Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that I love my sleep. So the typical all nighter that seem so inherent to the college lifestyle is something I know I would never be able to accomplish. I have tried on several occasions (especially during finals week) to stay up and finish all my work, but no matter how much I have to get done, around 130am I am done. I am physically incapable of pulling an all nighter.. except for one night of the year, the night of Relay for Life. I don't care how tired I am, how much I value my sleep, or how much caffeine I have to ingest to help me stay awake, I somehow manage to walk all through the night because cancer sucks. It's as simple as that.
I remember when I was younger and my older sisters used to participate in Relay for Life with their high schools, and I was always so jealous they got to go spend an entire night with their friends while I had to stay at home. And then my older sister, Alyson, went to college and being the incredible woman that she is, took it upon herself to become a co-chair and plan the event herself. All the while, I never really understood how important this event was, why my sisters went back every year, or why Alyson was so passionate about making her Relay the best possible...until I participated last year.
For those have not heard of Relay For Life, it is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society in which participants dedicate their entire night (cancer never sleeps so neither should we), to walking around a track and raising money to fight back against a disease that affects so many people. Relay and the American Cancer Society celebrate those battles against cancer that have been won, remember those that we have lost, and fight back against the cancer that is affecting people now and will affect people in the future. To try to explain the emotions that are encompassed inside the gymnasium on the night of Relay is almost impossible. It is this indescribable mix of joy, sorrow, and hope that has changed my view on a lot of things, especially this disease I have come to hate with every fiber of my being.
I learned so much last year through my participation in Relay for Life, but most of all it taught me how lucky I am. Lucky that I am healthy, lucky that I have an incredible support system to help me through a night that was really difficult for me, and lucky that even though I had to say goodbye to my friends too soon, it wasn't before they changed my life in the best way possible. I am lucky to have known them, to have been touched by their beauty, and to have been introduced to this organization. Cancer sucks, but little by little the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life is making it suck just a little but less. I cannot wait to see what this years Relay for Life has in store for me and my team, and I can't wait to be back in that gymnasium surrounded by that indescribable sorrow, joy, and hope.
It's not too late to join a team, donate, or simply pray for those affected and those walking :) http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kelseyhau