I’ve been talking about it for months, and now it’s come and gone. Relay for Life was this past weekend. Even if you weren’t part of it, I promise this post won’t be a complete bore. We had an almost entirely fabulous time, and you are about to feel like you were right there the whole 24 hours.
Saturday morning started with a downpour and it looked like we were in for a very damp Relay. We set up our camp site in the pouring rain, but by the time we were finished it was just sprinkling. For the next 13 hours or so, we had dryness. Whew.
See? Blue sky! Sunbeams!
After Opening Ceremonies, I walked the Survivor Lap and was joined by the rest of my team for the Caregiver Lap. I have the best caregivers EVER. If you’re not jealous, you’d best GET jealous—I really am the luckiest girl there could ever be. Here are just a few of my amazing caregivers:
(Mother Mary, me, Fancy Lori, Dana, Sunshine, Cindi, and Val)
I was thrilled to meet Dana for the first time—she’s my cousin’s cousin and until Saturday we had only met on Facebook. Dana and I have way too much in common not to be friends; in fact, I’m totally gonna say that she’s my cousin now. It’s the right thing to do, because she is awesome to the moon and back.
Throughout the day, friends and teammates came and went. We loved all of our visitors.
We kind of especially loved Jenn K and Dina, because they came by to drop off a care package. It was cram-packed with all sorts of delightful and necessary goodies, like Ben-Gay, Febreze for stinky tents and/or shoes, toilet seat covers for the camp toilets we didn’t have (THANK GOD), disposable toothbrushes, SPAM for protein, 5-Hour Energy for whoever had the middle-of-the-night shifts, sunscreen, glow sticks, M&Ms, and best of all, a bunch of happiness to pour into orange juice. All of this was arranged neatly in a box that was labeled “GENUINE HOE” and “HOE BITS.” Is that perfect, or what?
Yay! The Castañedas are here!
Jim Jordan suggested that “Sit Around for Life” sounds easier than “Relay.” Sunshine suggested “Buffalo Wings for Life.” These are both excellent ideas that I think need to be examined further.
The Turners have arrived!
In the afternoon, Victor and I were apprehended, handcuffed, and sent to jail. The charges were “abusing the cancer card” and “not sharing Cakesters” …
… and to get out of jail, we had to do the chicken dance at center field.
It was easy to figure out that Fancy Lori was the one responsible for putting us in jail. We didn’t get our revenge during Relay; instead, we’re waiting to surprise her with it. <Insert evil laugh here.>
The Archibalds dropped by!
Margaret and her posse showed up in the afternoon. They walked a couple hours and when it was April’s turn, she made Margaret walk with her “for just a little while,” which became the entire hour. Margaret *might* have been cursing her feet when she came back to the camp site. One of the day’s funniest comments came from her, though, during the Miss Rodeo Queen competition. When this guy walked by…
… Victor said, “Those aren’t real!” and Margaret asked, “But how does he get them to stay up like that? I try and try.” (Thanks to my friend Jenny—the REAL beauty in the pic above—whose FB album I stole this photo from.)
Katie and Kailey faced each other in a jousting match at center field. I don’t know who won, but I’m giving some extra points to Kailey because she competed with a broken foot.
Some Knudsons (specifically, Knapps and a Clay) are here!
Mom and I made a “wanted” poster and a bunch of mustache props.
In case you can’t read it, the sign says:
For being a killer of cancer, a fighter of important causes, and walking in circles for 24 hours.
25¢ reward for the safe return of this little rascal
THIS PERSON IS EXTREMELY AWESOME!
Lisa Schroeder was our celebrity Hoe-Down. We were honored that she joined our team, and had fun hanging out with her for the afternoon. It was cute watching all the little star-struck Hoe-Downs interact with Lisa; they remembered her from her school visit in May. She just returned from her first visit to New York City and shared some advice with the Jordans, who are about to go for their first time.
Many of the teams hosted on-site fundraisers like jousting, kids’ zone, the aforementioned jail, craft center, etc. The kids talked Jim Jordan and Vic into sumo wrestling. I took a million pictures of this because it was OMG so funny.
The suiting-up took forever and required much assistance. Vic said the suits were super-stinky.
I guess being the FIRST sumo wrestlers of the day would be most sanitary.
Victor took on the sumo wrestling look way too well. (Love the nipples!)
That’s Emma, Jim’s daughter, watching with glee.
Look, Dad’s a dork, and so is his friend!
