Relay: A touching experience

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By Jessica Veatch

Friday night, I once again took part in an event that I have been fortunate enough to participate in for eight years - Relay for Life. I feel lucky to be a part of the Relay for Life, and our school (Glasscock Elementary) tries to have a team each year to support the cause. 

The feeling you get while there is just unbelievable. Teams and families come together to have a time of remembrance or a time of being thankful that their family member or friend is a survivor of cancer. Two of the most special times of the night to me are the survivor recognition with the survivors' lap, and the luminary ceremony.

During the survivors' ceremony, each survivor's name is read aloud and they each come forward to get a medal to wear around their neck. After each name is called, there is a lap around the track in which just the survivors walk, and each team stands in front of their tent to watch, grateful that each and every one of the walkers are making this special lap.

Later in the night, after it gets dark, there is a luminary ceremony held to honor the survivors of cancer and remember those who have lost their battle to this dreaded disease. There is a time of complete silence other than the names being read aloud. Some of the names may be from a battle lost long ago while others are of those who have only recently lost their fight with cancer since the last Relay for Life. If you have never been a part of this ceremony, you are missing a touching experience.

Throughout the night and into Saturday morning, there are many other things to do. There are several raffles, games, food, an auction, and much more. And the best thing is that all the money you spend goes to the American Cancer Society to work for a cure.

I had a great time this year at Relay For Life, even though after the survivors' lap, everyone had to move on to the Marion County High School gym instead of staying at Graham Memorial Park to continue this year's event. You see, Mother Nature decided to pour some rain down on us with some wind that almost blew some of our tents away, but that sure didn't break the spirit of anyone involved.  Once everyone packed up and set up again in the gym, the activities were back in full force and everyone that attended seemed to enjoy themselves.

So whether you just come to Relay for Life for a few minutes or stay all night until the closing ceremonies, this event is a touching experience and one you will never forget. Thanks to all the committee members who work so hard to keep this going, and I hope I can continue to participate in this event for years to come.