We left Friday afternoon heading down I-59 towards Brookhaven, Ms. This time of year can be really difficult for me. The relay was a driving ambition in my mom's life before she was ever sick or diagnosed with cancer. A couple of years before she was sick, she started a bake sale as a fundraiser for our team. The last year she was able to participate fully she baked over 40 cakes in 2 days and sold every one of them. My sisters, Andrea and Beth, and I helped her ice them but she mostly did it herself. It is hard work and leaves you exhausted but it is possible to do. I have (the year following her death) managed to meet her challenge once. Our bake sale is looked forward to every year, ha ha......... Seriously though, it is the best home-made cakes you can by in the county!
We arrived a couple of hours after the relay had begun. Addy and Isaiah were a little intimidated by the noise and the crowds. It was so good to see my family. I haven't been home since Thanksgiving for a real visit. Coleen was able to see her best friend Sophie and visit with her cousin Lee. Anthony and Karen played with the babies. We watched excitedly each time the team drew "draw-down" numbers for a $500 winner. All in all the night was as usual bitter-sweet and wonderful!
I hope you all enjoyed the pictures. Last year I was unable to attend the relay in Brookhaven. I walked with Elliot's school team from CRMS. It was very sad to be walking among strangers but even then I saw a kindred spirit with most there. Cancer is the equalizer as my mom used to say. It doesn't care what color, condition, or ability. It strikes all. We formed our team name based on that alone. One family united. That is what we are. If you have had a mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, father, child, or friend battle cancer you are part of the family. There is discussion among my family of not having a team next year. Part of me agrees because I saw a lot of stress in my aunts as they sat around or walked. It seems that they have lost their way among the cause. Perhaps a break is needed. I am not sure. Tonya and I are the two that have lost parents to cancer. She lost both her mom and dad. Admittedly Uncle Joe is most likely the reason we began our team. My mom became the standard bearer though. I think honestly that it is time for the next generation to take over. My aunts may have begun it but they are in need of a rest. It is time for Deedee, Tonya, Regina, Pam, me, Blake, Jonathon, Andrea, Allison, and Beth to start planning and doing. I live in Tuscaloosa. Beth is in Lake. Andrea is in Baytown. And Allison lives in Byram. Maybe Andrea can be excused. The rest of us are close enough to help organize and decide. It is time we became the adults and take over. I have tried to teach my children the importance of the relay. It isn't about having a team. It isn't about a t-shirt. It is about fighting cancer financially and symbolically. We can forget about the tent, the t-shirt, and the food. WE cannot forget about the fundraising or the fight.
So enjoy my pictures. I hope they can show just a little of why I walk................................................