Relay for Life

It's a remarkable view, really.

You see all these people crowded into a high school track, and most of them are wearing maroon shirts that proudly proclaim them participants in the Relay for Life. Lots of folks are just wearing street clothes, and then there are the occasional cowboys, clowns and cheerleaders.

But those aren't the shirts that draw your eye.

It's the bright blue shirts intermingled with the rest that draw your gaze.

They are cancer survivors.

They are called onto the track one by one - by name, and by number of years of survival.

They range from 42 years to 2 weeks of being cancer free.

They are an amazing, diverse, smiling group - strangers all, but with a common tie.

They are survivors.

The music swells and the Relay begins with this group of proud blue shirts, all walking together, circling the track and helping each other along.

Among them is my mother.

I can pick her out of the crowd easily - not only because of the gait I've always known or the familiar shirt she wears, but because of the jaunty chapeau and wide smile she wears.

She finished chemotherapy three weeks ago.

She starts radiation next week.

This is her second bout with breast cancer in six years.

She walked around a track without aid.

She never stopped smiling.

And I never stopped crying.

All the work, all the sweat, all the long days and nights, all the begging for money, all the hassling of coworkers, all the begging, all the creating, all the cursing and all the toil is made worth it for this one moment, this one circuit of the track.

This one smile.

And all these tears.

I've never been more proud to be your daughter.

Postscript: As of 10pm on Saturday night, my town of 7500 souls had raised over $92,000 for cancer research and recovery. I'm proud to have been a part of the executive committee for two years, and to have been invited back again for a third.


Denise said...

Your entry brought tears to my eyes. I'm so proud of your mum!! Love ya, babe! *muah*

Anonymous said...

i'm proud of you and your mum and she should be proud to have raised her daughter into such a wonderful, beautiful young woman. love you. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

That was lovely Marissa, how wonderful to have a family as great as you all are. love you Auntie Pam and Nick and all the rest :)