This past weekend, I was able to join in with many students and cancer-survivors to walk in the Relay for Life that was held on campus. The event was both powerful and emotional, and I had no idea what this event would entail until I was able to experience it firsthand.
The backstory on this event is that one of my Occupational Therapy classmates reached out and asked if I’d be interested in fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Because finding a cure for cancer and supporting those who are suffering with cancer are things that I’m passionate about, I was immediately interested. I posted on Facebook in hopes to get the word out and to give people the opportunity to donate.
I was thinking more about the fundraising than I was about the actual Relay for Life event, so when it came time to actually participate in the walk, I was unprepared for the emotion that it would be filled with. About 15 cancer survivors stood in the front of the gym, and we were able to hear the scary story of one of the survivors. This particular student was balancing both trying to stay in/afford college, as well as battle cancer. It was so eye opening to realize that there’s no reason that those people were standing in front of me, except that cancer unexpectedly hit them. Even though it’s really easy to take my own life for granted, I was struck with how I truly don’t know what my future entails, and I should be very grateful for my current health.
In addition, the second lap of the relay was designated to allowing the caregivers to walk with the survivors. Even though we tend to feel empathetic towards those battling cancer, it’s important to remember that there are many other people whose lives are strongly effected by cancer.