.
One lady was a 13 year survivor of breast cancer. This was her 11th relay. She didn’t seem like an athlete but she walked almost the full 13 hour event.
I worked on two sisters-in-law who were participating in honor of their grandmother who had been a regular participant of the relay as a survivor. One of them wore her 5 year survivor medal around her neck. Grandma passed away on Valentines Day after her 4th battle with cancer. These women walked over 26 miles which is a full marathon.
A member of the National Guard ran and walked a total of 100 laps throughtout the night in boots and fatigues. Part of this time he was wearing his rucksack as he marched. 100 laps around this track was over 30 miles.
There was a family who presented during the Luminaria ceremony who have been deeply touched by cancer. At age 10 the son of the family was diagnosed with leukemia and had to undergo three years and three months of chemotherapy. The side effects of these treatments have left him with serious learning disabilities, cardiovascular and kidney damage which he will deal with the rest of his life. He was there to tell his story.
With the help of about a half-dozen volunteers he displayed a 54 ft long string of beads. Each bead represented a dose, treatment, hospital stay, examination or procedure. There was over 1,200 beads. It was heart breaking.
His mother spoke too. In contrast she had thyroid cancer which she beat by taking a single dose of a single pill. This is the eventual goal of leukemia treatment.
At the table in our campsite we had an 8×10 of my mom, Beverly, who died from lung cancer two years ago. She was beautiful lady. To confirm this one student walking by our booth stopped and asked why we had a picture of Lena Horne up. I chuckled and told him it was actually my mom. He took a deep reverance and spoke a phrase in Arabic which he asked me to repeat. I did. He said it meant, “May she rest with God in peace.”
At one point in the night I really wondered if my participation in the realy was a mistake. Early on I started to walk a lap with my son and my younger daughter. She was asking me questions about what we were doing and why. I could barely make it around the loop without breaking down in tears. I finished the lap and wondered if all 13 hours would be like rubbing an open wound. Fortunately, my big sister showed up around then and a big hug from her was enough to help me through the emotions I didn’t realize were so close to the surface for me. The relay was not a mistake.
Thanks to all of those who organized the event. Thanks to the wonderful people I work with at Body of Health who gave time, equipment, donations and support. Thanks to wonderful patients/friends who relayed with us or were there with another team and stopped by to give support. Thanks to family members who participated by walking, donating or sending prayers. Thanks to Mom for giving me a reason to get involved although that comes at a price I would never want to pay again.
The bottom line is this: Everyday we fight cancer but yesterday… cancer lost!