I am a Relayer.
Do you participate in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life? Most Relay events happen at a high school track where people camp out and take turns walking or running around a track. Luminaries line the track in memory and honor of those who have fought this disease. A unique experience that I have been a part of here in Vermont is the Nordic Relay in Stowe. Imagine a 10 degree snow covered environment and outdoor enthusiasts who love to be outside — in the cold and the snow — to get together with their community and celebrate hope. This event is like none other in the world in my estimation and I love that I am able to be a part of it each year that I have made the trek north.
I remember back early in my career with the American Cancer Society when the Nordic Relay at Stowe began more than 10 years ago. It was held in the field across the street from the Nordic Center and there was a big white tent in the cold winter landscape of Stowe, Vermont. The beauty of the mountains and the valleys could be seen from that area of the resort and it was so warm and welcoming despite the bitter cold temps. I remember the Hope Ice Sculpture and the people huddling in the tent to stay warm. I visited late at night and took a few photos of the event for nostalgia. My friend Cathy was there wishing I had taken more photos – but so glad I experienced it first hand.
The next Stowe event I visited was in 2006 – my friend Nichole and Howard were there and I listened to the speakers, the major and the congressman in the area were all there and the returning teams came out and my photos were just phenomenal in capturing the event! Being a winter sports kind of girl this event really touched my heart and knowing the Vermont community strength really shows so much heart and passion to the fight against cancer. Every year the leader of the event “Jane”, the committee and her friends are there organizing everything and making everyone feel welcome and inspired.
In 2007, the year I met my husband Steve – we went to the event and Reuel Johnson, who was the National Vice President for Relay came to speak to the crowd. It was great to have him there and experience the beauty, the community and the spirit of Relay in Stowe. This event draws me back every year and I love to see the cross country skiers, snow shoes and hikers out there on the snowy ground, setting up Winter camping and those of us who head back to the hotel to stay warm until morning. 🙂
In 2012 after my diagnosis and treatment for lymphoma, I was asked to come to the event and be the survivor speaker. I was so honored to tell my story and share hope with all the attendees. My sharing went well and I met some amazing fellow survivors as we walked the snow packed “track” with our caregivers. I raised money that year and joined the Monkton Girls Gone Wild team with a fellow colleague Hillary who captains this fun and crazy team. 🙂
This year I am going back – as a participant, as a photographer and as a survivor with my family – my caregiver and anyone else that will join me. It truly means so much to me to be involved and doing as much as I can to fight this terrible disease that affects so many of us in so many ways. Please join me, join my team or donate to my efforts if you can and listen to my story of hope. Relay For Life brings hope to so many. If you know of any survivors in the area – please encourage them to come to the survivor lap with their caregiver(s). I urge you to find a Relay For Life in your area — please put together a team or join a team in your community – it is a great way to meet people, see your friends and others in the community that care about the cancer fight and want to make a difference.
If you participate in Relay For Life – please share your location and how you are involved and thank you for “being loud” and let’s Finish The Fight!