Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Field of Dreams

What a weekend.

On Friday and Saturday, the Relay For Life of Thurston County was held at Black Hills High School in Tumwater.  For 24 hours, we celebrated our survivors, remembered those we've lost, and fought back.

Lots of firsts this year: first time that Thomas stayed overnight (outside the womb), first time that we attended a funeral during the Relay: spending a few hours away and coming back with a renewed fire for eliminating the disease, and finally, the first time my dad walked in the Survivor Lap during Opening Ceremonies.   A great deal of emotion all rolled up into one day.

The event's theme was a movie theme -- picturing a cure.  We adopted the movie Field of Dreams, after one of Jim's favorite movies.  In his advice card to Jonathan and me at our wedding, he told us to "go the distance".  This weekend, we all did.

Awesome tent decor by Danielle and Theresa...with real corn and all!  A beautiful corn mural is behind...

Thomas and Dad, before Opening Ceremonies...

Rich and Sandy came down for the third year in a row to Thurston...I love their shirts together.  :) 


We were blessed by an awesome number of visitors from "the north"...including my parents, the Brownrices, Erin Sheahan and her son Trent, Stephanie Christensen, Karen and Dave Conley, Michael G and Marian Swanson below...

It was so good to see Marian.  She was always one of my favorite captains in Tacoma...she surprised me on the track.  The son of her good friend, Lucinda, had formed his own Relay team in the Thurston event, so she came down to support him...and realized that it was the event I was at now!  They both walked in the survivor lap as well.  And as always, the six degrees of Ski continues...and the son and Jonathan went to college together at St. Martin's.  :)

Mom and Dad with me

The Conleys!!  YEA!!  It was their turn to crash our event!

My favorite bunch of survivors EVER.

This year, we rallied around Jim Connolly.  As his fight continues, we hoped to give him and his family and awesome weekend of support and love...and raise a little money to honor him in the process.  He joined his dad in the Survivors Lap, carrying our team baton.

Finian Road designed these sweet vinyl banners -- using two smaller ones instead of one long one because of the giant wheels that  the Connollys used on the track.  :)  One had our baseball team logo (also designed by Finian Road) and the other simply had "Connolly's Crew", the Relay logo, the date and their family motto for Jim's journey:  Choose Life and Expect the Best.

One of the most bittersweet moments was when Gayle Lieberman, captain of our main "rival" team (but one of the sweetest ladies in the entire world), asked if she could be part of Connolly's Crew after she walked in the Survivor Lap herself.  I started crying when she asked if she could "borrow" a team tee.  She joined us in support of Jim.  So awesome.

We organized the "Connolly's Crew" lap to fall in with the caregiver lap -- as the Crew are all caregivers in some way to them.  Cathy pushed Jim in the wheelchair, and everyone followed in behind. 

Everyone together on the bleachers...Jim is surrounded by his mom and dad, with wife Cathy and daughter Caitlin and son-in-law Shaune right behind him.  Lots of family (both related and CTM) filled the rest of the seats.

Mom and Dad tended the lap beads while we were walked the "Connolly's Crew" lap and took the team photo.

At 10, we lit our luminaria around the track.  Each luminaria beared the name(s) of those we love who have had cancer.  They glowed throughout the night, giving light to walk the track.

Michael G joined us then, and it was the first time ever at a Relay that he and I just got to sit together and enjoy it.  Usually, he's MC'ing Tacoma and I was either chairing or captaining.   IT. WAS. AWESOME. 

A few of Thomas's luminaria...

Below, shot by Michael G

Six years ago, two luminaria that I'd never thought I'd see together...

The Skis

Thomas LOVED everything about Relay.  The people, the bubbles, running all around, waving to EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT WOULD WAVE BACK and every single person who wouldn't (he'd just wave harder).  He was in heaven.  Everyone loved his little Grand Club shirt, showing that he raised more than $1000. 

Just to show you that tantrums do happen at Relay on you see:

But two minutes later, he's recovered and ready to rumble.

Want to know how to get your wife to bid on a handmade fire pedal truck?

Ask the guy who made it to use your son as a 'model' in the truck for a lap around the track, advertising the silent auction.  I think I cost myself an extra $50 with that...because I found a number of new bidders when we finished the lap! 

Driving is very serious business.

And of course, after the Skis were the lucky winners of the silent auction, Thomas and Stephan rode it ALL AROUND.  And then the Heritage Bank team delivered it to the farm early Sunday morning because we didn't have any extra room.  How's that for service?!?

The Skis, late Saturday afternoon...

The Wee Ski, sound asleep on the drive home.  He's taken 3+ hour naps EVERY DAY since then.  He earned them though, he was a super trooper. 

But you know, there is still one thing to celebrate!!

Thomas, throw your hands up to celebrate with us!

At the end of the event, we finished with more than $46,000 in the of right now, we are just $1356.43 away from our $50,000 goal!

If you have two minutes (which if you're reading this, you've already spent a few minutes here, so why not click the link?!?), take a minute to watch our thank you video...

And know that we appreciate every bit of your support over the past Relay year.

And we look ahead to 2011...because there's no finish line until there's a cure! 



KCina said...

Awesome, simply AWESOME!!! I started crying when I read all your photos captions! ;-)

You guys get your Relay's name printed on the back of the $1K shirts, WOW!!!..that was worth the wait!!! Need to talk to Wendy about that one...

Do you send your luminaria bags thru your printer for two bags with your dad & John's names on them? If so, can you send me the file if it was you and already set-up to print? ;-)

So glad Thomas was able to spend the night this year...I know Charlie LOVES spending the night, staying up late and then hanging out with everyone in the morning...that's the one good thing about having a kiddo that everybody knows and wears a red shirt...lots of smiles, high fives and Relay spirit that can't be beat!

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