Monday, June 11, 2007

The Relay for Life

It was my first time participating in the Relay for Life and what an experience! I will do my best to share the moments with you so that you can feel as though you were there too. After all, it's thanks to all of you that I was the third highest fundraiser in the Relay (I won a full body massage mat and a $50.00 gift certificate from a local store) and you all had a big part of our team having the third highest team total (we won coffee and hot chocolate it was much appreciated).

I got there at 6:30pm with a loaded car and truck in full O.S. (Overpacker Syndrome) mode. The Mr. and I got right to setting up an area for the soups (our team ate for free and we sold some to participants all the money went to the Relay) and our tent. The Mr. went to get Girly and at 7:00pm, I and everyone there went to stand around the track for the Survivor's Lap. It was the beginning of an incredible night.

After a quick warm up session, the survivors lined up and prepared to begin a walk that would bring back many memories and emotions. Some had been in remission for many years and some were in the midst of their battle. All were feeling everything they had been through. It was apparent in their faces, in their way of walking and in the way they clung to those family members or friends who walked with them in support. More than a few tears flowed both on the faces of those walking and in the crowd lining the track cheering them on. For some the tears were for the people who were no longer there to walk that oval or who were too sick to be there.

Then the second lap was called and all the teams joined the survivors for a lap. The track was filled with people. People of all sizes, ages, races, sexes, social classes and religions banded together to fight a common goal. There was no hate only humans doing what they could to save humanity from a disease. We were strong, we were many and we were one.

The lap was over and the relay began in earnest. I and another member of our team took the first 15 minutes. For a while we changed every 15 minutes, but as the night wore on, if we could be sure someone was on the track walking, we sat and relaxed or we wandered to the Silent Auction tent to see what was there or over to other sites to talk to people we knew. Always in the background the sounds of feet walking the track, children laughing and playing the middle of the field and hundreds of adults talking and enjoying being out.

When dusk fell, it was time for the luminary ceremony. Everyone stopped walking and began lighting the candles in memory of those who were gone or in honour of those who were in the fight for their life. I heard a whispered prayer here and there, I even whispered as few myself.

The dark deepened and the wind blew colder. People were layering or walking wrapped in blankets and fire pits were stoked. The festivities began in earnest. Music pumped through the air, playing children with glow sticks made dancing lights everywhere they went. I began walking more and knitting as I went. The lights from the luminaries glowed warmly over the cold track leaving people enough just enough light to be able to see. People asked me what I was making and I told them a simple washcloth. As each stitch came from my needles though, the washcloth(s) began to be anything but simple. This row had the dancing lights made by children, another had a shout of laughter from a decorated campsite, that one had the simple joy of a soon to be married couple reveling in the happiness of second love. Those stitches were the mother carrying her warmly wrapped infant and these had the smells of food and campfires. All of them carry the sounds of the feet walking with hope.

Morning's light grew stronger and the grim determined look on tired faces became visible. Luminaries were extinguished and clean up by the people not walking began. Breakfast was served and as people had a nice hot meal of pancakes and sausages along with hot coffee and orange juice, the tired looks faded and a new energy started to show.

Finally it was 7:00am and time for the final lap by everyone present. We lined up at the starting line. As everyone gathered, the clouds opened and rays of sun shone down like all the town's loved ones in heaven were standing and cheering.

We walked the final lap and then dispersed to our sites to finish cleaning up. In half an hour, most of the track was empty only a few remained. I finished loading my truck and gave one last look around to see if I had everything. As I did, I heard the faint shuffling sound of feet walking the track and saw the dancing lights of children playing on the field. Words wrapped around me saying in soft echoes, "Our bodies couldn't fight anymore, but our spirit holds strong. Go now, we will walk until your return." Then it was gone and so was I. Forever changed and yet always the same.


