Why I Relay
By: Makayla McKenzie
I went to Relay For Life every year as a Girl Scout growing up. It was at our high school’s track with a huge stage and live music, vendors selling products, food stands, games to play in the grass, etc. It felt like we were at a carnival! Sure, we knew we were there to raise money for cancer, but what was the big deal? Why did we need to have this big event that seemed more like a party, for something like this? What did Relay for Life do for those affected?
I didn’t realize it at the time but that’s just it…too many people are affected. Too many people fight cancer or are caregivers for those that do. Too many people lose their fight, and too many people are still fighting.
I grew up in a house full of people, including my grandparents. They were like a second set of parents to my sisters and me. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer during the middle of my junior year of high school and then died halfway through my senior year. It all happened so fast…He went from telling us jokes that made us laugh so hard we cried to not being able to speak at all, from driving us to dance class and picking us up from yearbook club to falling down when he tried to go up or down stairs, from mowing the lawn and plowing the driveway to being bed ridden, from taking care of his family to needing help with the simplest of tasks. It was then that I understood then why Relay for Life was so important. Relay not only raises the funds necessary for cancer research and treatment, but also awareness and with that comes hope. Hope for those that are fighting and hope for those that love them. It is because of this that I relay.
I relay for those who are fighting.
I relay for those who have lost their fight.
I relay for caregivers, family, and friends.
I relay for the doctors relentlessly searching for a cure.
I relay in honor my 18-year-old cousin still fighting her fight.
I relay in memory of my grandpa.
I relay for hope.
I relay for a cure.
We can’t love someone back to health. But with the power of love we can fund cancer research and we can gather as a community to show we are not giving up.