Why We Relayers, Relay

Under the pseudonym name of Bain Finch, I Relay For Life of Second LifeRelay For Life of InWorldz and in my Relay Life.  This is the speech I delivered at the Kick Off Ceremony of Relay For Life of InWorldz 2013 season for Many Worldz For A Cure, August 24th, 2013.

RFLofIW 2013 kickoff_002

Photo provided by Wildstar Beaumont

There are words that Cancer fighters the world over would love to eliminate, and the first ones that spring to most people’s minds are, “you have cancer.”

When I first got involved in Relay For Life, I felt the same way. But in the 3 plus years I have been Relaying, I now know, there are other words that are far worse. I have said it many times in my “Why I Relay” statements, “you just have to look into the eyes of a cancer survivor, or into the eyes of a parent, whose child is fighting cancer, to know Why I Relay.” The core of that statement is that there are words far worse than “you have cancer,” and that is “your child has cancer.” I cannot imagine being a parent, having those words spoken to me, and how devastating it would be. Which is the root of another “Why I Relay” statement that I make, and that is “I may fly the purple banner of Relay For Life, but my heart weeps for the golden ones.” Gold, being the color of childhood cancers.

But it does not end there. As someone that uses social media to voice our collective hopes and wishes, I read blogs and I read stories. The ones that “completely” move me to tears are the stories of lives lost, to this unbiased beast. As the American Cancer Society celebrates its first 100 years, I find it more poignant than ever, that we do not cease to lose hope. I would also remind you that the Canadian Cancer Society is also celebrating its 75 years of existence, along with Cancer Societies around the globe. And thanks to Dr. Gordon Klatt, who 30 years ago became that one voice, initiated a change with the birth of Relay For Life, things have improved substantially in this global fight. From a sure death sentence not so many days ago, up until today, where 2 out of 3 people that are touched by the terrifying finger of cancer, are now surviving and living from their encounter with this beast.

This is amazing and worth celebrating. And we DO celebrate it with millions of “More Birthdays” every year. But still, there are those other 1 in 3 people, that are being told the worse words ever spoken, that is “there is nothing more we can do.” I know that the words “You have Cancer” or “Your child has cancer” are not the death sentence that it was once was, and we may never get rid of those words from our collective vocabulary, but I know in my heart, and I firmly believe in my soul, that we are so very close to adding these words to the first two quotes “but we can cure it now” and thus eliminating “there is nothing more we can do”, forever.

I would like to believe this is the core of “Why We Relayers, Relay.”

Just as Cancer is a Journey, one that no one wants to imagine taking, a trip down that supposed path of no return, where the outcome is unpredictable and anyone that has not travelled this way cannot predict how it will change them as a person. Many in Relay for Life, be it a Survivor, Caregiver, Fighter or Relayer as myself, Cancer is a life altering event, just as Relay for Life becomes a monumental moment for many, I for one, will never be the same person I was before.



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