Wednesday, July 2, 2008

There's No Place Like Hope

It was an incredible experience.

I'm now just beginning to recover from the Relay...which happened to take place over a record-breaking temperature weekend. We thought we were warm on Friday, setting up in 85 degree weather...only to be sweltering on Saturday afternoon at 94 degrees! The Relay For Life actually closed down 3 hours early on Saturday due to the overflow into First Aid...which was an incredibly smart idea. It was pretty flipping hot!

For so many reasons...I loved this event. Among the main reasons...
  • Our team. Connolly Tacon & Meserve. A first year team...and we raised more than $21,000...on our way to $22,000! The genuine enthusiasm from everyone at Jonathan's law firm was contagious. What else do I love? Every single attorney and staff member from their 19-person office spent time on the track. The Relay broke their goal of $330,000...and it was awesome. Oh, and not to beat a dead horse, but the accounting for our team's funds raised was dead-on. Whoo hoo!
  • Our "Wizard of Oz" themed tent site. Thanks for the creative skills of Kathie, Cindy and Debbie, we had an Emerald City airbrushed backdrop (in purple, of course, designed by Debbie's son Aaron), scary purple lit trees, the scary flying monkeys with scary cancer facts (and how the American Cancer Society comes to the rescue), all the way down to a custom-painted yellow brick road. With spotlights at night lighting up the Emerald was gorgeous. We were beyond blessed with their talents and support.
  • Lap beads. Thanks, Sarah...with your help, we raised more than $750 by selling lap beads on the track! We met a ton of people...and this will definitely be a repeat-fundraiser next year!
  • Having a grill and being able to eat wherever you wanted. I know a few people thought I was nuts at how excited I was by this...but after three years of being a "no food on the track Nazi" at Mt. Tahoma...I absolutely loved walking from tent site to tent site on the track...picking up lemon white chocolate chip cookies, lemonade, hot dogs and chips. We were also lucky recipients of Chuck's grill master skills...from brats and burgers to pancakes, eggs, and sausage early Saturday morning. Spoiled, yes. Not taking it for granted, you better believe it.
  • The hometown feel of the event. Logistics (led by Jerry Gorman's husband Brian) was slammed with a huge challenge just two days before the Relay -- having to completely redesign the tent and Relay layout due to a late seeding of the grass on the field. They rose to the challenge and knocked the ball out of the park. Everyone went with the flow and it turned out beautifully. (I also said several "Thank You God"s that I wasn't on the committee. :) )
  • The Loopholes. I genuinely adore team captains Steve and Gayle Lieberman. I believe we are among the top two teams at this year's Relay...and there was an incredible sense of friendly competition, a genuine graciousness in welcoming our team to the Relay, and a great sense of community between our two teams. Many people from both teams are planning to schedule laps together next year. I love that.
  • The Brownrices. Rich, currently fighting prostate cancer, immediately stepped up to the plate when asked to assist with the event set up. He brought his grandson, Parker, down to help out on Friday, and the rest of the crew arrived that night for their time on the track. Felt just like home.

Onto a few of my favorite photos...more to come in our team thank you video! :)

How can you not love Rosebud in the Survivors' Lap?

Jim Connolly and Gayle Lieberman (of the Loopholes) -- almost sporting a CTM tee

Hotter than a "bitch kitty"...Sister Debbie under the misting spray. Note that it was about 85 degrees at this point...

This dedication on the "wall of hope" left me with tears in my eyes.

Parker, Rich, Kathie and Cindy...during Rich's Survivor Lap at the beginning of the Relay.

A huge thank you to the sisters, the Brownrices, Chuck and Chris, the Thurston Relay Committee, and the crew at CTM who made this an incredible success!

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