Monday, May 01, 2006

Relay For Life

WOW!!! & WHEW!!! I am excited but so glad it's over. I am pooped! It was wonderful!!! I have to tell you we have a wonderful committee and Victoria is always great too! This year our team worked so very hard and it paid off. Thanks for a great job team!!!

Before I get into this I have to tell ya'll that I could not do this without my awesome husband. I was thanking him again today and he said I didn't do anything. He really does. This is truly a huge part of my heart and he knows it. He takes care of the girls for me to go to meetings and to stay all night at Relay. I honestly could not do it without him. It's truly a team effort. I also have to thank my sister for staying with Mary Elizabeth so Mike and I could both be there for the opening ceremonies.

Thursday night we stuffed survivor bags and wrapped blocks and filled luminary bags. Well I picked up boxes through out the night that I shouldn't have. That along with the fact that Grace and I went to the fair to celebrate really got my back.

Friday started early with going over and setting up. Well dropping boxes off that Mike had to unload. I was in serious pain. Our campsite was set up by Brooke, Stewart & Amber. Brooke & Stewart took the day off to get all that done. While they were setting up Cafe' Michala, Keith and them were setting up the BBQ. All these men took off the afternoon to get all this done. I am telling ya'll now we have some amazing team members. Thanks ya'll for giving up so much to make this work!!!

When I got there at 4:00 Cafe' Michala took my breath away. It was wonderful! I just knew we would win best campsite. I stayed busy until time for me to go up and speak. I didn't want to think about it too much and get nervous.

Here is my speech for Honorary Chair in case any of you would like to read it.

First I just want to say what an honor this is. I want to thank this amazing committee that has put together such an awesome Relay. Each of you mean so much to me and I am so thankful to have you in my life.

I want to say thank you to each and every caregiver here tonight. I know being a caregiver isn’t always easy. I want to thank you for each thing you given up to put your life on hold to be a support. I want to thank you for each time you took that cancer patient to clinic for treatment, for holding their hand while they were receiving treatment, for encouraging them to continue to fight, for fighting their battle for them when they no longer could.

I have seen some dear friends of mine sit by their mother’s bed trying to make her as comfortable as possible as she fought hard through those last days. I have seen spouses walk out because they just couldn’t handle it any more. I have seen a mother rush into the restroom at the clinic so her child couldn’t see her tears only to return to that same child with a look of promise that together we can beat this. I have heard a loving daddy’s prayers as he begged God to save his daughter’s life.

Recently I heard a family share about how cancer had changed their lives. The lost family and friends. When asked why that was they said our family and friends weren’t prepared for the marathon. Thank you for running this marathon and even sometimes carrying that survivor in your arms as you go. Thanks for not walking out when it got tough.

This is a horrible disease. More and more it’s touching people we know, people we love. It’s my prayer that each time you as a caregiver look at that cancer survivor in your life whether it’s a co-worker, friend, grandparent, a parent, husband, wife or child that you will see your reflection in their eyes. You will see what a difference you have made. Without you the journey would be hard, lonely and so hard to face. Thank you for giving hope when hope didn’t seem to be around.

I also want to thank each of you that are here tonight to help us raise money for this cause. Please go around and see each campsite and she what everyone has to offer. There’s some great stuff and delicious food. As you walk around stop and pat a caregiver on the back, give them a hug, and tell them thanks. You never know when a minute of your time will make all the difference in the world to them and give them hope and courage to carry on the fight and keep running the marathon.

I was able to get through it without crying. That was something I really wanted to accomplish. Not because I think it's bad to cry or anything because I do that all the time but because I wanted to speak well and everyone be able to understand me.

After that our little survivor took her survivor lap with her daddy, then I was able to join them on the caregiver lap. I know that many of ya'll were upset about survivors not saying their names and how long they have been a survivor. We will be sure to discuss that for next year. I know that the team lap didn't go well and took up way to much time. Remember this was the first year at Sharp and there are a few kinks to work out.

Chip and Tamela stayed busy all night in the cafe'. We greatly appreciate all that ya'll did. We will be sure next year we have someone that can help ya'll with frappuncinos and cappucinos. Thanks again!

Well Miss Relay! What can I say. Sheetarius got her title back. We are so proud. She won with over $3,000. You go girl! Thanks so much for making us all laugh!

Brooke, Ross, Abbey & Bryan stayed all night with me. We had lots of fun! I think that we have more talked into staying next year with us. By about 5 I had taken all I could and had to take a pain pill. I couldn't understand why no one was listening to me when I talked. Brooke was looking right at me and wasn't answering me. Finally I realized that the pain med was making me talk funny and they couldn't understand me.

It was time to start cleaning up and for closing ceremonies. Brooke, Ross, Abbey & Bryan were stuck with taking down the cafe' all by themselves. I could barely move without crying. I felt awful that I couldn't help them. Really Brooke I did!!! LOL!!!

OK now for our big news. I hope that everyone got this far so they can find out what happened. As I walked past Paul - our accounting guy. He said better luck next time. My heart dropped. The way I had it figured I really thought we had Top Family & Friends team. Well maybe not but surely we won something. I said well maybe best campsite. Victoria started with the awards and she got to best campsite. We didn't win. Then she did the online awards. We won top online team - meaning we were the team with the most online donations. Top online individual fundraiser was Grace Dalton with $2,071 WOOHOO!!! She did awesome!!! Then she got to Top Family & Friends team. That went to Ms. Jackie. Ms. Jackie always wins Top Overall. So who won that. I was trying so hard to remember what Victoria said Ms. Jackie's total was. I couldn't remember. My mind was reeling. Not reaction from Victoria, Paul or any other committee members to give me a hint that we won. She said Top Dollar Team Overall goes to Miles For Michala. I was stuck in the chair and Keith had to get me up. I was totally amazed!!! I am so proud of our team. I cannot tell you how much! They worked so hard to make this happen. Our goal was $12,250. That was set by Mike because he accepted a challenge at the first of the year. I just knew we wouldn't reach it. WOW!

Closing ceremonies is one of the special times of Relay for me. I love to hear the grand total our county raised. Brooke, Ross, Abbey & Bryan are always still there with me and usually Hunter too. This year Keith was there and that made it even more special.

Our goal for this year was $195,000. We raised $230,000. I am still shocked and amazed! AWESOME!!! Way to go everybody. Ya'll did a wonderful job!!!

Thanks to all of ya'll for everything!!! If anyone has a picture of me speaking I would love to have that for my scrapbook if you don't mind. Thanks so much!!!