Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Who I Relay For....

On June 14 I'll be participating in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  I first heard about the relay 10 years ago, just after both pf my parents had been diagnosed with cancer.  I was so excited about the Relay and wanted to take part, only to find out it was happening the night before my wedding.  So thinking that wouldn't be the best idea, I vowed to take part the following year.

June 2002, my mom told us that at her physical the doctor had found some "lumps" in 2 different places that he wanted her to get checked out.  In late August, she found out that the lumps in one of those places was cancerous.  BUT, it was in her thyroid, and it is supposed to be one of the best places to get cancer.  They would remove her thyroid gland, and she's have some treatments, and hopefully that would be all.  In September she had her surgery, and was fortunate that it hadn't spread beyond her thyroid.  And then in November she had her first round of radioactive iodine treatments.

March 2003, my dad found out that he had cancer as well.  No one wants to hear that a loved one has cancer, but let me tell you you also don't want to be told this news again 8 months after learning that your mom had it, and now your other parent has to battle this disease too.  Dad started chemo treatments fairly soon after his diagnosis.  We shaved his head for him before he lost it all, and he looked mighty handsome if I do say so myself.  And I went with him one day to his treatment.  For any of you who have a family member who is having treatments, go with them one day if you can.

It is said that you never know how strong you are until it is the only choice you have.  My family seemed to live this in 2002/2003.  For me personally, I was working a full time job, taking some night school courses, finishing up some placements for these courses AND planning my wedding for June of 2003.  Some days I wondered how we would get trough all of it.

June 18, 2004 I participated in my first Relay.  We had 11 people on our team, and LOTS of visitors to our campsite.  Mom as a survivor participated in the "Survivor lap".  Later that night we lit many luminaries in memory of my dad who had lost his battle just before Christmas in 2003.

This June, we will continue to watch mom walk in the survivor lap (she has now been cancer free for 10 years!), we will continue to light luminaries in memory of my dad (who lost his battle 10 years ago this December), and we will have our kids there to experience their first Relay for Life.

While the heart of the reason I relay is because of my parents, we have added WAY to many names to our "In Memory Of" banner that we hang at our Relay for Life Campsite.

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