Survivors – The heart of Relay for Life efforts
By Traci Chapman
Relay for Life for some is primarily about remembrance and honor, a time to share all that was special about someone who battled cancer and lost and a chance to do something to stop anyone else from going through the same loss – but, it’s also about life, about survival and about that indominable human spirit that refuses to give up against all odds.
That’s why cancer survivors are so much a part of Mustang’s annual Relay for Life activities, organizers said. As much as those individuals bring a community face to the battle against cancer – and just who is tasked to engage in that battle – they also provide something so much more.
Hope. It’s that indefinable thing that sometimes baffles physicians and families alike, the spark that makes the difference between survival and loss, that seemingly rare chance to celebrate in the face of cancer. It’s not always understandable, experts said, how one person might defeat the disease while another does not. A lot certainly comes down to luck and, perhaps, fate – catching it early, what type of cancer is involved, a host of genetic and other factors.
No matter what the reason, those who survive and who take part in Relay for Life – some of them doing so year after year – send a message to those both battling the disease and those who have lost someone to it: “There is always a chance.”
Local cancer survivors are the cornerstone of Mustang Relay for Life, organizers said. As the event unfolds, survivors lead the was to begin the nearly 12-hour walk around Bronco Stadium’s track, and the cheers from those attending the event and taking part in raising funds and awareness through participating are something they never forget, they said.
“This is such an incredible opportunity – it’s difficult to put into words how much positive energy comes from being a part of this event and being able to interact not just with other survivors but with these kids who work so hard to make this such a success,” survivor Amy Feuerborn said at a past relay event. “It’s humbling to know just what this means to so many people.”
It’s not just humbling to survivors, but also to those who organize the event, Mady Gee said.
“They (survivors) are the reason Relay exists,” she said.
In fact, Gee this year is spearheading the Mustang Youth Relay for Life survivor dinner, set this year from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 29 at Life Church Mustang. The dinner is open to anyone affected by cancer – both now and in the past – and their caregivers’ registration deadline is March 13, Gee said.
For more information about how survivors are honored during Relay for Life and its associated events, go online to http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY19SOR?pg=entry&fr_id=90760 the Mustang Youth event webpage; to register for the survivors dinner go online to its Eventbrite page, found by going to www.eventbrite.com and searching for “Mustang Youth Relay for Life Survivor Dinner” in Mustang.