We headed to Newcomerstown Friday for my parents' annual Relay for Life weekend. Their church has been involved in the overnight cancer fund-raising event for probably about 10 years now, and I always enjoying going to show my support for a cause that is close to my parents' hearts, even before my mom's diagnosis.
It starts on Friday with lots of walking around the high school track, music and events. When it gets dark, they turn all the lights off in the stadium and light the luminaries that have people's names on them - survivors as well as those who battled and lost.
My mom had a luminary bag this year. As a survivor. God is good.
As the survivors and care takers and those walking in memory of someone walk around the luminary-lined track in silence with glow sticks in their hands, the announcer reads off the names from survivors list and from the in-memory list.
They are both very long lists.
It is a powerful, sad, provoking moment.
Then members of each team continue to walk the track through the night and into Saturday. Closing ceremonies around noon on Saturday conclude the event by handing out prizes, energizing everyone for next year's event, and announcing the total raised.
This year, minus the proceeds from the auction (which I'm sure will be $1000 or more), this tiny little sleepy village of Newcomerstown (filled with very determined, awake and aware people) raised over $93,000 for cancer research and support for those battling cancers of all kinds.
That's amazing! And inspiring!
Amidst the event full of meaning and camaraderie, Sam and Lena had a great time running around and sweating. They had fun playing inside my high school's cafeteria (during a round of thunderstorms) and making new friends.
We stayed as long as we could, the kids snuggled in their jammies, cozy under our umbrella tent. When it became apparent that by midnight they were far from falling asleep, though, we packed them up and headed to my parents' house.
Lena slept hard until Rich had to wake her around 11:30. She takes after her mommy.
Sam's internal clock, on the other hand, woke him up the same time as always regardless of what time he goes to bed - 6:30 a.m. And since he slept with me, we both got up and headed back to the stadium to finish up the event with Mom and Dad and the St. Paul's Lutheran team.
Anyway, that's a long blog about a simple sentiment.
I love my parents.
I love the things they pour themselves into. They inspire me. And I'm so proud of how they've handled my mom's diagnosis. And how they, through that, have inspired others.