Parents, if you want wonderful pictures of your children, never teach them to say "cheese"! Please learn from my mistake or you will have thousands of photos just like mine - squinted eyes, scrunched up noses, clenched teeth, and an image that just screams "say cheez!!!". Join me while I search for that one perfect shot that doesn't conjure up images of dairy products. Oh, and unless you like that *messy* look, you'll probably want to clean their faces before you snap away. I never seem to remember myself.

An imporant sidenote is to make sure you document your life! Recording the little details of the who, what, where, when, & why makes for wonderful stories and captures your life for years to come. Because if you are like me, you'll forget it all 5 minutes later!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

That is the theme for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event. Every year, groups of people work together to raise money for cancer research and funds to support those undergoing cancer treatment. They create teams, collect donations, and walk around a football field track all night. The evening kicks off with a "survivor" lap, where cancer survivors walk the first lap while everyone stands and applauds them, celebrating their success in fighting this disease. This is followed by the survivor and caregivers lap. After this, everyone joins in and walks around the track, continuously, all night long. As night falls, hundreds of luminaries are lit up to honor and remember all those who are fighting and surviving, as well as those who have passed on. The goal of Relay for Life is to raise awareness and money so that one day no one will ever have to hear the devastating words "you have cancer".

We were late to the game this year and didn't have enough time to put together a team. So my husband signed up to walk the survivor lap and raise money as an individual. Amazingly, in just a few short days, generous family and friends donated $1400 to the American Cancer Society on his behalf! We feel so blessed to have people that care for us and want to support Ken's efforts.

When it came time for the event to kick off I was filled with a multitude of emotions. I planned on supporting my husband and honoring all those who have been touched by cancer but I didn't really know what to expect. I certainly didn't expect to be so emotional. It was quite strange for me to see my husband put on the purple shirt signifying that he is a "survivor". Then for me to wear the "caregiver" pin was overwhelming. I've been by Ken's side throughout this journey, holding onto his hand as tight as I can and trying to be strong for him and our family. I've listened to the doctors, read the research, and planned for the treatments and recovery. But something about a purple shirt and some pins made it suddenly feel too real and raw. Being surrounded by so many other people who have walked this journey, were still standing strong and fighting back, was surreal.

So we joined in with others this night to celebrate the fact that Ken's cancer is highly curable, remember Ken's parents who lost their battles with cancer, and most definitely to fight back. We'll be fighting all summer long, and for many years after that so that this disease can be conquered.


As evening fell, we were blessed with this beautiful glow from the heavens.


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