Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Wonderful World of Relay Part 2

I have no way to really put the experience of relay into words. To understand how moving and amazing it is you just have to experience it. Boone County relay did theirs inside. I'll admit it wasn't my favorite but it was still a great experience. Here is a brief rundown of what goes on at Relay events. 
Every Relay starts with an opening ceremony including speeches from someone who was personally effected by cancer. If you attend a relay make sure you have a box of tissues with you during the opening. Right after the opening speeches it kicks off with the Survivor lap where all the survivors walk a lap together. This year the track was in Mizzou Rec center and it went around two separate rooms. As we left the main room and crossed into the second half of the track where the indoor tennis/basket ball courts are Ed (the head of our local ACS office ran in and started clapping from below. When everyone playing on the courts realized what was going on they stopped playing and stood and clapped the entire time made our way around the track. Thanks Ed you made that experience all the more touching. After the survivor lap they have the caregiver lap. This is my favorite lap because it honors those who spent countless hours meeting our every need. Shawn was an amazing caregiver and I'm always proud to walk that lap together with him at my side. 
Our team had a lot of fun both on the track walking and while we were sitting and working our booth. Our team was called the Imagnieers. Thanks to all my team for participating this year. 
A huge thank you also to those who donated items to sell at our booth and to those who donated money to our team. In total our team raised 900 dollars which was honestly more than we thought we would raise considering we were a pretty small team.

 Part of the fun of Relay is visiting all of the team booths. There are so many fun little games for the kids to play. Plenty of things to shop for and buy, amazingly good food, and more than anything lots of fellowship with others who have been touched by cancer in some way or another. 
One of my favorite parts of the Relay is the luminary ceremony. After another tear jerking speech they light all of the luminary's and shut the lights down. Th luminary's are meant to honor and remember those who lost their battle and to encourage and support those who are still fighting or have won. This year they lit ours with glow sticks and instead of having volunteers and committee members light them they had survivors and their caregivers light them. Somehow a bag with my name on it ended up next to a dear lady who lost her battle the previous year. It was my cousin's husbands grandmother. An incredible women I looked up to even tough I never had the honor of meeting. For that reason I went straight to her luminary and lit it. Shawn lit the one next to it with my name. We then helped light several of the others in our area.

 Once they are all lit they turn the lights down and we walk in silence then to some very powerful music. There are not words to express what this part of the night is like. Its something everyone should go and experience.


The way it works is people are able to buy these bags and decorate them and each bag your team sells goes also to your team total. Our team sold several luminaries. After Relay is over people go and collect the bags they bought so we went and collected all of the ones that people bought that were associated with our team. Several of them were bought by people in other states that were not there. My cousin got a pictures of all of them after Relay was over. 

Not everything is serious at Relay though. One of the crazier things is the crowning of the Relay Queen. They had a short pageant with talent show and dancing. It was a hoot! The only rule to being a Relay Queen is that is has to be a guy. 

They also did a relay character contest this year.There were so many great characters it was hard to choose a favorite.

I think my favorite was Jack Sparrow. Not only was his costume amazing but he also happened to be my old college adviser. Its such a small world!

Our Relay ran from 5PM to 5AM. While our team had a few extra people that stayed till the middle of the night there were four of us that stayed the entire 12 hours. 

Most of the teams packed it up early this year.

We were determined to stick it out and do whatever it took.

The later it got the funnier life got.

Finally 5AM rolled around and we packed things up and went home for a few hours of sleep. It was a great weekend full of family, friends, tears and laughter. I can't wait till next year maybe we will see you there!

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