Why I Relay

It’s almost summer, which means Relay season is upon us, and as we mentioned yesterday our local Relay is this weekend.  When asked if I’d be stopping by my answer was “of course!”  Relay for Life has been a huge part of my life, and while I haven’t been an official part of a team in a few years, I am always up for supporting Relayers and seeing what their ceremonies are like.

As I said Relay has been a huge part of my life.  My mom would take my sisters and I to the local Relay when we were younger for the Luminaria ceremony (now Remember) to hear the message she wrote in honor, and later years in memory, of my grandma who fought and lost to breast cancer.  A few years later, my older sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I was part of the group of family and friends who Relayed for her.

After spending high school summers honoring my sister at Relay in my hometown I went to college.  I found my university didn’t have a chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Colleges Against Cancer or a Relay for Life event, and I met another girl who had been involved in Relay and wanted to bring it to our school.  I was part of a handful of people who helped CAC become a campus organization and plan its first Relay.

Every Relay follows a similar script, but is a little different.  I’ve been at outdoor Relays under the stars and in the rain, I’ve been at indoor Relays in college feildhouses and mini-Relays in hotel conference rooms.  I’ve heard speakers that range from survivors in there 20’s to their 50’s; caretakers, parents and children both of people who survived cancer and those who did not.  I even spoke with my little sister at a college Relay about being a sibling of a ‘cancer kid’.

Next month with mark a decade since the first time I put on a Relay shirt and stayed up all night for this very important cause, and I will continue to support it for decades to come.

When you go to a Relay for Life event you inevitably get asked why you Relay, or who you Relay for.  I Relay to Celebrate my sister’s survivorship, I Relay in Remembrance of the amazing life my grandma led and then lost to cancer, and I Relay as a reminder that we need to keep Fighting Back to find a cure.  Why do you Relay?

XO Ali

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