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2017 Relay For Life: Drink The Lemonade

By Rebecca Ruehl

    I’ve been involved with Relay for Life since 1998, the year after our daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Through the years, I’ve seen lots of fundraisers. Raffles and bake sales and BBQ’s and silent auctions and shirts and flipflops and letter writing. Some have been successful. Others? Not so much.  When you know how much time is involved, It’s easy to see why there is burnout or at least trepidation going into yet another Relay season.

I always give it up to the people organizing and working a fundraising. It’s stressful, it’s a crapshoot if you’re going to make anything that’s even remotely worth it. You’ve got other things you’d just as soon be doing. Been-there, done-that.

Yet…there are some with the passion: the youth of Washington County. They consistently play a huge part in our yearly fundraising success.  If you’ve ever spent much time with kids, their enthusiasm, excitement and energy become apparent about 1.5 seconds after meeting them. Most have no filters and overshare at every opportunity. They’re easily excitable and it’s so easy to convince them to come on board with your project. An idea that you might find crazy, a kid is going to run with.  And guess what? Most of the time, they put in the work to deliver a pretty fat donation. [Special thank you to the adult leaders who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Rhonda Mueller has tortured herself for years with the 4H teams!]

This morning, two of my little daycare kids came in and I asked about their weekend. They told me that they had a lemonade stand. I started asking them questions about how it went and when I asked what they were doing with the money, they said they were donating it to Relay for Life. I was speechless.  Donating it?

“Miss Becky, we made $33.10! Can you believe that? We’re going to do it again and we’re hoping that we can get to $100, wouldn’t that be great?”

Yes, sweet thing, that would be great.

$100 would buy 4 gas cards for families traveling to chemo.

$100 would pay for ½ of a wig for someone who was going through chemo.

$100 would pay for 2 nights at Hope Lodge in St. Louis – a very valuable resource where families stay while their loved one is in the hospital.

Listening to her tell me the highlights of the afternoon, I have no doubt they’ll make it to $100.

“This one lady, she bought a large and gave us $5. And I told her it was only $1 but she said she wanted to give it to me!!”

“This dude came by and he didn’t buy anything at all. Nothing! He just gave us $5! Cool, right?”

“I don’t think we overpriced it at all and the lemonade was so, so good.[smiling sheepishly] We drank some of it too.”

Jaylen, please, keep drinking the kool-aid because Relay for Life needs you.  And if any of you see a group of sweet girls hawking lemonade anytime in the next few weeks, please, please stop and buy some.

They just might fund the cure for cancer.

Relay for Life 2017 is on Saturday, June 24 at the Okawville Community Club from 4-10pm. Go online to www.relayforlife.org for more information.

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