I don't quite know how to explain the Relay for Life.
In one sense it was bizarre....we arrived at the venue to our marquee set up entailing signage that read 'VIP Team of Honour' and consequently fielded questions as to why we were the team of honour (slight let down for them when they find out it was because we were drawn out of a hat...).
The VIP tent meant we had champagne...
and 11 pizzas for 11 girls (dont worry we gave half of them away)...
But also bizarre...planning my day around the half hour walking slots. It was the hottest day of summer so far, so walking round and round that track was a somewhat sweltering experience, but popping next door (or next marquee) to the Indian food stall for a half hour shift straight from the track, really tops the sweltering stakes.
After this, we had an hour and a half off. This involved eating, drinking, bathrooming, indulging in the odd foot spa (also courtesy of the VIP tent) and some idol chat. Before we knew it, it was time to flip of the sandles and don the runners (or walkers) again. The day flew!
In another sense, the event was extremely......(lack of words here to describe)......moving, emotional, symbolic of suffering but also symbolic of hope.
Come darkness was the candle of hope ceremony. Encircling the track and positioned in the stands in the shape of the word HOPE were candle bags, most dedicated to someone lost to the cancer struggle. Walking the track as these were being placed was tear jerking enough. Add on gospel singers with the most glorious voices, moving poems and light from the candle bags being the only thing guiding our way.....emotions were high, and the affects of cancer on EVERYONE present was apparent. It was a truly moving experience, one to remember loved ones lost, but one to also remind us of our battle against this disease TOGETHER. With 2 beaut friends on either side of me, I felt overwhelmed at the losses myself, my friends in my team, and others around us have experienced, but also overcome with gratuity.....how lucky am I to have friends as these.
Upon the closure of the candle of hope ceremony, we embarked on our one hour shifts on the track. Other than the track walkers, there was a hive of activity around us, most apparent was the football game taking place in the middle of the track. The lights were on, and if you used your imagination really well, it kind of felt as though you were at a major sporting event....yip, that was if your imagination was as vivid as mine.
So my next walking shift was from 11-12pm. One hour FLIES when you are just enjoying the company you are in! My next shift was 4-5pm. I had to be woken for this one and didn't wake up till I had left the tent and walked 10ometres or so, this was not a fun experience. At our marquee site most of the girls were trying to get a little sleeping, some sitting up right on couches, others on the floor, the lucky ones on the airbed. I think the average amount of sleep for our team was about 2 hours??? Very tired girls come 10am which equaled finish time, but very very happy to have succeeded in our mission to stay on the track for 22 hours straight.
So 121,000 steps later we are finished (according to the pedometer). The majority of our fundraising is complete and I can tick this off my list of things which I hoped to achieve this year.
The battle against cancer however is far from complete, and instead of feeling as though I will never participate in another relay for life team again as I had thought I would feel (purely because of the workload involved in fundraising), I am wishing and wondering if there is anything more which could be possibly done....and I wonder if somewhere, some place, there is a part that I could play again.