Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy National Cancer Survivor Day!

Before I had cancer the first Sunday in June was just that, the first Sunday in June. Since I joined the club of cancer survivors in 2003 it has become something more. The cancer survivor club is the best club nobody every wants to become a member of, but it isn’t choice. On the upside we have a day in our honor and special events like the Relay For Life that bring us together as a symbol that cancer isn’t always the end.

This year I had the great honor of being assigned this day for my Frosting For The Cause entry. I made Lavender Sugar Cookies with Pink Icing this week and while not being a decorative baker, I think I did all right. Where I’ll get you is the story. Please click on over to Frosting For The Cause to find out more about the event and see my recipe and story.

( My cookies attracted a lot of attention and were the first dessert to get finished! )

One of the aspects of participating in Frosting For The Cause is that your treats are donated to a local organization dedicated to cancer. I had the great fortune to being invited to a Relay For Life in Suffield, CT where I could donate my cookies to be served at the survivor reception that is a key part of that event. The Relay For Life is a nearly 30 year old event that occurs in over 4500 communities in the United State each year, and in many countries around the world as well. Relay participants sign up as individuals or teams, raise money and converge on their event site in their local community to do three things. We Relay to celebrate those battling and surviving cancer, remember those we have lost and finally to FIGHT BACK!

( Walking the Survivor Lap at Relay is always a lot of fun. Hope will be our weapon for winning! )

My family and friends have been participating the Relay For Life since 2003 and have raised nearly $80,000 for it and other events like it. Our team tends to be a bit crazy with folks camping out all night (sleeping very little or not at all) and walking endless miles while we are there. Some years I have personally walked more than 40 miles in a little over 24 hours before, during and after the event. Cancer sucks a lot and I believe these actions stand as proof that cancer may be strong, but it is not strong enough and it isn’t going to win!

Relay is a joyous time but it is also strewn with sad stories. Our team and our community’s event has more than our share. Yesterday I learned that my middle school French teacher, Jane, passed away from cancer in 2004 after a very short battle. Her battle was short and severe and it rocked the school, its faculty and the students down to the foundation. Jane’s Team is one of the most successful teams in the history of the Relay I attended yesterday, and after talking to the team captains (teachers I immediately recognized after 25 years!) it is clear that Jane’s memory is the driving force behind the passion of her team. In some years this team has raised $20,000 for their Relay. That is serious business and I can think of no better way to remember someone.

My team’s Relay is coming up in two weeks and we are still pounding the pavement for donations. If you would like to support us you can use this link (updated for 2012) to make an online donation. 100% of the donation goes to the American Cancer Society.

I will be wearing a smile for the rest of the day as I continue to enjoy my survivorship (and a day just for me!) and also because I know that my actions are making a difference. Cancer picked the wrong guy and I am bringing my friends. We’re coming for you cancer…



Two Minute Takes said...

This is a great and inspirational post Jason. Thank you so much for volunteering to be a part of Frosting for the Cause when I know that you are so busy with all your other efforts to raise funds and awareness for cancer research etc. It is phenomenal what you and so many others are doing with these Relays and what you have accomplished with Survivors Rule. I'm delighted that you shared this day with us. Continued success and good health to you in all your wonderful endeavors.

Kate said...

Great post, Jason!!