Inspiring. Emotional. Courageous. Moving. Determination. Motivating. Exhausting. All of this was Relay for Life for me.
When Dani was diagnosed almost two months ago everyone dealt with the news differently. Some were the epitome of strength. Others quiet while they processed. Some jumped right in and naturally knew their role while others took a bit longer to figure out their place in this crazy journey.
We all shared one thing though: support for our dear friend.
When the idea of uniting together was presented, we all jumped on board. Relay for Life united us.
From start to finish the evening was moving. As a group we decorated our plot. Even though this was a “dry” event, we had a Beach Hut theme.
Our super awesome team
Flag at our headquarters
Just a little adjustment required
Before the relay started, there was an incredibly emotional opening ceremonies that includes a “Survivors Lap.” No matter your age, how long you’ve been in remission or have been fighting this awful disease, Survivors open the celebration that signifies we are taking steps in the right direction to find a cure.
But it’s not just about the Survivors. This part of the evening also recognizes their rocks – someone who has stood by them through their journey. It is usually a spouse, partner, sibling, caregiver. It doesn’t matter who it is – it’s symbolic of the people who share their journey with them.
Danielle Morin from the Ottawa Senators with her husband Don.
A beautiful soul. RIP my friend.
Once the Survivors have made their way around the loop, all teams then took to the track to walk in solidarity. This year Dani didn’t feel it was yet her time to walk as a survivor. It was only 3 weeks ago that she had her double mastectomy and the day of the Relay she had her “pic” line put in. But she did somehow find the strength and courage to join us for the team walk.
Me & my bestie
Dani & her bro Sammy
GarBear (Dani’s youngest)
Dani stuck around as long as she could but it had obviously been a long day. As this was a 24 hour event, the organizers did an amazing job at keeping people motivated. When you arrived at the event (or prior) you had the opportunity to purchase luminaries. It wasn’t until they were lit did I understand the magic and power behind them.
Somewhere around midnight (maybe earlier) the Luminary Ceremony was held. It was a way to honour cancer survivors or those who have either lost their battle with cancer. I was overcome with emotion at this event. Picture thousands of luminaries all lit and the only noise to be heard is the odd sob. It’s really quite amazing.
Luminaria for my bestie
Luminaria in honour of my grandma
The evening was one filled with love and support. Everyone on our team made it through the night. We chatted. Reflected. Offered words of encouragement. But most importantly, honoured our friend’s journey.