Monday, May 23, 2011

S Is For Staying Up All Night

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It's time again for ABC Wednesday. If you aren't participating in ABC Wednesday, you are missing out on a lot of fun.

This week the letter is S. S is for staying up all night.

Cancer Doesn’t Sleep and Neither Did We

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Many people who attend the Relay For Life event are not aware that it lasts all night. After all of the entertainment and the Luminaria ceremony, Relay continues throughout the night until the sun comes up. Why do we Relay all night long and stay overnight? Because the Relay For Life event is designed to symbolize the journey of a cancer survivor.

Relay For Life starts at dusk and ends the next morning. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotion, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.

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Relay begins when the sun is setting, symbolizing the time a person has been diagnosed with cancer. Immediately there is a lot of support. People rally to lend a helping hand, much like the Opening Ceremony at Relay when everyone cheers that first lap for Survivors.

As survivors start their cancer treatment, it’s hard and taxing, just like when the light of day fades into darkness. As midnight comes, teams continue to walk the track, but it gets harder as the walking continues into the 6th and 7th hour.

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This time represents when a cancer patient becomes exhausted, sick, maybe not wanting to go on, possibly wanting to give up. As a Relay participants, we feel much the same way. We are tired, want to sleep, and may even want to go home, but we don't stop or give up.

The time just before daybreak symbolizes the coming of the end of treatment for the cancer patient. Things are beginning to look brighter, just like the break of dawn. A sense of hope emerges. The morning light brings on a new day full of life and new beginnings.

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For the walkers who are making laps around the track, when the sun begins to come up, there is a strong sense of hope that they too can make it through.

As we make the final lap, as a cancer survivor gets the final clearance from their doctor, we celebrate and we cross the finish line together.

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As our teams gathered together at sunrise on Saturday morning to make one final lap after walking all night there were 15 of the 18 teams that participated in Relay still there. These dedicated Relayers had sacrificed a night of sleep to let cancer survivors know that they support them in their fight against cancer. It is a way to fight back against cancer.

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At the final ceremony just before we all left to go to our homes and hopefully get some rest, the fundraising totals were announced and awards were given out. At the Relay event over 4,300 dollars were raised. Thank you Polk County for coming out to support Relay For Life even in the rainy weather. Our total raised so far in 2011 is over 66,000 dollars, a new record for Polk County!

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The award for our top fundraising team this year went to the Union Bank Purple Onions who raised 15,444 dollars. The award for top individual fundraiser went to Regina Lawry who raised 3,386 dollars. The award for top youth fundraising team went to the Acorn FCCLA Cupcakes For A Cure who raised 766 dollars. The award for top individual youth fundraiser went to Erica Goss who raised 405 dollars. Regina Lawry was awarded a Visionary Leadership for 2011 award by the American Cancer Society.

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Relay For Life appreciates everyone who takes part. It takes a whole community working together to have a successful Relay, but we are especially thankful for those who come out and spend the night at Relay symbolizing the fact that cancer never sleeps.

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4 comments:

  1. SENSATIONAL cause. Though tiring event, I gather.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  2. A wonderful report, Richard! Our local all-night event also was well attended.

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  3. Sounds really moving. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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