Why we Relay All Night Long…Relay For Life starts one evening and ends the next morning. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotion, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.
Honestly this year I was scared when we arrived at the event, for the first time in years I was doing the data entry off line. What if I screwed up? Nothing compared to what a cancer patient goes through when they hear those horrible words “you have cancer”.
As the evening goes on it gets colder and darker, mirroring the emotions of the cancer patients. The time from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. represents the time when the cancer patients start treatment. They become exhausted, some sick, not wanting to go on, possibly wanting to give up. As a participant, you have been walking and feel much the same way. You are tired, want to sleep, maybe even want to go home, but you cannot stop or give up.
And I didn’t. I did my best which was about all I could do, and hope for forgiveness if I made any mistakes. Fortunately mistakes can be corrected before I do the data entry on line. I was tired, and I wanted to sleep, oh I wanted to sleep oh so bad. But I had a job to do. When I was done the data entry I walked laps, and took photos to prove, perhaps mostly to myself, that I was still awake at that time of night. A cancer patient has treatments and sadly scars to remind them of their fight. I pray to God that I never have to go through that.
The time period from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. symbolizes the coming of the end of treatment for the cancer patients. Once again they are tired, but they know they will make it.
The sun rising represents the end of treatment for the cancer patients. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that life will go on. The morning light brings on a new day full of life and excitement for new beginnings. As a participant, you will feel the brightness of the morning and know that the end of the Relay For Life is close at hand.Dawn breaks and people start packing up. Closing ceremonies and we’re done.
When you leave the Relay For Life, think of cancer patients leaving their last treatment. Just as you are exhausted and weak, so are they after treatment.I did think a lot, during the Luminaria ceremony when I walked alongside the bags of friends who are no longer with us. There were way too many new In Memory bags of my track this year.. And as I left Relay I thought of my many friends who are survivors, long time or just beginning the fight. And that is why I Relay.