Friday night about 11pm my daughter Brin and I drove to our local Relay for Life being held on the football field of a nearby highschool. We joined our fellow gym members to support Team CrossFit by carrying the CrossFit Log nonstop for the twelve hours of the relay. We stayed until 3am Saturday morning and still only carried the log twice! CrossFit had bright gold t-shirts with their logo on the front in purple and Relay for Life info on the back—anyone who carried the log (in two people teams) for two laps received a free tee! Pure genius—there was a waiting line most of the morning to carry the log.
The quarter mile track was lined with luminaries that glowed softly along the periphery; flickering sentinels—a quiet reminder of why we were there. The white bags were dedicated to cancer survivors, in support of loved ones receiving cancer treatment, and in memory of those taken too soon by this disease. Many bags were decorated or had a message and so I walked and read the bags, whispering their names under my breath and sending them with a prayer to the Universe.
My dad died in 2000 at the too young age of seventy-five from skin cancer that had spread to his throat and then bones and finally his liver. My dear friend and client Sharon has an amazing daughter who is only in her early twenties and is being treated for Leukemia at Dana-Faber in Boston. Their journey and approach to this disease have been extraordinarily inspiring and reminds me of this story about Mother Teresa:
Mother Teresa was once asked if she would join in a protest march against war. She said “no, I will not march in a protest against war, but when you organize a march for peace, please let me know, I’ll be the first to sign up.”
It may seem an insignificant shift but what you are against weakens you. What you are for strengthens you. Instead of fighting against cancer I am FOR a cure.
The booth for luminaries had been closed for hours but I asked anyway and a lovely volunteer (who I Crossfit with!) dug out the materials for me to make two bags in memory and in honor. May the glow of a thousand candles be the catalyst for a brilliant tomorrow one that boldly brings a cure for cancer.