I Relay for hope, a cure, a world with more birthdays, the list is endless….
I’ve been relaying for over 4 years now with both Relay For Life UCC and Relay For Life Kilkenny. My relay experience began when I joined UCC Cancer Society during my first few days of moving to Cork and starting college. After my first Relay in UCC I was eager to see what Relay in my hometown of Kilkenny was like. And here I am almost 5 years later still involved as a committee member!
Relay For Life brings together a community of strangers and creates a family. We all have one thing in common- we all know a loved one or a friend who has experienced cancer. This common bond gives us the drive to come together, work hard and bring Relay For Life to so many communities throughout Ireland each year. Relay For Life has had a significant impact on my life. While contributing and volunteering as a committee member, I have made life-long friendships. Friends that have inspired me and made me a stronger person.
Since becoming involved I have become more aware of the number of people who suffer from cancer. The statistics are shocking. Seeing how quickly loved ones can be lost to cancer really struck me. I know a number of people who have had their own battles with cancer or are currently battling, and seeing the effect it can have on families and loved ones is one of the reasons I continue to Relay.
My favourite part of Relay is the candle of hope ceremony. Although this is the most emotional part of relay, it is also inspiring and gives us the strength to fight back. It is a time for reflection, remembering those who are no longer with us as we walk around the track reading messages of love and hope on the candle bags that line the track, flickering in the darkness. We are all there, walking alone, yet surrounded by each other, in hope and celebration of those lost to cancer.
Relay is so much more than just walking around a track. Relay is a 24-hour party; it is like a mini festival with music and entertainment of all sorts throughout the 24 hours. At Relay, we unite, we walk, we laugh, we cry and we fight.
The Relay motto is: ‘Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back’. Relay brings the community together for one reason- to fight back against cancer. Through Relay, we all do our part in the fight against cancer. We relay to create awareness, to raise funds and to celebrate life. It is an opportunity for friends and family to come together in one place, to celebrate those who survived, remember loved ones, and fight back.
I have met so many amazing people through Relay, each with their own incredible stories to share. To see friendships formed by those sharing the Relay experience is touching.
As a volunteer there’s a lot to organise and the planning can get stressful in the lead up to the big day. But when the day comes and I see the survivors smiling and laughing together, the track lined with candle bags in memory of loved ones, listen to touching stories, the teams enjoying themselves, and the community coming together to fight back, I realise it has all been worth it. It’s always a proud moment when we walk the final lap together after a successful Relay and see what we can achieve when we all come together to Relay!
I Relay for the survivors, loved ones lost to cancer and all those battling cancer at present. I relay for a the nurses, doctors and carers. I relay for a cure, a world with more birthdays.