Sunday, May 27, 2012

Relay for Life 2012

Friday, May 4th, our area held its annual Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society. This is a huge event in our area, and everyone in the community comes out to show their support for this incredible cause.

Josh's bank always has a great theme and this year it was a medieval theme. Their motto was "Protect the Kingdom from Cancer." They made their booth look like a medieval castle and even had some of their employees dress up in medieval clothes.

While we were waiting for the event to get started, Eli and I headed over to where the Deputy Sherriffs were to look at their horses. We were just going to look at the horses, but one of the Deptuty Sherriffs saw us near the pen and offered to let Eli inside for a closer look. Eli went right to him and had no problem whatsoever getting close to those horses.

Then I was surprised when the Sherriff put Eli on top of the saddle and told him to hold on. Eli was so happy, but a little nervous at first. He was holding on to that saddle horn so tightly!

By the time he got halfway around the pen, he was feeling much more comfortable and started to sit up straight in the saddle. He loved riding that horse! After his ride was over, he wanted to go see all the other horses and ride those, too! I'm glad he got to have another fun life experience :)

We walked back to the booth, but the event still hadn't officially started. Sarah, one of Josh's friends little girl, showed us her special Ariel balloon girl and told us where we could get one for Eli. She said the Balloon Man could make anything you wanted. Eli, of course, wanted Spiderman. I don't really know where his love for Spiderman came from because he hasn't seen the first cartoon about him, but he definitely loves him. 

Luckily for us, we got to the balloon man before people really knew what he was doing so we didn't have to wait that long in line. Later on that night, Spiderman had to have a repair job on his legs and the line was backed up about 3 booths. This guy really did his part raising funds for Relay for Life.

Eli paid complete attention to the balloon man while he made him a Spiderman. He didn't move!

It took maybe 3-5 minutes and then he was finished. We had a Spiderman!

To say Eli was excited would be an understatement :) He LOVED his Spiderman balloon.

We made it back to the booth just in time to watch the Survivor's make their special lap around the track. These are some of the most incredible people I've ever met. Most of them are fighting or have fought a battle with cancer, but they are still some of the most positive and upbeat people ever. 

Josh's boss and friend, Cliff, is a perfect example. You will not meet a better man that Mr. Cliff. Josh has such great admiration and respect for this man. He has been battling cancer ever since 2008 and that smile has been on his face the entire time. He is precious to our family and to so many others in the community. When he rounded the corner of the track and saw all his bank family waiting for him and cheering him on, he raised his hands in the air and smiled the biggest smile. He has so many people that love him and are praying for him.

After the survivors made their lap, it was time for the Caregiver's Lap. Mr. Cliff's wife, Mrs. Debra, and  one of their daughters, Jessie, made the lap with Mr. Cliff. They have both been there to take care of Mr. Cliff and to help him during his battle with cancer. I loved the fact that Mr. Cliff and Mrs. Debra never let go of each other's hands. The love they have for each other just emanates from them. 

After the Caregiver's Lap, it was time for the Team Lap. All of Josh's friends and co-workers got behind their banner to walk for this lap. They're a great group of people that feel more like family than coworkers.

After the Team Lap, we all settled down to rest for a little bit. We ate some food, talked to some friends, and waited for the special ceremony where they lit the luminaries in honor of all those that lost their battle with cancer.

Eli saw several little boys with light up swords so he asked if he could get one too. I love events like Relay for Life because all of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, so everything you buy is a donation to this incredible organization. Plus, Eli LOVED his light up sword. He and Reve's little boys, Drew and Scott, played for about a solid hour with their swords.

It finally came time to light the luminaries for the special ceremony and we got a great surprise. This year the American Cancer Society made a special sky lantern for teams to light and send off into the sky. Imagine that scene from Tangled where you see all the lanterns in the sky...that's what our view looked like! It was incredible!

Reve's boys, Drew and Scott, lit a special lantern for their daddy who battled cancer.

Eli loved lighting the lanterns too. It really was a special and memorable time for everyone.

Lighting those lanterns and seeing them floating away in the sky was such a vivid reminder of the many people whose lives have been touched by cancer. I pray that one day very soon someone will find a cure for this horrible disease, but until then, if you are one of those who are fighting, please know that there are thousands of people that are praying for you. We pray for God's healing, for his peace, and for his comfort to take over your life. You are not alone in your fight; God is right there with you. Please know that you are all in our prayers...

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