Relay For Life, Homestyle

Homecoming means coming home to what is in your heart.  ~Author Unknown

You all know the saying there’s no place like home. Going home is always special. This trip back home was bittersweet. I had the honor of participating in my hometown Relay for Life event. I walked in memory of my brother who recently died of cancer. I witnessed my father walking the survivor lap. The best part was that I served on a team with my family. I spent the day with cousins I have loved forever but due to time and distance haven’t seen nearly often enough through the years.

We wanted to go fast like the Ricky Bobby car, but needless to say we didn’t. Our shoes didn’t have nearly as much rubber as those tires, and our motors didn’t rev like the car…maybe we should have tried gasoline instead of water and gatorade! However, I think most of us had sore feet the next day.

This event was in my hometown of Nelson County, and my team was “Cousins for a Cure”. We even had a racing theme because we know the cure for cancer can not be found quickly enough. Unfortunately, our family has been struck hard through the years with cancer.

I was thrilled to spend the say with my family. My Dirt Man walked with me. My parents attended, as well as my sister, her hubby, and youngest daughter. Her husband walked 60 laps which is equal to about  fifteen miles. Though the rest of us walked a lot, none of us came near that distance.

This is me in the middle with two of my three sisters. The one on the right of your screen is a cancer survivor. Knowing that I have a father and sister who are survivors, and a brother who lost the battle makes it that much more important to me for a cure to be found. The bottom line is that cancer sucks! Any of you who have been affected by it know what I mean.

This is probably the first picture taken in years of the females in my family. This is me with my mother and all three of my sisters.This one has my father with us. We are missing my brother who was unable to attend as his daughter was graduating from law school that weekend. He was with us in spirit as we walked for our brother, Monte, and our many other family members.

This is my father walking the survivor lap with my friend of many years. It was such an honor that they were able to walk that lap together. We had a vial of my brother’s ashes for my dad to take on the survivor lap. It was heavy as it was in a marble container and weighed his pocket down, so he ended up not carrying it. I was gifted the priviledge to walk the caretakers walk with his ashes in my hand. I walked that lap for my mother as her health was not up to it. My sister who is a cancer survivor walked that lap with me instead of walking the survivor lap.

This is part of our team with many of our cousins. I think we had twenty-two members if I’m not mistaken. Our team raised over $5000. The county raised over $120,000 which is phenomenal for a small town. I am so proud of my family and my county. Relay in itself is an emotional experience, but being with the people you love (and have been touched by the same tragedies) escalates the emotions tenfold.

Dirt Man and I were delighted to meet up with many friends from our past. This is the husband of my best high school friend who died at the tender age of thirty-four. We had each walked in past relays in memory of Stephanie, but never the same relay.

I also met up with my best friend from first grade. It was wonderful to visit with my lifelong friend and reconnect with her family that I’ve held dear to my heart for so many years.

The luminaria ceremony was breathtaking. It was a silent walk giving time for reflection of those who’ve lost the battle. It was especially touching with the bag pipes being played. I was chilled by Amazing Grace.

The luminare ballons were spectacular. Realize that this occured on the night that some group had claimed the rapture would occur. Can you imagine seeing these bright purple blinking lights flying through the sky and not knowing what they were if you were one of those people waiting for the world to end?

This shirt says it all. I plan on walking again next year. I hope you will, too. More than anything, I hope a cure is found.

A special thank you to Nelson County for a wonderful event and to my cousins and family members for the honor of doing this together.

For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and
concern for each other.  ~Millard Fuller

38 thoughts on “Relay For Life, Homestyle

  1. What an incredible day, and event. Love seeing your Dad on that survivor lap and that he carried his son’s ashes. Ohhhh, just beautiful *tears*.

    Can’t believe how much money you guys raised – AWESOME!

    Praying for you all and hoping for a cure with you. I lost my Poppa to cancer when I was 16.

  2. Suzi, I got CHILLS reading this post!

    (and a bit teary-eyed)

    What an amazing experience! Isn’t it something the power of LOVE; people coming together in community?

    Beautiful photographs! Uplifting post!

    Thank you so much for sharing……X

  3. Good for you and your family, Suzicate! I lost my dad to cancer almost two and a half years ago. What a wonderful way to do something positive in memory of those who lost their lives — and sharing it as a family must have been quite memorable. Thanks for sharing it with the blogosphere!

    • I’m so sorry that you lost your dad to this horrible disease. Nothing takes away our loss, but this at least made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile to possibly prevent others from losing ones they love.

  4. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing all the photos and information. My father is a prostrate cancer survivor, although the treatments he received have caused him fairly serious consequences. My sister Annie died in ’09 from cancer. I just heard a woman I knew, who beat cancer 10 years ago, just succumbed. So many people lost and affected by this. Good work.

    • Cancer is truly horrible. I think most everyone is affected in some way. A few years back a woman my husband worked with told him that she had never known anyone (family, friend, or mere acquaintance) that had experienced cancer. About one month late she was diagnosed with breast cancer – I am happy to say she is doing very well as she is currently cancer free.

  5. It seems like you have such a large family. It’s so cool that you all stick together, and that you were able to raise so much money. I admire your heart and your passion and I hope next year is even more successful 🙂

    • Yes, we have a large immediate family and of course an even larger extended one. This group of cousins was just one small branch, but a branch I hold dear.

  6. Fabulous event and even more fabulous is the time you got to spend with family. Cherished memories for sure. Kudos to you for making a difference.

  7. I cannot believe I have “missed’ this post until now. I was thinking you weren’t posting because you were busy, but I must not be getting my e-mails or something.

    This is lovely. I am so glad that you were able to do this. My friend said that doing this with her family and friends was very healing. I know that you have been at peace, but I imagine this was still a very wonderful thing to have been a part of.

    GREAT pictures.

    Yeah you!!!! Yay your team! Yay your county. That is a great amount of money!!!

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