Thursday, June 16, 2011
There were a range of emotions – from tears to laughter – Friday night at the annual Marshall County Relay for Life.
And that’s what this event is all about. Celebrate, remember and fight back are themes that link all Relays together.
The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, according to information on its website, is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.
It’s a very special occasion.
It brings the community together for a great cause. It raises money toward the ultimate goal of finding a cure for cancer.
Our lives have all been affected by the disease – either directly, through family members or friends.
This year a couple of good people remained on my mind throughout the night.
Co-worker and friend Beth Breithaupt was a participant in the survivors’ lap. Beth was diagnosed with cancer nine months ago and has undergone both chemo treatments and surgery.
She just returned to the office last week after helping us out as best she could from home following her surgery. Later last week Beth received great news from her doctor, and for that, we all rejoice.
The survivors’ lap, which starts every Relay, is an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories we’ve achieved over cancer. The survivors’ lap is an emotional example of how Relay participants are ensuring that more lives are saved each year – like those of each individual on the track. Caregivers are also recognized at Relay For Life. These individuals give their time, love, and support to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers who face cancer. At Relay, people understand the frustrations and joys of being a caregiver, since the effects of cancer reach far beyond just the person diagnosed.
Beth is responsible, several years ago, for getting The South Reporter involved in Relay for Life. Now, more than ever, she and her co-workers realize its importance.
Coach Keith Wicker was also on my mind Friday night at the annual Relay. Coach Wicker, retired football coach from Marshall Academy, is battling cancer.
He’s a great coach, but more so, he’s a fine person. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen athletes love their coach the way the Patriots love Coach Wicker.
Please, keep him and his family in your prayers.
Andy told me when we got home from the Relay, “Dad, I saw some luminaries honoring Coach Wicker.”
After dark, the Relay honors people who have been touched by cancer and remembers loved ones lost to the disease during the luminaria ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing custom artwork and the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants often walk a lap in silence. This is a time that truly highlights the importance of defeating this disease.
Thanks to all who give so much of their volunteer time to organizing and overseeing the Marshall County Relay for Life. And thanks to all who support it. It’s one of the greatest examples of teamwork.
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