Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We party in the face of seriousness. Damn cancer.

It started out so beautiful. Our tent area at Relay for Life was all decorated with pretty pink stuff and flower baskets. It was all welcoming and homey.

We were definitely in the minority having a team that was there to party in the name of cancer. Most took seriously their role of raising funds and awareness of the dreadful decease that has touched virtually every person in the country in one way or another.

But cancer has caused enough death and destruction and sadness. Damn cancer. We were there to celebrate life. Oh, we did our part in raising money too, but celebrate we did. We had costumes and paraphernalia and megaphone-enhanced cheerleading. While it was marginally embarrassing to be the one on the track as you passed the Pink Panter tent, it was also encouraging.

I could be wrong, but it sure appeared that large clusters of people would walk along at the same speed as the Pink Panters, just hoping to feel a part of the celebrations as they passed the Panter's tent. I know most people secretly wished they had the same unabashed zest for life and fundraising as our team. Go Pinnnnnk Paaaaaanters!

We even took to cheering on people from other teams if we happened to know their names. And you could see it in their faces as they rounded the corner towards our tent - the anticipation of being cheered and hollered to. You could sense the disappointment within, the times they were able to slip past without being noticed.

I celebrated with the team until 1:30am at which time I went home for a brief soak in the hot tub, a little nip of red wine and a couple hours of shut-eye. I had to work at noon Sunday.

I arrived back at the site at 6am Sunday. Oh my goodness. It was like waking up in the morning when you are camping and everyone had gone to bed drunk the night before. There was one lone participant huddled in a sleeping bag hunched over our small campfire making a feeble effort to cheer on the 2 members on the track walking in the morning sunshine.

My camera was laying dead on the table so I was unable to get pictures of the site. (Hopefully Barbee got some.) There were water bottles and pop cans spread far and wide, and half eaten bags of chips and bowls of dip all soggy with morning dew. There were papers and discarded clothing everywhere. There were children's crafts and free samples of sunscreen everywhere. And Tim cups - many many Tim cups.

It was definitely a different scene than the other tents which were clean and bare, save for a circle of 4 or 5 empty lawn chairs. A simple glance would tell you where the fun had been. And in our exhaustion we cleaned up our area at the end of the relay at 10 o'clock, unable to even consider participating next year. But we will. And you can too. Bring your noise makers and leave your pride in the parking lot.


It started out so lovely and serene:

The fun begins before the opening ceremonies:

Great participation. There were about 2000 participants and Prince George raised over $400,000. The tent city was 3 rows deep.

Even after partial boob removal, my yellow survivors t-shirt was a little snug. I donned it only long enough for the survivor's victory lap and our assembled group photo, before I put on a nice baggy standard t-shirt that everyone else was wearing.

That's me in the last sitting down row on the end at the right. If you click on this picture to make it larger, you can see my pants that have the word "Pink" written all over them, as well as my pink feathery tiara. (Most other survivors were a little more reserved than I)

Yes, we are a special group.

Xander was too little for the Relay t-shirts so he played the role of cool boy with a cancer society do-rag.

Shaelena garnered attention with her "Find a cure before I grow boobs" t-shirt. (And she walked an incredible number of laps for a wee girl of 2 years.)

Jed raised lots of money being the target in the dunk tank. (I'm sure everyone thought they were dunking someone from the fire department .. but hey, we took their money anyway.)

Connie looked fantastic in her handcrafted hat. There were lots of activities for children on site.

These pictures don't clearly exhibit just how red and sunburned I was. I was like a lobster and no one else burned at all. I did a little research online and discovered that taking tamoxifen takes the estrogen out of your skin and makes it far more sensitive to the sun. Oooops. I think I probably knew this way back in October, but I forgot over the course of our exceptionally long winter this year. I guess I'll have to be more careful.

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