Category 1: Everyone who donated. This post has all the photos of the prizes

1. Your choice of S.R. Kertzer's Truffles (wool/cashmere) 2 skeins in pink or grey - Jan Hostage

2. The remaining 2 skeins of S.R. Kertzer's Truffles - Ruth Schmitz

3. Your choice of one of my photos in any size up to 8x10 (I added three new ones). Choose from this flickr set - Pamela Phillips

4. Same prize as above. Same flickr set as above - Anne Pettigrew

5. Same prize as above. Same flickr set as above - Dorothy Neville

6. 1 skein of Noro Silk Garden - Kathie Fredette

7. Giant skein of Bernat dishcloth cotton - Rhonda Culbert

8. Callisto pattern by Suzanne - Lisa Lowe

9. Callisto pattern by Suzanne (same as above) - Paige Maxim

Category #2 - All who donated $10.00 or more. Again, this post has photos of all the prizes.

1. Fleece Artist sock yarn - Andrew Baker

2. Lorna's Laces sock yarn and sock bag - Janice Capoeman

3. Two skeins Sheep Shop One and Luna scarf pattern - Deborah Yin

4. Socks that Rock sock yarn and sock bag - Deborah Wilson

5. 2 skeins handpainted Dorchester Farms sock yarn and Luna scarf pattern - Deborah Wilson

6. Two skeins "After the Party" handpainted and donated by Rabbitch - Sarah Burrows

7. 10 skeins of Briggs and Little's Heritage yarn - Joan Kristjansson

8. A Season's Tale by Kim Hargreaves - Sarah Carey

9. 2 skeins Misti Pima Cotton Silk in Red - Carry Tveit

10. 20 dishcloth patterns courtesy of Sue at Harvest Moon designs (I will e-mail them to you in pdf format. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader you can get it for free here) - Dee Landreneau

11. 20 dishcloth patterns (same as above) - Pat Uren

12. 20 dishcloth patterns (same as above) - Elisabeth Patterson

13. 20 dishcloth patterns (same as above) - Bridget Hill

14. 20 dishcloth patterns (same as above) - Cynthia Crysdale

Thank you again to all who helped to make my walk in the Relay such a success and so memorable. I hope each of you are lucky enough to have an experience with as much positive impact as I had at the Relay.

Now, what you all really came here to see.

"A very impressive total!"

"My hat off to all of you."

"Now, I will eat my hat."

I need some time this morning.

The post you are waiting for is coming. I'm as organized as a loaded semi rolling down a hill this morning and aside from much sleeping and whining about sore legs, I didn't get a lot done this weekend.

Here is a little preview picture. The rest should be done and up this afternoon sometime.

Friday, June 8, 2007


There were a number of you who saw that we were just short of my goal, opened your hearts and donated more so we would make it.

Thank you to every single one of you! I (and the Mr.) am humbled by your willingness to support me in raising money for cancer and also I am a lot pleased with just how many of you want to see a man show all of you he is sorry. You crack me up and I love you for it! Look for that on Monday along with a quick write up of the Relay and of course prize winners.

We managed to come up with a grand total of $2,095.04!! [ETA: You guys are really fast, in the time it took me to write this on my main blog, another person donated another $10.00!]

How awesome are you!! Thank you. All of you! Without all of you hitting that Paypal button, donating on the Canadian Cancer Society's website and sending money in the mail, I and the Mr. would have raised $143.70 locally. That is the power of you. I received 105 donations from a total of 89 people. Less than 100 people came up with $2,095.04. For real. So the next time you are feeling frustrated and invisible, think about what impact you had in this fundraiser and know that you are visible and you can do it because you just did.

Now, I have much to do and if I don't get off this computer, I will be feeling frustrated and rushed.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thursday, June 7, 2007


That's how close we are. We have managed to collect $1757.04 thus far and that is amazing! We have one day left until the Relay. So tell all your friends, tell anyone you think would be willing to donate! We are so damn close to a very apologetic husband photo! I am not positive, but I think we are also setting the record for the most money raised by one person in the Relay in our town. Last year the town (est. 5,500 people) came up with over $9,000.00 and this year I think we are going to blow that out of the water. All of you are a big part of that whether you sent $5.00 or $100.00. You each had a big impact on that number and an even bigger impact on the people who are living with cancer right now. All they have to do is look at the donation sheets to see the long list of all the people who care about them. That matters. It matters a lot to know that people care about your problems and suffering. Most of all that they want to help put an end to it. Bless each and everyone of you.

