This year I got the great opportunity to be a member of the Relay for Life Lead team through the Leadership Institute. In the past I have never had the opporutunity to serve those with cancer. I know people either directly or indirectly who are or have suffered from this disease. As a member of the Lead team we fundraised for the American Cancer Society throughout the year in a hope to find a cure. Asking family members and friends for donations, I loved having a hand in supporting the cause.
At times I didn’t feel like I was making that much of a change, but I’ve learned that you can’t change the world overnight. CMU’s relay for life event was in April so our planning was over a long duration of time but in the end I know our efforts paid off. Another aspect of this experience I throughly enjoyed was getting to know older LAS students and forming relationships with them.
I was very excited for the campus wide Relay for Life event. I’ve heard about it in the past but never attended one. At the event the Leadership Institute had an on-site fundraiser selling pop, an online game, and knocking down bottles. It amazed me how many people participated in the day full of high energy including teams, students, families, and survivors. Participants walked around the track all day to celebrate life. A slam poet visited, and I managed to embarrass myself with a little throwback from high school musical lip-syncing with my friend Kerisa. As awful as it was during our performance, I’m glad I took a risk and had some extra fun at Relay!
Near the end of the day there was the luminary ceremony. This included a speaker, then participants shared who they relayed for. Next all of us went outside in silence and remembered those who were lost to the fight of cancer. Luminaries lined the track as did the people of CMU. I’ll admit I did get a bit emotional because every bag represents a life, and seeing so many people some to celebrate, remember, and fight back is very touching. All day I kept thinking about my ex-boyfriends mother, Jodie who defeated breast cancer. I didn’t know them during the fight but I can only imagine how traumatic that experience would be.
After my experience at my first relay, I’ve learned how important it is to share with those important to you how much you love them. You never truly know how much time you have left with someone. I also loved supporting to find a cure for cancer. I think I’ll be more likely to step out of my comfort zone and volunteer for new organizations because this turned out to be such an amazing experience!