It’s hard not to love the spring. The weather warms up. You can drive with the car window rolled down which, by the way, promotes a proliferation of loud, bad singing.
When spring rolls around, people like to come out of their houses and do things. If, like me, you like to walk every day, there’s a much higher chance of running into your neighbors and chatting for a few minutes when you get outside the four walls of your house. It’s a time to catch up on their lives, how their children are doing and on and on.
Other stuff happens too, when the weather gets nice. Communities start having events like concerts in the park or Easter egg hunts. Or, my personal favorite, Relay for Life events.
Garner’s event took place last weekend and the folks there raised more than $140,000 for cancer research. In eastern Wake County, there’s a Relay for Life event planned for next weekend, May 8 and 9.
If you’ve never attended a Relay for Life, let me be the first to encourage you to do so. If you’ve never participated on a team, let me encourage you to do that next year. There are great reasons to do either.
It’s not a far stretch to say that watching a Survivor Lap at the beginning of a Relay event will send chills down your spine. Most of us don’t have near-death experiences. But anyone who’s ever been diagnosed with cancer will tell you their mortality rises to the top of their mind right away and it stays there. That’s a scary thought even for those of us who have never faced it.
That’s what makes the Survivor Lap so impressive. The track fills with people who have faced that end-of-life possibility and they stared it down. How awesome must it feel to be among that group? That part of the Relay alone makes it worth attending. And that’s only the beginning of a fun-filled night.
If you’ve never participated on a team, there are plenty of good reasons to do that too. Several years ago, I participated on a couple of teams as part of the Northern Wake Relay for Life. The newspaper I worked for at the time sponsored a team and I signed up to walk the track for an hour to keep our team in compliance with the rules. My Rotary club also sponsored a team, so I decided I would walk an hour for that team as well. In fact, our whole family participated. We decided to walk early in the morning. Our first shift was at 4 a.m. and we immediately walked for the other team beginning at 5 a.m. By the time 6 a.m. rolled around and it was time for my replacement to take over, I could barely feel my thighs. I had never given consideration to the idea that walking that much would give me a problem. But let me tell you...
Despite the physical discomfort, I knew, from watching my mother’s battle with cancer, that the pain I was feeling paled in comparison to what she had gone through. And any pain I suffered also dimmed because so much time on the track with friends and other acquaintances proved to be time well spent. We had fun. We talked. We laughed. We played a game of poker with one of the event volunteers dealing a new card each time we completed another lap. And, I knew, with each new lap I completed, that someone was going to benefit. You can experience that feeling too. Just sign up for a team next year. You’ll be glad you did.