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Relay For Life 2018

By Rebecca Ruehl

A few years ago, I went to an out-of-state meeting whose goal was to share fundraising ideas with others from the 50 states.
I didn’t really know what to expect, just that I was fired up about Relay for Life and excited to see what others were doing.
The keynote speaker was sort of like a motivational speaker. She covered most of the bases; the only thing standing in your way is YOU, be the change you want to see, overcome adversity, etc. etc. etc.
We then broke out into smaller groups where we could get down to the business of sharing what worked for us, and more importantly, what didn’t work (and if you’ve ever held a fundraiser for any charity, don’t you know it would have been helpful to know the ‘what didn’t work?’ aspect of fundraising before starting?!
Most everyone here knows I relay to honor our pediatric cancer survivor daughter. She had a rough go but came out cancer-free. I was so naive – and so hopped up on growing our team – I didn’t once stop to consider others might Relay for the kids they lost.
Oh boy.
A man stepped up to the microphone and spoke about his team. His team raised over $25k each year.
Wow, he had my attention.
They had a huge BBQ, they held an even bigger golf tournament and then the entire team sent letters to family and friends asking for donations (the single biggest fundraiser a team can do).
He then wrapped up his story by saying that he Relayed for 5 reasons:
For those who are survivors
Those who have died
Those who are currently fighting
Those who will be diagnosed in the future, and,
Those who will never be diagnosed because the research we fund will find the cure.
He then finished with “my son, who will forever be 5, would love the last reason.”
‘Will forever be 5.’
I was gutted. His 5 year old died while mine lived. The rest of the weekend is now a blur – but not that man. And not that man’s story.
He could have easily never started helping the American Cancer Society.
He could have gone back to his life like before cancer and just tried to live. But he wanted to help.
He was given lemons and made lemonade. He was able to turn his heartache into action so that no one would have to suffer like his son did.
I always say that we Relay in honor of Emilie but what we really do is Relay because we don’t want another family to ever hear “your daughter has cancer.” Please, do not wait for the other shoe to drop before you join a charity.
Do it now.
Do it tomorrow.
But just do it before anyone else has to hear “you have cancer.”.
There is still time to form a team of co-workers, friends or family.
There is still time to fundraise (email and texting make it really easy to drum up support).
You could always call me and I can find you a team to join.
Be the change you want to see.

Relay for Life is Friday, May 11 at Okawville Park starting at 5 pm

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