Why I Relay?
The short answer, I do it for Claudia. The long version begins early 2004 with a call from my sister, Claudia’s doctor. I was being notified she’d been diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and had only 3 to 6 months to live. It hit me like a ton of bricks. In that moment I felt, understandably, hopeless and helpless. A few weeks later I was presented a most serendipitous avenue through which to channel my grief. A co-worker asked if I would be interested in joining a team to participate in a local Relay for Life. When she explained these were fundraising events sponsored by the American Cancer Society I was immediately on board. I may not be able to do anything to change my sister’s fate, but I could do something. She died shortly after that first event. Two years later, when I moved my employment elsewhere, I brought along the passion and devotion I had developed. I convinced management of the importance of this critical and noble cause and a team was formed there as well.
Today, with 16 years of participation under my belt, ”Why I Relay” is more a statement than a question. I have “Relayed” in different cities and at various venues over this time. One common thread is evident in each event. It’s the love and camaraderie that permeates throughout. There is a genuine sense of caring and focus on the job at hand. This is what inspires and motivates me to pick up this mantle every year and to strive to do better than the year before. It took 10 years to achieve my first “Grand Club” status (thousand dollars raised). This year’s effort will culminate in my 7th year in a row!!!
Originally slated for Apr 18, due to Covid-19 concerns, this year’s event was rescheduled to Sep 26. It has now been cancelled. However, all is not lost as a special community luminaria ceremony is being held in its place on Sep 20, which quite coincidentally, happens to be Claudia’s birthday!!! So short version or long doesn’t really matter. Bottom line, I do it for her and the countless others impacted by cancer. It’s always alright to wear your heart on your sleeve, but come Relay time, I wear mine on my chest…
Written and submitted by William Frazier