Tara and I walking the survivor lap at relay for life in Medway, Ma
I have gone to many relay for life events in my lifetime, starting when I was young. Usually we would go in my father’s hometown of Medway to meet up with my aunts, uncles, cousins and my Grammy. My memories of it are always a night of fun, packed with a lot of people and tents set up for the 24 hour relay. The night was brightly lit by the candles in the luminaries bags. We would always buy one for my grandfather with his picture on it. To me relay for life was always an inspiring day that I never thought would impact me more directly later on in life….okay well maybe not too much later, but at just 18 years old. Being diagnosed changed my world. I never thought at 20 I would be a part of relay, or better yet be walking in it as a survivor! Never ever did I think I would have to add another family member to my luminary bag or add names of my jimmy fund clinic friends, all who are under the age of 20 who have passed away from this disgusting disease. I use to hear the honorary speaker when I was younger and sure, I felt inspired by their stories, but this relay I listened to my close friend Tara Daniels speak about her journey and felt many more emotions along with being inspired. As I sat and listened to her talk about her journey, all I could think about was how much I could relate, how we’ve lost so many friends, been through so much hell yet still somehow wouldn’t change our cancer because it made us who we are TODAY. I couldn’t be more proud of her. Since being diagnosed I went to a relay last year but felt weird walking the survivor lap and didn’t want to alone. This year I proudly walked with Tara and even Jerry Remy was by our side with so many other survivors that I felt an immediate bond with. It was my first relay for life survivor lap. As we started walking, everyone was cheering for us along the track; so many emotions got to me. I was proud but also shocked still that I have been battling cancer for almost three years and what made me more overwhelmed with tears is the fact that some of my clinic friends couldn’t walk the survivor lap with me. Instead cancer took them away at such a young age; it is not fair at all. I missed them immensely while walking that survivor lap and they were all I could think about. They inspired me to keep walking that track.
If anyone is reading my blogs I want them to know one thing: events such as relay for life do SAVE lives, the money raised is going to where it needs to be and every year it is helping for there to be more survivors like me. I know we all see fundraisers or donation boxes at restaurants/banks/stores and you might not know what it is going towards but I DO. It is the reason I’m here; it is the reason for more research leading to new medications and options for patients. Please next time you pass one just put a simple couple of quarters maybe even a dollar or two each time because it does add up and it can make a difference in someone’s life. I don’t want another person in this world to suffer from cancer, either being diagnosed themselves or someone they love being diagnosed. Relay for life is an amazing event that gives you an instant new outlook on life. In honor of Kaylee, Nahge, Leah, all the rest of my Jimmy Fund family, and my grandparents Frank and Barbara, I will continue to live for them and continue to walk in events like these for the rest of my life. And you can assume that these wonderful people I have lost through Cancer will live on in my memory, evoking my emotions every time I walk that survivor lap.
My cousins & I at the relay for life
I only have 11 more days of chemotherapy! June 27th is my last day followed by a bone marrow biopsy on the 28th!!! :)