Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hunger for a Cure

Nearly a week ago I participated in the annual Relay For Life walk. I've done the walk in the past, but always as part of another team. I hopped in because cancer's nasty curse has devilishly embraced too many family members and loved ones. It's the least I can do. I pray that I remain healthy.
Each year the Relay is held at Bishop MacNamara Catholic High School. It's a safe place for this event. There's no walking around town or blocking side streets. The track is updated compressed rubber surface. I'm sure there's a technical term for it. All I know is that it coddled my knees. I had the energy to keep on truckin' well into the night and early morning.
My sister Maureen, a cancer survivor, had a dream of always having her own team. This year, Team "Hunger for a Cure" took to the track with laughter in our hearts and tears in our eyes. Sadly, the walk came on the heals of her husband's death. Still freshly mourning, we made the trek. Maureen's good friend told me my sis gave second thoughts to go thru with the walk. The money would be donated, but she wasn't convinced it was a wise decision. It turned out to be therapeutic: Celebrating life gave us the togetherness we needed.
The weather was ideal. Sun shining. Low humidity. The opening ceremonies were due to start at 2:00 p.m. central time. At noon I received a call from Maureen. A banner with our team name needed to be made. The supplies were nary to be found. HELP! I was on it. Man-cub and I bolted to Michael's on a mission. Poster paints, banner fabric, paint brushes! Stat! No fabric to be found! Hard to believe, but true. "No worries! Marshall's should have a cheap twin size bed sheet." DRATS! No plain, twin-sized, flat sheets. The end caps hold clearance items. TA-DA! A plain, white, cloth shower curtain. Hell to the yeah! We were on our way.
Nephew Justin is the artiste in our family. He drew up what he envisioned and out to the patio we went. Shake, squirt and slop! The paint went on the paper plate and JP commenced to outlining his creation. With the sun beating down on our shoulders, we giggled to a near frenzy as the wind attempted to make our giant banner take flight like a kite. Fortunately, the sun baked the paint quickly. Man-cub assisted by standing on the sides to keep it from slapping around before the paint dried. He then added his artistic talents to painting.
There is no doubt that our banner was the biggest. And, if I may boast, the best. We're a tall family; therefore, it was fitting to have a banner that exceeded the norm.
At the site, we put up a tent so we'd have shelter from the sun. Blankets, pillows, inflatables were on hand in case we got weary and needed to rest. For the most part we remained active and jovial. My niece and her husband brought chicken and all the fixins around dinner time. Yum! Fried chicken. I bartered with myself: do your power walk and you can have a juicy piece of calorie unfriendly chicken. I did it. I nearly ran over a few people in the process. However, everyone was in good spirits and didn't seem to mind. If they did, I was oblivious as my earbuds were shoved in, and the high energy tunes were blocking out possible curses.
The Relay sponsors provided plenty of food and drink for the participants. Thank goodness, too! In our haste to make it to the opening ceremonies on time (which we failed to do -- fashionably late), we had packed a cooler, but left it behind! Barrels of icey water bottles were convenient. That is if you didn't mind sticking your hand into a polar ice-cap like bin.
It always astounds me how, in the wake of deepest sorrow, we manage to find joy. My family may have a boat load of dysfunction, but when it comes down really being there for each other, we come through with flying colors ... providing tons of laughter, dance and song.


  1. Great story. This was my first year doing Relay and it sounds corny but it was life changing.

  2. This is really, truly beautiful. I'm truly sorry for your losses, but inspired by your channeling of the grief. You are a tremendous lady.

  3. This is truly great. What a fabulous tribute. As time rolls on, you'll look back this with even more fondness. Major props to all of you.

  4. You are really something, Marissa. Wish I coulda been there. More great writing.

  5. Complete non sequitur... White text on a dark background means not being able to read or operate a motor vehicle for 15 minutes. ;-)

    Please reset your template for dark text on a light background? Pretty please with clear eyesight on top?

  6. Rick, I believe you'll find this new format more pleasing to the eye. I'd hate for you to go out back to run the back-hoe and crash it into the neighbor's privacy fence as a result of reading my blog. That, my friend, would give me years of guilt.
    Thanks for the constructive input. I never operate anything more than a hair dryer after blogging. I never would have known.


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