Yesterday was a fabulous success. I have no idea what the financial tally ended up being. The success comes from family coming together to walk for such a brilliant cause: Relay for Life: American Cancer Society.
Our team, Hunger For a Cure, was one of 150 teams. I overheard that our local event increased the team number by 30. Now I know why it was nearly impossible to find a reasonable parking spot. Walking isn't a problem until you're toting a big, honkin' metal Coleman cooler full of ice and water bottles. OK, so I didn't actually tote it. I pulled up near the main entrance and my nephew Michael met me at the gate.
During the opening ceremonies, former American Idol Season 7 contestant Luke Menard performed two songs. His family is local to Kankakee and he is also a cancer survivor. Everyone felt blessed to have him present. He played guitar and sang two songs. My mind is completely drawing a blank, but he sang compassionately and beautifully. I was on the track and didn't get an opportunity to snap any photos of him while he performed. A barrage of fans quickly surrounded him when he stepped off the grandstand. Again, I made an attempt to speak with him and get a photo, but there were young kids scrambling ahead of me. Maureen told me he performed a second time when I made a run to K-Mart for sodas and cash at the ATM. Poopy.
What I consider another highlight is the invitation to participate in a Cancer Prevention Study. With cancer being too prevalent in my family tree, I happily signed up. A short personal survey and 4 vials of blood later, I am part of a study to hopefully prevent cancer. I feel pretty damned important!
When Mancub and I paid a visit to the concession stand for fresh fruit, I bought raffle tickets for various goody baskets. With consideration to the numerous walkers on site, I had little hope of winning, but it's raising money for a good cause. Late in the evening the teams began drawing tickets and announcing winners. Several announcements later I had stopped listening. After the Luminaria (to honor those with or who've succumbed to cancer) more winners were named. "Marissa Rapier" came over the loud speaker. Our team started hooting and hollering that I had no idea what it was that I'd won or where I was to go to claim my prize. WOO!! Go me! I won! I won ... a three month membership to Gold's Gym. The certificate was tucked into a basket with a huge, vibrant blue and yellow beach towel. Sweet! I needed one of those while sunning myself by my sister's new above ground pool! Yes, I will be wearing super strength sunscreen.
I have to admit that I'm ridiculously intimidated about walking into a gym. I know it's a place for people to improve upon their personal health, but I'm fat. There are intensely in shape people there. Hopefully they'll take pity on me and not laugh when I nearly collapse after 5 minutes on a treadmill. What would be even better is if they offer a training service so I'm not left floundering as I had at a place the Village People chanted wildly about in the '70s. I digress. I'm truly thrilled to have won something that will benefit me greatly.
I loved spending time with my family and all the other families and friends who all have a personal connection to cancer. It's unfortunate, but it's a fact of life.
I didn't take a ton of photos. But of what I took, I hope it gives you a glimpse into the day. Thanks to those of you who did sun dances to encourage the clouds to skedaddle. It worked!
My little nephew G-man loved being up on the shoulders of his cousins. He was so fond of it that after the boys tired of running around with him perched up high, he asked a boy who was playing catch near our campsite if he'd be a willing set of shoulders. He was hilarious! During the shoulder ride with Michael Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" was playing. G-man was scrunching up his cute mug and mouthing the chorus of the song. He's quite the little comedian.
With aching feet and an over tired body, I once again I thank you all for your support in this endeavor. Never give up the fight. Never let go of your "Hunger for a Cure" because we are making great strides to walk all over cancer and beat it.