Sunday, August 2, 2009

Relay for Life

We arrived at the Syracuse High School track at about 5:00 p.m. Friday afternoon. We unloaded coolers, snacks, posters, books, pins, etc. and set up our canopies (we had reserved two sites for a combined 30 team members). I was worried we would be left short of team members but it turned out we had about 40, with the majority staying the entire 15 hours.

Nick made it, although he was feeling poorly. Thankfully, his dad brought the motor home and he was able to take breaks when he was tired. His checkup appointment with Dr. Mulvihill earlier in the day left the surgeon a little concerned that Nick isn't bouncing back like he thought he should be. He offered to do a ct scan on his abdomen now or wait and do it when he has his chest ct scan done next Wed; Nick chose next Wed to give him some time to finish off the antibiotics. He is down to 142 lbs. Good news is that he was given the ok to go ahead and skydive again, by invitation of Brad Ludden (First Descents founder) at the end of the month.

By 6:00, each survivor announced their names and how long they have been a survivor (Nick was in motor home so we missed him announcing his name). He made it in time when the survivors took their victory lap in one direction, while the caregivers walked in the opposite direction, meeting halfway. Then we all walked together to complete the lap.

Following, was the introduction of each team; our two teams proudly held up a poster with Nick's logo. The main attraction was Fairy Godmother, Jennie, with her hospital gown revealing what honestly looks like her own bum peeking out. Carly donned the other hospital gown and joined Jennie in the team lap. That was enough for Carly, but Jennie wore the gown well into the wee hours of the morning, with cameras snapping periodically throughout the night, accompanied by finger pointing, gasps then peals of laughter.

Nick & Carly

Olive Garden provided dinner and the walking was official. The evening took on a tender, emotional moment at 10:00 when the lights were turned off and the candles in each luminary bag glowed. There were hundreds of bags lit and placed around the entire track, representing those that have fought or are still fighting cancer. We were asked to stand next to our personalized bag, and if we didn't have one, to stand next to a bag on the track so that no one was left alone. Our teams had 36 bags, lovingly decorated by three young women from our church. There was a moment of silence followed by a sweet song as we remembered our loved ones. It was a beautiful scene: the lights glowing in a collective circle, surrounded by love, support and faith.
Nick had many of his friends come, as well as Carly and her entourage. They were pure delight to watch - playing soccer, football and an impromptu dance off with Carly and Kyler. I think it was a draw. This was Nick & Lee's favorite part of the night. Mine was watching Carly and her friends sing karaoke at 3:00 a.m. We howled with laughter as those kids brought down the house. Well, at least the 30 or so people that stopped to watch, dance and sing along. Carly is definitely in her element with a microphone in her hand, her buds beside her and an audience.

Although we had sleeping bags, air mattresses and pillows, most of us didn't sleep a wink and walked and walked and walked. Fairy Godmother, Denise, made a killing in selling her "key-purse" accessories. I sold a whopping 2 cancer books and one childhood cancer pin. Apparently you need to be there to sell items. There was a "sheriff" on site and we could issue a warrant for arrest and our person of interest would be placed in jail for a mere .50 cents a minute. Both Carly (for moving out) and Melanie (for being too cute) were arrested. Carly was more ticked her friends didn't visit or bail her out than for being arrested.

Lee - out cold

Jennie took hundreds of pictures and I should be able to post them on Nick's website, in two weeks or so. Big, fat thanks to our team members:

Lee, Nick, Carly, Kelsey, Todd, Jennie, Denise, Jerry, Melanie, Brandon, Jamie, Julie, Emily, Cami, Lauren, Erin, Sue, Ty, Mark, Megan, Mike, Lisa, Steph, Sari, Cory, Eric, Andrew, Kyler, Tanner, Alex, Derrick, Scott, Gentry, Colton, Adam, Natalie & Jarod.

The event was wonderful and I'm so glad we participated. Cancer is everywhere and thankfully, so are the survivors, caregivers, prayers, acts of kindness, friends and unlimited love.



Chris Ulvin said...

Hi All,
Relay for Life is an event everyone should support in their community, if only to go and pray, cheer, cry or hug others during the Luminary ceremony. I'm thankful Nick could participate and that 40 friends and family chose to participate. May God honor everyone's prayers and show us through Nick the miracle of all cancer survivors.
Love, aunt Chris

jack said...

Great post and best of wishes. Thanks to all who participate in Relay events across the country. For some perspective on what Relay is all about, I invite you to check out this short video -- -- about one Relay volunteer's "aha moment." I hope you enjoy it and perhaps check out the rest of the site as well.

All the best, Nick.

Lisa said...

Hi Nick, Lori,

Excuse my chemo brain. I just got out of the HCH health hotel yesterday after my second cycle of chemo. I'm pretty down and out tonight, but checked email and other things anyway. I wondered how you were feeling since we both had a rough week. I'm glad you're home with love surrounding you and feeling a bit better. Thank you for doing the relay for us all who are fighting for our lives. Thank you, Lori, for putting a lumenary out for me. It means a lot to me. God bless.


Kris said...

Hey Nikki!!! I just wanted to say HI, I follow your blog faithfully, honestly, alot of time I don't know what to say. So I will just say HI! You should also know that we keep you in our prayers - daily!!! Jaxon is so cute when it's his turn to pray, he says 'and bless Nick that he will come home safely' (becuse we always bless the children who aren't home at the time to return safely). Well maybe he's just hoping you will return to our house :). Courtney and I were looking at some of you guys 9th grade dance pictures. It was sooo funny, the girls were the same height as you boys. Amazing what 1 year will do, huh?
Take care, love ya and return (to my) home safely!!!!!! ;)