I set off to write this blog about how amazing this weekend really was, as Little Sis sent me a FB chat to let me know that she just found out her grandma was diagnosed...all the joy I had just deflated. I thought, today? After the experience I just had, another one? Little Sis's grandma may not be blood related to me, but she is family. I've known her for over 20 years and spent a great amount of my childhood with her- a lot of my happiest childhood memories involve her. I told Little Sis that she has to fight back and she can't give up. I don't know any details just yet, no stage info, something to do with her liver and spleen. It was just hard to hear today. Obviously any day, but I kinda felt like today was off limits. Right? I guess not. Cancer doesn't really care. To Little Sis's Grandma- I love you and please fight back and keep fighting back.
My journey began about 9 months ago when I was contacted at work for the committee to use my facility as a meeting space. I was all over it and asked our department to sponsor the event with in-kind donations. I joined the committee, formed a team, and was pretty pumped. I recruited my second in command, my super star at work. With AP by my side we had it on lock- we were in charge of the kids area, no brainier for us. We worked hard, recruited a small, but mighty team- Moovin' for Moolah-that consisted of staff and co-workers- all walking for different reasons- all wanting to make a difference.
It was a learning experience- we learned a lot of what worked...and a lot of what we can fine tune. All teams were to have an on-site fundraiser and a fight back theme. We tried a few on-site fundraisers- we tried to have a cool-off station where people donate to sit under the misters, no one wanted to pay- so we ended up taking our sign down and people started flocking to it, glad we brought it, but disappointed we couldn't earn some moolah. We also set up our pitch burst- a less crazy version of a dunk tank- you sit under a water balloon, people throw a ball and the balloon pops, pretty cool. We charged adults to throw balls and let the kids throw for free- I think that was the highlight of the kids area...we made a little bit of money there. Our big fundraiser was our BBQ. G-Dawg slaved away along with my manager and rest of the team at our food station, we ended up clearing about $400. Word on the track was our chicken was the bomb and people came running when they heard we were running low- we sold out on food, awesome. :) G made an excellent teriyaki chicken- which we served as rice bowls or a sandwich, we also sold turkey hot dogs, both were accompanied with lemonade or water.
|Captain & Cook|
Our Fight Back message was educating walkers about the Road to Recovery program, a program offered by the American Cancer Society that provides transportation to and from doctors appointments for cancer patients. It's a really cool program. We had coloring pages that we designed that were license plates (cow themed of course) if a person signed up for more information to become a volunteer they received a new car (a toy car attached to a necklace). We also had a car race where we gave away Relay firsbees to the winner......and we WON a prize for the best Fight Back theme- AP and I were puuuumped up.
It was an emotional roller coaster, highs and lows. The morning was set off by watching an 8 year old and 3- year old cancer survivors walk the survivor lap in the lead. So many emotions overtook me ranging from joy to anger. Why did these two children have to suffer through treatments and fear? Their life is forever changed - yet they smile and laughed through their first lap of this event, as many other survivors did.
Movie screens, wind, computer malfunctions, urg...two hours of stress and tears, but the ceremony was amazing. The pain and exhaustion we feel today is nothing compared to those fighting for their lives, fighting to stay with their loved ones.
We were a baby relay- meaning it was our first one, so our fundraising goal that the American Cancer Society set for us was $25,000. The Committee set our goal at $30,000. Well....we surpassed our goal, actually we crushed it. We raised over $62,000 and counting for the American Cancer Society. Amazing.
I can't even explain everything that happened over the course of 24 hours- but this was just a small peek into our Relay experience. We learned so much and next year is going to be even better. I will update with our team total shortly.
|Survivor Bingo Prize|
Thank you Kristi's Yum Pops
for helping us decorate!
|K&A even walked a few laps with me!|
|Moovin' for Moolah!!|
|Hoping for a cure|
To find out more information about the Relay for Live visit www.relayforlife.org. To find out more information about all the programs the American Cancer Society offers visit www.cancer.org.