This past weekend I participate in Adair County's Relay for Life. As the team captain, I was required to stay there the entire twelve hours. And trust me, it was no walk in the park. Taking place in the elementary school's gym and cafeteria, volunteers walked for more birthdays. Food was sold, Tupperware was available, and other knick-knacks to commemorate the day were given out. My own team, Tau Lambda Sigma, works all year for this day and it is my pleasure to share a rough summary of the day with you and the lovely men and women of Parks and Recreation.
Before Relay: I, of course in my usual fashion, injured the back of my ankle on my screen door while loading Relay related items into my car. This would normally be something I would slap a Band-Aid on (yes, I carry a small first-aid kit with me because so goes my life) and call it good. The only problem that I had was the fact that I had gouged my ankle exactly where my shoe rubbed against it. But it was going to be okay because I got a venti from Starbucks and today was my day.
Hour 1: Elation that all of our hard work is finally culminating in a wonderful day.
Hour 2: The excitement, while still apparent, is a little dimmed by the continuous walking and stressing about all the things I forgot to bring (aka my glasses for when my contacts started to burn my eyeballs).
Hour 3: I get my first bowl of Buffalo Chicken Dip (BCD) from one of the other teams. It literally spoke to my soul and calmed my hangry demons.
Hour 4: I'm back to walking and it's starting to hurt my past injuries. In my own clumsy fashion, I have hyperextended one knee and recently self-diagnosed myself with a dislocated knee. People around me are still happy and peppy but I'm just like "where can I get my next coffee fix?"
Hour 5: People are starting to depart from my team, leaving my co-captain and I, along with ten other people, behind. They complete the Survivor's and Caregiver's lap, which leaves me an emotional wreck and one wrong word from anyone could set off the waterworks.
Hour 6: While walking, I scope out my dinner options: do I go for the BCD again or get a hot dog from another team? Why not both? While I'm at it, I'll buy some raffle tickets for different baskets.
Hour 7: I listened to Donna. Now, I have a full stomach and no motivation. I need a good nap and maybe some more coffee.
Hour 8: In an effort to hydrate, I drank a bottle of water, but soon felt the water diluting the caffeine content of my blood. Someone has recognized my need for life essence and brought me a large coffee full of goodness.
Hour 9: As an introvert, I hate being around large crowds for long periods of time. After 9 hours of being in a space with no less than 100 people, I was ready to find a corner and just have some alone time. Unfortunately, alone time was not in my cards.
Hour 10: After my fifth coffee, the crazy, hysterical side of me has set in and taken over. I'm no longer myself, but a strangled and crazed new side of Julianna.
Hour 11: After drinking about the sixth coffee for the day, I find myself rallying for the night.
Hour 12: It's done! It's over! Our team did supremely well and I would never have gotten this far without them. There's only five of us that are left and we congratulate ourselves on making it this far. I wouldn't have traded it for the world. I'm a little sad it's over, actually.
Overall, Relay is amazing and fun and exciting, even if it is long. It's a day where a whole community comes together to walk for more birthdays and raise some money along the way. It's an experience everyone should experience just once in their life. The Survivor's walk - where survivors and caregivers walk together for a lap — and the Luminaria ceremony — where survivors and people who have fallen to their cancers are honored — are incredibly eye-opening and allow a person to re-evaluate what's important in life. I encourage everyone to look at American Cancer Society's website for when their area's Relay for Life event is.