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Relay for Life for a First Timer ... :-)


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What started as a rainy day had turned into a broken clouded sunset that yeilded no rain. I was happy for I've heard over and over that rain was attracted to this event as bees are to spring honey. All kinds of people are here. Young and old. Healthy and diseased. All with one goal in mind.... stop this terrible disease that has touched everyone here at the park as well as mostly everyone in this town, state and country.

I'm one of them. I was diagnosed in January with cancer. I'm 44 years old, but I feel young in my disease life. I look at those who have had remission for a number of years with envy, respect and a goal I want to attain. I call myself at 15 percenter. Only 15 percent of the people who have my disease live past 5 years. Some say that's not good odds, but I think that 15% is a huge number of people and I'm one of them.

The Relay for Life event has what it calls the survivors lap. This lap is for the fortunate ones who

are winning or have won their own battle with cancer. Those who are here to support and

participate in the event line the street that circles the park. There are a number of very nice automobiles that proceed the walkers. The Grand Marshalls, VIPs as well as volunteers drive these cars not only to highlight their acheivements but to give some of the survivors an alternative to walking around the lake. Having hip replacement surgery 4 weeks ago, I needed a little coaching but I accepted the advice of my friends and took a ride in a beautiful volkswagon beatle which happened to be driven by an even more beautiful person named Ginger. Ginger quickly made me feel at home and

never said anything about the acne problems my chemotherapy was doing to my face.

She started her car and we were off. As this was my first time in the relay, I didn't know what to expect from this point going forward. What happened was and still is, beyond words that I can describe here. Both sides of the street were full of people,

clapping as we went by. Clapping for me! Clapping for the man who is riding in the volkswagon, on his first relay, cheering him on as he went by. I can't believe these wonderful people are cheering for me! I kept asking myself what had I done to deserve

this? Why are they cheering for me? Do they have any idea that their cheering has motivated me to fight harder? I hope so.

My chemotherapy session begins on Monday. This is my 5th round of the treatment. I will be rising out of bed and heading to Dr. Samaha's office with the sound of thousands of people cheering me on. Whatever happens on this road of fighting cancer,

I feel as if I had already won my battle. Thank you Parkersburg.

Darrell Barnes

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Thanks for that I attended my first Relay as a Caregiver Survivor and was very moved emotionally. The Organizers had a contest to see who the Longest survivor was prior to the first lap and a gentleman of 40 yeaars as a survivor won. We also had a toddler who was about 3 or 4 and was diagnosed at birth with a cancer. She showed the local media her porta cath scar andwas off and running as fast as she could. My wifes luminary and several others that I bought for Lc People I know were also there and Lit. Could not stay all night and had to work but sure was moved by the ceremoney. congrats and Glad you are doing as well as well can be.

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Isn't it an amazing thing! I am so thrilled you went! We have an amazing one here too...Loved it! Darned GF...what is up with that? Best of luck to you, and may your spirit continue to change lives as people who have never been to a Relay attend!!!

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Wow!! Loved that post. I felt as if I were right there with you hearing the nosie of that crowd cheering you on and on and on. I still hear them and I'm sure you do too. They won't stop that noise until NED shows up too. Keep up the fight. You have an amazing spirit.

gail p-m

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Your post brings back memories and tears are flowing.

The first one I did was in 2001 a few montha after that dreaded diagnosis, I made it around the track in a golf cart-to weak to walk it that year, and the clapping went on and on for all who walked that survivors lap.

The next year 2002 I did the key note speech. My family have it taped. I hate it but they won't let me tape over it. I remember all the people clapping, crying, and shaking hands afterwards. Those are times you never forget.

The people who put those together are to be commended.

I have done a lot of research since those early days and am not happy with how the money is spent by the ACS but I will be forever grateful to the people who are out there each year encouraging 'us' to keep on going.


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