May 13, 2016. Friday the 13th. It’s going to be one of my favorite days.
Yes you heard me right. Why? Because it’s my purple day.
No, purple day is not remembering Prince (even though we did talk about doing that at work). Purple day is what I call the Relay for Life Event that I participate in every year. I’ll wear my purple shirt to work and then will go walk in the survivor lap.
What is Relay for Life? I’m so glad you asked!! (I know you did I heard you.)
Relay for Life is an event that is held in communities in over 20 countries. While there are wonderful organizations that help with specific cancers (like Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer), The American Cancer Society helps all cancers and Relay for Life is one of their big fundraising events.
What’s so awesome about Relay for Life is that it honors those who have lost their fight with cancer and celebrates those that are survivors and supports those who are still fighting. If you’ve never been to an event, take time to go. It doesn’t matter if you do not know someone fighting cancer or have not lost a loved once to cancer. After the opening ceremony, survivors are called out individually to receive a medal and line up for the survivor walk. This part of the event is always emotional because when you see the ones receiving their medals you get the picture that cancer does not care how old you are, what race you are, what gender you are, what size you are. Cancer does not discriminate.
If you think that cancer would not dare to strike one of your kids, let me introduce you to the five year old whose dad carries him to the stage to get his medal. This is his second year. Or if you say you have no history of cancer in your family so you don’t have to worry, let me introduce you to the mother who is a five year survivor and her daughter who is currently going through cancer treatments. They had no history of cancer in their families either. Maybe you think because you are a young woman in the prime of her life thinking of having another child that you don’t have to worry about cancer. Let me introduce you to the woman who was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer who has two young children. Because of the gene she carries, she also had to have a hysterectomy so she will not be having any more kids. For every excuse you have of why you think you don’t have to worry about cancer, I can introduce you to someone who use to think the same as you.
Honestly, if you sit there and say that you don’t know of anyone in your family or your circle of friends that have fought cancer or who had family members that fought or died from cancer, then you my friend are in the minority. My mother is a 20+ year survivor, my grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer, I had chemo treatments with the woman that lived across the street from me who later lost her life to breast cancer, my first doo rags were given to me by a woman at church who had been diagnosed the year before me, the friends who shaved my head after my hair starting falling out all had family members that had fought cancer or passed away from cancer, co workers I work with now have had family members or loved ones that have fought cancer or lost their fight with cancer. I could go on. The American Cancer Society says that in 2016, there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases diagnosed and 595,690 cancer deaths in the US.
That’s way too many. One is too many.
So if you hear of a Relay for Life event, fundraiser, or walk then think about taking part. Every little bit helps.
And if you see someone wearing a Relay for Life survivor shirt, give them a hug and a pat on the back. They deserve it.