I am getting excited and nervous since this is my first time in the Relay and it is nearly here. The weather is going to make sure that it is a memorable night. Not just for the intensity of the survivor's, their families, their friends and the experience of the event. Environment Canada is calling for showers with a high of 17*C/63*F and they don't have a low predicted, but tonight's predicted low is 7*C/45*F and Saturday's is 10*C/50*F. I imagine Friday's low will be Notwarm*C/Cooltocold*F.

Now for final prizes added to the pot. I will be doing the draws on Monday afternoon and mailing on the 20th. I need a bit cash recovery time and packaging time.

In the $10.00 or more category.

Two skeins of Misti Cotton. A pure joy to knit with and quite frankly, I am going sad to see it go. It really is that beautiful. There are 175m/100g of Peruvian Pima Cotton (83%)/Silk (17%). Colour; 0259, Dyelot; 7914.

In the all donors category:

The most generous Suzanne is sending two copies of her beautiful Callisto pattern. So there will be two more winners in that category.

Again, I wish I had something for every single on of you. You have lifted my heart and brought a smile to my face everyday when I check in and see all the generous donations to such a great cause. My Mr. is both impressed that we came up with so much so fast and nervous that we will meet my goal. He is a very good natured person and will pose for the photo all in good clean fun. He has just been working nights for far too long in an industry that does it's best to keep their maintenance department invisible (knowing that planes need regular fixing isn't a comforting thought for the people that buy tickets to fly on them) and has lost touch with a lot of the good in humanity. You are not only helping people with cancer, but reminding the Mr. of just how many good, kind and thoughtful people there really are out there in the daylight.

This bud is an excellent example of how something small can bloom into a beauty of many petals. So a small donation made by one person can turn into the beauty of a big donation made by many.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It's the Final Countdown!

We're heading for Relay and we stand tall.

We have raised $1,549.34 now! Rock on with our bad selves! Word. You have to say that like Carlton (Link is a Youtube video) from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I am as cool as he is although he rocks the dance and I have two lead (left isn't quite as clumsy) feet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


We are so close I can almost see the photo of the Mr. now! $519.66 to go. We can do it!

We have raised an incredible amount of money for Cancer and I am impressed with all of you and how generous you have been.

I will be accepting donations until this Friday (June 8th) at 2:00pm Central Daylight Savings time. I need to have a total to take to the Relay with me and since we will begin setting up our site at 4:00pm it would be helpful for me to have it all added up and ready to go then. If any donations come in after that, they will still go to the Relay so no worries if you can't donate until Saturday morning. I will be taking the Paypal info down on Sunday after I sleep so that will be the final cut off. Again, all funds donated go to the Relay.

Also, for anyone who has been touched by cancer or has a loved one who is fighting it or has already gone on, you can purchase luminaries for the Relay in your area, which are set up along the track and lit at night. You will be able to choose an inscription for your luminary either in honour of someone fighting, or in memory of someone who is gone. You can also add a little message along with their name. There is more about them on the links and how to purchase one for your area.

Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life

American Cancer Society Relay for Life I can't find a specific page about the luminaries here, but they are mentioned on the forum somewhere.

Many thanks and blessings to all of you.

Sorry if Bloglines is driving you nuts about how many times I published this one. Apparently I am having trouble getting my act together this morning.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


You are all incredible people!

As of this morning that is our new total. Also (still my favourite word) this morning, I received a most generous offer of 100 patterns courtesy of Sue at Harvest Moon Designs! She has some beautiful dishcloth patterns.

I think I will break them down into lots of 20 for all who donate $10.00 or more which means you will be winning a book worth of dishcloth designs in PDF format to enjoy.

Also (again!) my Paypal Donate button is under my profile in my sidebar. It is very small so it can be hard to miss. If you prefer, I can send you an invitation directly from my personal page on the Canadian Cancer Society's website (credit cards only) you just need to e-mail me at duchofb at yahoo dot ca and let me know where to send the invite.

Thank you again for all who have been so kind as to donate. I wish I had gifts for all of you.