I've never done a Relay for Life before, so honestly, I didn't know what to expect.
But what it turned out to be was a gathering of many organizations/teams, a WHOLE LOT of exercise, music, a WHOLE LOT of laughing, crying, remembering, and HOPE.
And something I want to do every single year now.
I was there with Alpha Phi Omega and our theme (the themes had to be a movie theme) was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Our tent was pretty popular, if I don't say so myself - we sold meatball subs for $2, chocolate chip cookies and beaded lap necklaces (super good idea!).
There were bras in the trees for breast cancer...(which Kim swore were hers!)
Zippy Love all around:
But, of course, the part that got me was the Survivor lap/ceremony, and the Luminaria Ceremony.
You know, life is hard on all of us and no one situation is any worse than the other.
But yet, we complain and are sad, in a bad mood, are angry, etc, etc, etc...
We put our lives and problems on a pedestal to everyone else and their problems.
And while those tough emotions need to be felt, I am learning, and felt at Relay, that it's always not all about 'you'.
These survivors and caregivers were so happy at Relay. They were laughing and smiling and blessed.
If I didn't know any better, it was like they didn't have a worry in the world. But yet...they have cancer...they had cancer...they cared for their loved one who fought from hell and back because of cancer...or maybe they had to say goodbye to someone because of cancer.
I wish I said hi to my Grandma more in heaven, who passed away from lung cancer.
I get upset with myself because I wish it didn't have to sometimes take big, gut-wrenching events to make me wake up.
But today is a new day and your wishes can always be turned into actual parts of your life.
And my APO family...they help.
Relay was a blast.
(Kim, Shelbi and me)
(Amber and Kim)
AHH!! (My Big, Shelbi and her boyfriend, Joe!!!)
Kim and the Prez of APO, Sarah!
Dylan and Kim
And how could I forget about Mr. and Mrs. Relay?
Where men dress as women and women dress as men, strut their stuff, and see who can raise the most money.
Below are two MEN:
Below is a man and then a woman:
Below are two women:
Cassie, representing APO!
Lastly, the weather took a turn for the worse around 2 in the morning.
It got cold, windy and RAINY...
But we stuck it out...until they came over to our tent at 4:15 in the morning (because we literally were one of the only stands still out) and said they were calling Relay...
I was super sad. I really wanted to make it all the way to 10 in the morning for my first Relay.
But, before we had to vacate and pack up and say good bye to Relay, and before I had to drive home at 4:30 in the morning...such amazing, unexpected things happened.
Randomly, the founder of APO at Akron showed up...at like 2:30 in the morning! And then we all sang the toast song together - IT WAS EPIC.
With only 4 of us APO lone rangers left, we played 20 questions, met the founder, ate meatball subs and laughed ridiculously hard. At 3:15 in the morning, Kim and I tried to get back to our 100 lap goal, trying to finish our 10th mile. Who would have thought dancing around a track, singing and laughing while it is cold and super rainy out would be so much fun? Sadly, because of the weather, we only did 9.5 miles. Once the wind and rain picked up pretty bad, we huddled our chairs together under our tent. I swore I was going to get sick from that night. But, wouldn't you know it, at 3:45/4:00 in the morning people were still walking around the track in such awful weather. We cheered them on!
And we raised, solely as a chapter, over $1000 for relay. Can't even imagine how much collectively everyone at Akron's Relay raised. AMAZING.