Wednesday, June 14, 2006


It was the night before the 2005 Relay last year - as I was wrapped up in the details of planning an event for 5000 – that my doorbell rang. On my front step was Michael G. His face said what he voice could hardly make out. News that day. Just received.

Small cell carcinoma of the parotid gland.

Mama G. His mom. One of the kindest, gentlest women I know. No longer facing just her ongoing multiple myeloma, but now…an extremely aggressive cancer that took no prisoners.

The next hour was spent talking, praying, laughing, crying, and game planning for the Relay the following day – which he was to MC and do his usual “DJ Trickery” as Marlow liked to call it.

In a world where a simple phrase can change your life in an incredibly dramatic way, Relay would be the way to fight back…to work through the emotion, pain, fear, and cultivate the hope that would permeate her struggle for life over the upcoming months.

As he faced the greatest challenge in his life, he rocked the house at Relay. Words cannot express how much his dedication to the event, his mom, and to me meant. Mama G should be so proud of the man she’s raised.

Over the next few months, Mama G flew to MD Anderson Cancer Center for weeks on end of various treatments – stories and pictures describing procedures that had been sterile, if not foreign, to me before then.

It was then that I saw the ugliness of cancer and how it ravages the body. And yet, in the challenges, how faith and hope combine to bring joy to the spirit.

Peter Kreeft said, "The nearness of death is a harsh but effective teacher. And it teaches also a second lesson, not to mind but to heart: the infinite preciousness of life. When every little thing becomes perhaps the last, every little thing becomes a big thing. Why must we wait till death is near to see this?"

Walter de Ia Mare advises "Look thy last on all things lovely every hour."

You start to not take the small things for granted. You see each moment as a gift.

You take nothing for granted.

As her treatments proved to be very successful, overcoming previously insurmountable odds, she flew home to the northwest and slowly began resuming her life. Healing. Hope.

And the news came today, ten days before the 2006 Relay.

The results of yesterday’s PET Scan were in. The cancer has spread to her lungs. Her liver. Possibly her brain. The MRI tomorrow will tell us. It isn’t good.

Selfishly, I think…is she so precious to Heaven that they can't wait for her?

At this point, she may have a month.

Several months.

Only God knows.

But in the midst of it all, I realize just how grateful I am for a way that gives me the opportunity to do something. Relay For Life. Grateful for the people who selflessly sacrifice time, energy, and resources to put together and be part of an event that helps millions worldwide. Grateful for those who make the journey easier, lighten the load of those who struggle, and light the way to a cure.

Knowing that Mama G was involved in Relay in its early years at Stadium, seeing her son be involved over the last few years, knowing that I too make a difference in the fight now…bringing it all full circle.

The months of planning, stressing, preparing, micro-managing all come down to this – Relay gives us all a way to work through the journey of cancer – wherever we are at.

How humbling to complain about missed deadlines and things falling through the cracks…when what we do allows so many people to celebrate, grieve, hope and live.

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of planning an event or in life…and fail to remember that it is how God calls us to serve and live our lives - through sharing our gifts. Our response to that call makes all the difference in the world.

And to remember that every life, every moment is precious. When every little thing becomes perhaps the last, every little thing becomes a big thing.

And it is those big things that define who we are.

And I choose to find hope.

Just ten days away.


Easycure said...

I'll find hope with you, if you don't mind.

Anonymous said...

You are so gifted with the ability to love and share that love. I am blessed to be your friend...on behalf of our family thank you!

PS My DJ trickery is not over yet

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