This is totally something Jim and Vic would have done 25 years ago in college, probably instead of going to class.
I love that they did it as the old men they now are.
Alex F’n showed up in the evening, proud as can be to finally, officially be a Hoe. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting that boy, you are truly missing out—he’s a chip off his mom’s F’n block, for sure. She arrived just after 9pm, in time for CAKE!
In the evening was the birthday celebration for survivors. They had us all grab a section of a chain made of links representing each survivor participating in Relay, and we did a partial lap and then returned to center field for cupcakes. This was a good way to transition into the luminaria ceremony. Here are two gorgeous photos from my teammates:
It was beautiful to see the track lined with the bags all aglow. We walked around a few times and took pictures of several of the luminary bags.
Although the ceremony was almost exactly as I remembered it from last year, it really zapped me emotionally this year. I think that was partly because I felt so much more a part of the event this time, but also because my closest friends and family were there with me. And this year I really felt like a survivor, where last year I was still in the middle of treatment and felt like the “survivor” thing was a little presumptuous.
What also felt heartbreaking was the reality of what was missing. I was celebrating conquering cancer and remembering those who lost their fight—both incredibly emotional things—but there was a tremendous hole where my sister should have been. I have deliberately talked very little about this on my blog, but my sister told me months ago that I was too focused on my illness, that I didn’t appreciate the things she did for me and that I seemed angry at her all the time. Even though I told her that wasn’t true, she refused to discuss it. It’s been nothing but horrible ever since. I thought we had a breakthrough when Scout died, but I was wrong. If I knew what to do to fix our relationship, I would do it, because I ache for the closeness Kathy and I shared for 40+ years; that hurt was even stronger on Saturday night. It was like it happened all over again, and I couldn’t cry hard enough.
I hate that I have so much to celebrate and feel such a loss to be doing it without my sister. To not try to change that, though, is her choice. I suppose that should make me care less, but it actually makes it hurt more. Argh.
In spite of the extreme emotions I felt during the luminaria ceremony, it was still beautiful and moving. As Sunshine said on Facebook, it was the best and worst part of Relay for Life.
Most of us returned to our camp site and chatted the night away. We had lots of snacks for snacking and orange juice-ish beverages for beverageing. What more could a person want?
Kim F’n-W, Sunshine and me
(Yes, Sunshine totally looks like she’s wearing a onesie. It’s a trick of the camera. Promise.)
I eventually tried to get some sleep while my awesome teammates walked the middle-of-the-night shifts. The people next to us talked loudly the ENTIRE night, and that kept most of us from getting any decent rest. They’re lucky we didn’t set fire to their tent. It would have been a teensy bit mean and illegal, yes, but also hugely satisfying, as the best crimes are. Sunshine and Val, you guys were smart to go home to sleep.
Here’s Cindi with her four little Hoe-Downs, walking the last lap of Relay
Sunday morning we woke to a hard rain and lots of very wet gear. The camping rule “always leave your shoes outside the tent” doesn’t apply in Oregon, or so Tina told us as she poured out her shoes. We started to pack up our site and went to closing ceremonies at 10am. We gave much-deserved applause to the event volunteers. Lots of awards were given out, and The Hoe-Downs came in first place for team fundraising! Tony was the #1 individual fundraiser, of course, and I was #4. Another team donated $25 to get me over the $1,000 mark so I could be in the ACS Grand Club. Isn’t that nice of them? I tell ya, this whole event is nothing but giving and generosity. It’s a wonderful thing of which to be a part.
The Hoe-Downs were given signs that we’ll get to show off at our camp site next year for our fundraising accomplishments this year. We got bronze, silver, and gold. Woo-hoo! (Or maybe I should say “Woo-HOE!”)
Me with some of the littlest Hoes—Jack, Katie, and Kailey
As exhausted as I still am after the crazy weekend, I’m already looking forward to next year’s Relay for Life. What will the theme be? What will we call our team? Who will join? What silly activity will we host for a team fundraiser? It’s all so mysterious and exciting!
The overall fundraising total for the North Clackamas Relay for Life was over $44,000, and the Hoe-Downs brought in about $10,000 of that. We are so pleased to have been such a big part of this event, but we’re especially grateful to the people who made it happen:
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Thank you so much to everyone who donated, for all the ways you helped make this Relay the huge success that it was. Please know that every last cent you contributed is going to cancer research. We shall keel eet!