We had a Relay For Life committee meeting in Lockport today, to talk about the recent event and make suggestions for the next one. We took up a couple of tables at Panera Bread in Lockport (my first time there and it was amazing!!) and as usual, erupted into conversation and laughter and hugs. After we had been there quite some time, I was approached by a gentleman who said “I saw you on TV and I really want to get involved in Relay for Life.” He had seen a pre-taped interview I did about the Relay; it’s history and what it means to those of us who keep up the fight. While it was flattering to now it inspired him a little, I was so happy he got to meet the absolutely dynamic team that put this event together. He and his children came to get something to eat and made a bunch of new friends.
At some point, Joe shared with us the story of how he lost his wife to cancer after 24 years together. The pain, the anger, the anguish of watching a loved one slip away is something no-one else can feel, but we can try to understand. He’s part of our family now, the Relay family. We’ll help him keep the memory of his wife alive by carrying on the fight in her honor. His sister-in-law walked in this year’s Relay at Lockport and Joe knew something about it but not everything. A quick cable interview caught his attention and gave him the courage to approach the boisterous bunch talking Relay at Panera’s. His family is now ours. That’s the way it is with our Relay For Life. We laugh together, we cry together, and we get plenty mad at the unfairness of the cancer monster…but together we stand strong. Heartfelt hugs flow freely in this family of ours and that’s the way we like it! Our new friend has a gift to share and we will be richer for it.
It’s funny how angels guides our course and put us in the right place at the right time. It was nice for the hardworking committee to see the Relay spark take hold in someone touched by our collective efforts. Today was my birthday, and much as I would rather have ignored it, it was full of little surprises from loving friends. The best thing, though, was meeting this new family to add to ours. Every new person can make a huge difference. Just ask Margaret Mead…
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”