Thursday, June 02, 2011

Relay for Life – An Inspirational Night

Luminaria front Luminaria back

Note: I participated in this Relay for Life in June last year but I am woefully behind in blogging. Thankfully the Relay for Life comes around every year and hopefully this post will inspire you to join  a local relay near you.

When I first heard that my company was sponsoring a Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society, I jumped at the chance to participate.  The Relay for Life is a fundraising event that lasts 18 hours from 6 p.m. in the evening till noon the next day.  If there’s two things I’m good at, it’s walking and being up in the middle of the night.  I choose to be present for the midnight to 6 a.m. shift, but I arrived early to see the luminary lap which started at 9 p.m.

The main reason I chose to raise money for the American Cancer Society was because my father passed away from brain cancer at the age of 69.  I purchased a luminary bag in his honor and the kids decorated it.  When I arrived at the relay around 9:30 p.m., the lighted bags were already set up around the track.  Seeing the hundreds of luminary bags set up along the track was an awe-inspiring sight.

Luminaria bags

Each candle is held in place by sand inside the bags.

Looking into the Luminaria

My walking shifts were from 3 to 5 a.m., so I passed the time walking a lap here and there and playing Scrabble and cribbage with my co-workers (BTW, stoge is a slang of cigarette, similar to stogie, which I verified on my iPhone - win!).  From around 1:30 to 2:30 a.m., I retreated to my car and took a nap in the back of my wagon.

Scrabble Cribbage

The 3 to 4 a.m. lap had a "Toga" theme, so I draped a sheet around myself for the hour.  It kept falling down until I finally got the right set of knots together.  I am now a toga expert!

Toga lap
3:14 a.m. darkness + iPhone photo = blurry Angela.

The 4 to 5 a.m. lap had an "Oldies" theme, so I dressed in tie-dye shirts with my fellow hippy co-worker.

Oldies Lap
4:14 a.m. in tie-dye shirts with minimal sleep = looking totally stoned.


Here's a more presentable shot of us.  The 4 to 5 a.m. hour definitely had the least amount of walkers.  It started after most people succumbed to sleepiness after staying up all night.  I felt invigorated to be part of the hard core insomniacs taking every step with purpose.  On one lap, I noticed a tent with Cure with Hope tie-dye shirts, but they were only offering them for sale on the Internet.  So with my trusty iPhone, I actually purchased a shirt within one lap of obtaining the URL.  Sleepless geek purchases tie-dye shirt while walking at 4:45 a.m.!  My co-worker was impressed.

Night is almost over
Night is almost over taken by fellow relayer, tuberat.

The most amazing part of the night was sunrise.  We started seeing the sky lighten up around 4:30 a.m.  With my iPhone, we learned the differences and times of the civil, nautical and astronomical twilight before sunrise.

Sunrise, taken at 5:03 AM.

Holy smokes, it was a gorgeous sunrise!  By this time, everyone else was waking up from the light.  I finally headed home around 6 a.m. after the morning crew showed up.

In total our company raised around $1900 for the American Cancer Society.  It was a great cause, and an inspirational night to remember.


linda said...

Iloved the way you recalled this last year "relay for life event". I am glad that you remembered your father dearly, good deeds!

Boston Mamas said...

{hugs} Angela!

Karen the Californian said...

I just realized that my first daughter's birthday is the same as your dad's birthday. *hugs*

Houston SEO said...

I think it was great that you participated in an event as great as relay for life. By the way, your picture makes me want to play scrabble. I haven't played that game in so long!