Friday, June 12, 2009

12 of 12: The Relay For Life Edition

As the last few days haven't been as happy as I'd hoped them to be, using the 12 of 12 to highlight something that brings joy to my life was the perfect solution. I've spent the last 7 years fighting cancer through the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

Over the years, I've been a team captain, activities and entertainment chair, event chair, leading the training team for our division, serving on the national training team, and training foreign events in Europe for International Relay. My (now) husband even proposed at the event in 2007. Through last year, the teams I've had the privilege of captaining have raised $200,000 (4 Merrill Lynch teams and 1 Connolly Tacon & Meserve team).

This year, Relay will take place in 5000+ communities in 19 countries. And it all began right here in Tacoma, Washington. I was an event chair in 2004 - when we celebrated the 20th anniversary in Tacoma - so it was a big change to come to the event and be able to simply soak it in as a participant.

Relay is a life-changing overnight event - this year, bringing more than 3.5 million people together around the world to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those we've lost, and fight back. The funds raised (more than $2 billion dollars since Dr. Klatt first walked the track in 1985 in Tacoma) support life saving research, cancer education, patient support and advocacy.

I love that Relay For Life fights all cancers.

And this was the first Relay that my son, the Wee Ski, has been to outside the womb. At seven weeks old, he was taking part in his first Great West Division trainings, so it was really fun to have him here last night.

Anyway - enough words. I couldn't choose just 12 photos, so there are 2 bonus images in here. All from today, the 12th.

This is the 25th Anniversary celebration of Relay For its birthplace in Tacoma. The theme was an 80s theme to honor the year 1985. More than 800 survivors were expected to join in for the first lap - and thousands were there to cheer them on.

The Opening Lap of Cancer Survivors
Banner carried by the younger survivors. How much do I love seeing the little girl (3rd from the left) of whom I shot this award-winning photograph of at the 20th Anniversary?

Team Henley cheering on the survivors

A husband and wife team - both cancer survivors

Event tees from across the nation and around the world

How can you not love her smile?

Walking the luminaria
At night, each bag bears the name of someone who has had cancer. They are lit with candles, and provide the light to walk through the night.

A young survivor running her first lap

My mom.
Please note that her excitement has nothing to do with me, but seeing her grandson at his first Relay For Life. Merrill Lynch's theme this year is "Don't Stop Bull-ieving" from the 80s song. :)

Dave and Kristi, during the survivors lap

The amazing Kathy Cina
She Relays in Oregon, but came up for the event. She made Thomas a sweet little Wee Bees hat, and it happened to match his 80s themed "I Pity The Drool" onesie. How cute is that?!?

Wenatchee Relayers who crossed the mountains to join us
Including Michelle and Melissa, who I've been able to train with on the Division Training Task Force

The Flynn Family Team
Pat Flynn, affectionately titled "The Mother of Relay" and her team. She's in white, in the upper middle. She has been involved in Relay since the very first year it was a team event - and has been instrumental in its growth both nationally and internationally. And each year...her family joins her as a team to fight cancer.

Two of my favorite people to Relay with :)

Relaying...Puerto Rican style!
Relayers from events in Puerto Rico traveled up to Tacoma to celebrate as well...bearing Spanish Relay hats: "Relevo Por La Vida" How awesome is that?!?

For more information on Relay For Life and how you can fight back, click here!
To view how others spent the 12th in 12 images...visit Chad Darnell's page here!


Dogeared said...

It looks like an awesome day, and certainly worth documenting! I hope Viper's home again soon [hug]

khowaga said...

Y'know, sometimes the 12th just happens to fall on the right day -- and what a day for you!! It looks like it was awesome :)

Nice 12!

Tai said...

Shelley it was so cool to meet you in person! I've been stalking your blog for a little while, via Kathy's blog, and on the drive up from Portland I was so excited- like I was going to meet a celebrity!
The Tacoma Relay was amazing and I'm so glad we could come up to celebrate!

Karen said...

I'm SOOOO glad you posted your pics!! I've been waiting to see them... I was so sad I couldn't be there!

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