One thing I love about working for ACE is how involved our associates are in the community. Last month a group of my coworkers invited me to join them at Relay for Life. Although I hadn’t heard of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, the passion of the individuals who participate in it made me want to know more, so I sat out to experience the fundraiser first hand.
Before driving 30 minutes to the event site, I searched the internet for more information on the Relay because I wanted to know what to expect. The following encompasses what I learned from reading online. The American Cancer Society considers the Relay for Life a community event where thousands of people assemble to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer and to fight back against cancer. Secondly, the Relay is not a pledge-style fundraiser where participants earn money based on each lap. Instead, relay teams consist of at least 10 members, a team captain and pre-set goals of $100-200 by each team member. Most of the money comes from private individuals and is collected before the event begins.
With my new-found education, I hit the road looking forward to witnessing a great occasion for a very worthy cause. When arriving, I was met by an enormous gathering at the park in Colleyville, Texas – where scores of kids played and a multitude of colorful tents aligned the outer edges of a cement walking track. There were jugglers, a live band, and lots of balloons, signs and excitement to spare.
The 12-hour affair began with the opening ceremony where cancer survivors and their guests of honor lead the first lap. The candlelight ceremony started just as the sun disappeared over the horizon. White candle bags with names of fallen friends and family members illuminated the walk way track. The closing ceremony presented an awesome opportunity to remember the fun and friendships forged during the celebration.
Two of my fellow associates at ACE Cash Express shared what participating in the Relay for Life meant to them. “Relay for life is just that, it’s about life and I want to live!” Tammye insisted wholeheartedly. “When we come together for these events, it’s not about me it’s about all of us. We are a family and it’s about Hope.” Tammye also commented how the Relay lets her celebrate and bond with others who have had or are still battling Cancer of some kind. “Without the support of family and friends and all my caregivers I would not be here. It’s wonderful to see people smile and laugh together even when they are going through a storm. I am blessed that the Lord has allowed me to be a witness to one of his many Miracles… The American Cancer Society helped save my life… so my prayer is the money I help to raise will one day help find a cure to end Cancer everywhere.”
Sophia chimed in with heart-felt sentiment as well. “For me the Relay for Life was an experience, it always is. My mom has breast cancer and for her to be there and cherish all the moments of being able to wear that purple shirt and being a survivor every day in her condition means the world to me. Connecting with different people and being able to communicate with them, hugging them, walking and making a new friend is special. I will continue to walk for my mom and all others that have to bear the pain of all cancers. I will walk until they find a cure. Why not? I can’t take my mom’s place but I can walk for her and all others as well.”
If you would like to learn more about Relay for Life or make a donation to fight cancer, please visit: www.relayforlife.org/learn/index.