Everyone has a reason for why they Relay. It might be for a friend, family member, passion for a cure, someone they have lost, or maybe for themselves.
Cancer has affected so many lives and to come together as a community to support the survivors, caregivers, and fight for a cure, is a very powerful thing!
Last year was the first year I participated in Relay for Life. It was on my heart for a while and I finally took the steps to create a team and I was very lucky to have so many friends support me. If you asked me last year “Why do you Relay,” I would have said that I Relay for Me. I am a Cancer Survivor! I relay for cancer awareness and early detection. I relay for overcoming this deadly disease and not being ashamed. I never felt comfortable discussing my cancer, but now I realize that this “Cancer” has made me into the woman I am today. Why not share my story with others so they can see that Cancer does not define you? It cannot and will not! In August I will be a 5 year survivor; that’s worth celebrating! Participating in the Relay for Life in Plano, Texas was such an uplifting night for me. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I attended the Survivor dinner beforehand and it was my first time opening up to complete strangers about my diagnosis and treatment. I felt an immediate bond with these fellow survivors. We proceeded to the Survivor Walk in our purple shirts and the crowd cheered us on! This experience was unbelievable and it inspired me to volunteer for Relay for Life.
I was invited to the Relay for Life Leadership conference in Kansas City and it was phenomenal. I spent a weekend with such passionate people. At the conference they announced the theme for the 2016 Relay for Life: PAINT YOUR WORLD PURPLE! When I found out about this year’s theme, I was pumped! I felt like it was a sign…
My dad was diagnosed with Cancer in July 2015. Each cancer is distinguished by a color ribbon and my dad’s ribbon is PURPLE. I feel like the “Paint your World Purple” theme is perfect for us. Since my dad’s diagnosis, my family has been purpled out, to say the least. We have purple bracelets, purple ribbons, purple nail polish, purple tennis shoes, and purple shirts. I have even implemented wearing purple eye shadow on treatment days. I guess wearing purple and seeing purple gives me hope. We have been fighting this battle together and it has brought our family closer. This year, if you ask me “Why do you Relay,” I will say that I Relay for my dad. I am excited to experience Relay with my dad and wear our purple shirts together. Oh, and you won’t believe our team name…Purple Hayes!
If you want to get involved with Relay, check out the details at Relay St. Louis!