Family First

The reason my family and I headed out East for the weekend was in honor of my Uncle who passed away last August. After some debate, I blogged about our weekend in NY. Although it was a truly sad occasion, it really brought our family together (under one roof actually thanks to Hurricane Irene), and good memories, laughter, and joy followed. I found writing about the weekend to be a challenge as I am not the most articulate person, but the process helped me cope during a sad time and emphasized the importance of family. Since our family lives so far away, I cherish the adventures that we have together and every day I am so thankful to have such a warm, compassionate, and supportive network of people to lean on. For all of these reasons, I didn’t think twice about taking an afternoon off from work to jet out to NY last weekend!

 

On Saturday night, we had the opportunity to attend the local Relay for Life.  My aunt and cousin are both cancer survivors, and they were being honored at a ceremony before the event.

 

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After the ceremony, we made our way down towards the track for the start of the walk.  If you have never attended a Relay for Life event, it is a huge outdoor community-supported fundraiser where teams of people take turns walking (usually around a high school track) for up to 24 hours through the night.  In our town, the high school students plan, organize, and run the entire event.  They form teams, make creative shirts, sleep in tents, and pull the community together to support The American Cancer Society.

 

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My cousin teaches at a nearby elementary school, and he was recognized by numerous kids as we made our way down to the track.  It was sweet to see how excited they were to see him and meet his family!

 

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It was an absolutely gorgeous evening!

 

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And we enjoyed spending the time together to honor my uncle and celebrate life!  When it came time to start the relay, the survivors walk the first lap together.  It was hard not to get choked up thinking of all the people I know who have been touched by cancer. 

 

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The second lap is for ‘caregivers’, which is anyone who has cared for and supported anyone with cancer. We all joined in and walked this lap together.  I definitely got teary eyed thinking about this past year, and all of the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who inspire me every day!  I am unable to express in words how I good it felt to share this weekend with my family.  I just felt so lucky to be apart of this special day!

 

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It reminded me of the meaningful life lessons I learned on my 30th birthday!

 

 

The next time life throws you a hurricane…

Surround yourself with the people you love.

Take time to talk, tell stories, laugh, and cry.

Create memories that you will share with generations to come.

And be thankful you’re able to sit back, reflect, and find the joy hidden inside the storm!

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