(Why I Relay)
I started Relay for Life when I was five years old and I have been a participant for nine years. Until recently I did not quite understand why I did it. Relay for Life is a fundraising event organized by the Canadian Cancer Society that is hosted every year by communities across the country. In this event teams carry a baton on a track as a powerful symbol of their commitment to fight back against cancer. Relay for Life was created to bring teams of friends and families together for one big night, not only to celebrate survivors and their victories but to remember those who were lost. These events raise funds to help people that are battling cancer and fund research so that someday we might see a cure. Everyone has their own reasons and stories for doing the relay, but why do I relay?
Ever since my family and I found out I had T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, it has been a crazy and terrifying ride. When I consider everything I had to face and have seen during my journey, knowing that there is much more suffering out there that people have had to endure, it makes me feel awful. My journey with cancer has inspired me to use my life to help people. What better way than to start joining organizations like Relay for Life. I started participating in the relay not just to celebrate surviving cancer and the things I have had to overcome, but to help those that spend every day fighting for their lives. I also have had family members that had passed away because of cancer. I walk for them as well.
Everyone faces cancer. It’s not only about the survivors, but is also about those closest to them. Actually, my parents seemed like they were battling cancer more than myself because I was only three and didn't know much about the world and what was going on. Watching someone you love being damaged by cancer is harder than you can even imagine. I am not saying that those closest to you know what it is like to physically battle cancer, but they definitely have to face it.
Battling cancer is never easy. If it is defeated, it doesn't mean it is over. You still live life scared of its return. Cancer always has after effects, whether it is physical or mental. I was lucky that I didn't have many physical effects from the chemotherapy, but I did lose some memory and I have a few resulting learning issues. I also face the possibility of long term side effects later in my life. The fact that I spent two and à half years battling cancer will stick with me. So yes, my battle to overcome cancer is finished for now but it not over. I will have my scars that I have to live with for the rest of my life.
When I first started relaying , I joined other teams. However, this year I stepped up and made my own team. We are the Lymphoblasters. We named our team this because of the “Lymphoblastic” in the name of my cancer then changed it to the Lymphoblasters to symbolize blasting cancer away. Each of my team members joined for their own reasons. They have their own experiences with loved ones having cancer, they don’t do it just for my fight. Every time I hear some else's story and their experiences, I use it as fuel to continue helping others fight by participating in fundraising events like Relay for Life.
So come, join the fight and be apart of my team in this years Relay for life