Monday, August 14, 2006

2006 Relay for Life

A week ago, we spent our Friday night wandering in circles ... seriously, we were making laps at the Bloomington Stadium as part of our city's Relay For Life - a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Along with our friends the Johnsons (and quite a few others, too!), we spent 12 hours walking ... dancing ... singing ... playing ... remembering ... and sleeping a little bit, too.

If you have never been to a Relay, you ought to come see. For months prior to the event, we collected donations and made luminaria in memory or honor of those we know who have fought cancer. All the luminaria are set up to ring the track, and then at dusk they are lit.

This year there were about 1500 candles, each representing someone who successfully battled cancer, or currently is dealing with it, or who has lost their life to the illness. Once they were all lit and the stadium lights were dimmed, the power of the love represented by those bags was overwhelming.

The first lap after the opening ceremonies was for all the cancer survivors present. That's our friend Shawn at the end of the banner, waving.

Throughout the night there were a variety of activities and mini-events like tugs-of-war (all the kids vs one firefighter was pretty fun! It took 3 firefighters to beat the team of kids), pie-eating contests, a duct-tape fashion show, and musical chairs. Ty and Ben found a place where you could win Beanie Babies.

The Bloomington Firefighters had a dunk-tank, and they themselves were very inspiring as they made their rounds in full fire-fighting gear, complete with oxygen tanks. We were sweating in our t-shirts and shorts - we can't imagine how they felt. One strong fighter even did a lap in full gear plus his daughter on his shoulders! When the night got a little slow, they took a quick trip over to the Bloomington Ice Garden and brought back enough snow to make a snow man firefighter!

At one point a group of our neighbors came over to say hello - we are all celebrating one neighbor's successful bout with cancer, so here we all are by the bags with Marty's name on them.

In the wee-hours, they played a lot of great music from the 70's. I could sing along to everything! They played songs from Grease which really got Shawn and I moving, then Ben had a blast trying to capture me dancing to Footloose - the one song in the world that I absolutely cannot stay still to.

I haven't heard yet how much money was raised, but we had a great time - both at the event itself, and in the knowledge that we helped raise funds for this important cause. Thanks to all who supported us - and if you didn't this year, we will most likely be doing it again in 2007!

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