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Relay For Life Is Here This Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m., Nashville Primary School

By Rebecca Ruehl

Relay for Life 2015 is here! It’s THIS weekend, Saturday, April 25 at Nashville Primary beginning at 4 pm (and ending at 10pm – yes, you read that right! We are no longer an overnight event.) If you are a survivor, if you are a caregiver, if you hate cancer, if you lost a friend – this is for YOU.

What do you do at Relay for Life? You CELEBRATE, REMEMBER AND FIGHT BACK against cancer. We’re all affected by cancer – and this is THE place to gather together as a community and celebrate survivors, remember those we’ve lost and work together to fight back against a disease that has taken so much from so many. We pack the (mock) track and walk walk walk to end cancer. We watch a little entertainment, we eat a little (or a lot) of food and we remember those who’ve fought the good fight.

I looked over last year’s luminaria list that is read during the Luminaria Ceremony. For those that have never been, the Luminaria Ceremony is the time to remember those who are survivors and those who have been lost to cancer. The names are read and a candle is lit in each bag. The sheer amount of paper bags that represent a life affected by cancer is a visual that is just so overwhelming. A silent lap is taken while quiet music is played. Last year, over 400 names were read during the Luminaria Ceremony. And that is just in this community. In a farming region with a county population of just over 15k, that is a very sobering statistic. 400 individuals, 800 moms and dads, 1600 grandmas and grandpas, countless cousins and friends. It’s easy to see how cancer affects just about everyone.

My child had cancer. I worked for a man who had cancer. My husband’s aunt had cancer. My husband’s grandpa had cancer. My friend’s sister had cancer. My husband’s co-workers have had cancer. I see a lady at church every Sunday who has cancer.

I hate cancer. So… I’ll be at Relay. I already gave my money so I could just skip it. And a lot of people do but for me, I’m going. To celebrate Emilie. And to encourage those who are new to this cancer rodeo. Maybe I’ll talk to someone who will inspire me. Or maybe I’ll eat the best Italian beef I’ve ever tasted (and this, my friends, is quite possible). But, one thing is sure: cancer is not going to catch me sitting down.

Please, join me and hundreds of other Washington County friends who are going to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back. See you – and your tennis shoes! – there!

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