• 72°

We all need Relay for Life

By By JUDY PYLATE
2001 Relay for Life Chairman
Who needs Relay for Life? The person who has lost a loved one quickly to this dread disease, the person who has lost a loved one slowly, one day at a time, or the survivor who counts the days and minutes from one year to the next.
Answer? WE ALL DO !
If you have never been touched by cancer, count yourself lucky. If you are like me and have seen all three scenarios, consider yourself among the majority. Too many times this is the case.
I have watched my loved one die quickly – in the short span of three weeks – and I was left with a sense of loss that I can explain in one word: ANGER. I was so angry for a year and a half that I could not grieve properly. Then after that time of anger I still had to cope with the loss. Daddy was gone and there was nothing I could do about it … nothing, that is,except Relay for Life.
The first year I gave myself to it half-heartedly. The next year I found what I was looking for – that peace above all peace and a joy for a job to be done. I could actually help someone who was following in my footsteps.
I have had the opportunity during the last few years to talk to many about Relay for Life. I have sat with them, my hand in theirs, and listened to their stories. I have hugged many people with tears running down their faces, too overcome to even be able to voice their feelings, and I have watched as Atmore's survivors begin that walk each year … the walk that assures them that another year has gone by and they have made it.
I have also in this time listened to survivors – that is, those family members left behind to deal with the loss of a loved one. I have heard the grief, the anger, and the sadness in their voice. I have cried as I heard their stories. I always cry, for no matter how many stories I hear, all of them are unique.
I have promised many survivors that I would meet them at the park on June 8, 2001 and walk, push, pull, or drag them around that track. I will do this for my Daddy (who lost his battle), and after that night in the park where we sing together, play together, cry together, pray together, and rejoice together over each and every small victory, I will go home and begin to plan my next night in the park – the 2002 Relay For Life.