Why do YOU Relay?

Mom & Buddy

 I thought I’d take a different route in tonight’s blog…it’s been a while since I’ve written much of my own. With my hectic schedule, it’s hard to find time to write anymore. But I try when I can.

As expected, I’m heavily involved in the Relay for Life again. Heading up the Activities & Entertainment Committee like last year. Although this year I’ve gotten a little wiser…Jeff and I are setting up a sub-committee. Matt has joined me this time around and Amanda will most likely help out again as well. We’re working on gathering a few more people yet as well. The goal is to have a full committee so that our team can efficiently run and we can also keep the activities and entertainment going on all night while still allowing everyone to get a little rest. Last year I tried to do everything myself with last minute help from Amanda and some of my team mates and Jeff helped out where he could. This resulted in me jogging back and forth across the event much of the evening and my phone was ringing almost constantly with people needing assistant. I am trying to prevent that from happening again this year.

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is what are people’s reasons behind the Relay? Are they personal, are they in memory of someone, are they to do good in the community, or are they something else? I’ve started to find that it seems like a lot of people get involved in stuff for the wrong reasons anymore…instead of doing it for genuinely good reasons, they do it mainly out of greed. Not necessarily monetary gain, but attention, prizes, popularity, etc.

The past couple Relay meetings, a person there has caused a commotion because they aren’t getting their way. First they were upset because they already paid their $10 registration fee and in order to register online, they would have to pay again as they had no way to bypass the registration fee on the website. Their original $10 fee would be credited toward their team at a later date however, or they could register a little later with one of the committee members and they would manually waive the registration fee. Now if you’re smart, you’ll realize that a simple solution is as soon as you get cash donations from people to turn in, you just pull out $10 and pocket it. Boom. Instant reimbursement. No. Instead this person had to make the entire committee look bad because they had to make a huge deal out of how we stole their $10 and it’s “not right” as they said. Sorry, computer systems don’t always function the way we’d like. We work around the glitches as much as we can though and that’s exactly what did in that situation.

Now at last night’s meeting, this same person (who ended up storming out at last month’s meeting) again flipped out on the committee when we made them aware that their team would not be indoors this year. In the past few years, there has been a building where the track goes through and there are approximately 20 sites inside that building. We re-routed the track so that it would be more scenic, easier to project sound across (we had numerous complaints that the sound wasn’t reaching a large portion of our track last year due to buildings blocking it/people being indoors where the speakers weren’t reaching), and closer to the main road so as to get more attention from passers-by. In doing so, we had to eliminate all indoor sites, though to help resolve this situation with people, we’re trying to obtain a large tent to at least give them some form of protection against the elements. This person has insisted on having the same site as last year. So when we informed them that the track had been re-routed, they instantly became angered stating they aren’t participating because it’s too cold, sometimes it rains, etc, etc.

Okay okay…yeah…I agree. It does get cold. But here’s the thing…there are a number of us with outdoor sites (myself included) because unfortunately, not EVERYBODY was able to fit inside the building. We didn’t freeze to death. We just made sure to bring these things called blankets and sweatshirts. For some reason, we stayed pretty warm when we utilized them (I know…I’m confused on how that happened too). Now I’m sorry we’ve completely pissed this person off…but you know what…we’re not hosting this Relay so we can make them feel right at home. We’re shooting for our highest amount ever raised in a single year this time around…a milestone amount of $250,000. So these changes we’re making might piss this one person off…but maybe, just maybe…they will give us more exposure and help us bring in more money than ever to fund cancer research and help cancer patients out. I realize this person is battling cancer, but I don’t believe they’re doing the Relay to help find a cure…I think they’re doing it to look good in front of their friends or trying to get their name to the top of the list just so they can gloat about how they’re better than everyone else.

My response to the “it’s too cold outside/sometimes it rains” excuse I heard…

“The Relay for Life is supposed to signify a cancer patient’s battle against cancer. The battle against cancer is not always a peaceful walk in the park at 70*F with clear skies and a calm breeze. Sometimes it gets bitter cold or blistering hot. Sometimes the wind blows so hard you get knocked off your feet. And sometimes, no matter how much you’re fighting, it feels like the torrential rain will never end.”

This person would probably stare at me and scoff saying, “Easy for you to say…you’ve never battled cancer,”…and that’s very true. I haven’t. I’ll probably die from it, but I haven’t had it so far. However, at least this person is still here after fighting their fight. My mom fought that same battle. Her walk wasn’t a calm 70*F night. It started out that way…but then it rained…it snowed…it got hot…it got cold…and everything in between. Eventually her body couldn’t handle it anymore and she lost the fight, leaving my family here to miss her terribly every single day for the rest of our lives. As far as I’m concerned, a little cold air and rain isn’t going to kill me. It’s simply going to make me appreciate those fighting the battle that much more. Mother nature can throw me whatever she’s got because I can handle it all. And anyone participating in this event should be saying the same thing… “BRING IT ON!”

Last night my buddy proved to me that I am truly in it for the right reason…

He wants to organize a team fundraiser this year…he’s got some cool ideas that could bring in a LOT of money for our team. However, as I was walking away he said, “If this works out, I want 75% of the proceeds to be credited toward me.” I said, “Ok. But you can count me and my teammates out on helping you organize it.” He told me I didn’t do most of the work like he did and he deserved that money to be credited toward him. My problem with this…when there is a TEAM fundraiser going on, I don’t care if some of my members put in more work than others. The point of a team is to work together and accomplish a goal. The TEAM then receives equal recognition no matter if they sat on the sidelines the entire time or if they were out there for every play. When we did our team fundraiser last year, my buddy wanted half the money credited toward him. This upset the members of the team who busted their butts the night of our event to ensure it went successfully. On top of that, he told me I should take credit for at least 25% of the amount raised and divvy out the rest amongst those who were there. I credited him for his half, while voicing my displeasure, and then I divvied out the remaining 50% equally amongst every member of my team. Any money I raised in cash donations I always split equally amongst every member of my team. Why? Because we’re in this event together and I believe that if we want to be a successful team, we need to work together, not against each other. I just wish my buddy would see that. Instead, he’s more concerned about earning prizes and seeing his name show up in the top tiers rather than seeing all our names show up in the middle tiers.

So tell me now, what is YOUR reason for Relaying? Do you do it for the greed? Or do you do it for the right reasons…to honor a loved one, to congratulate yourself as a survivor, or just to do good in the community? I’m in it for my mom first…and because I have seen firsthand how cancer can rip a normal American family apart, I strive to help bring society to a point where that never has to happen again.

For my friends reading this…please go join my team for the 2014 Relay now…or if you don’t wish to participate with us, donations are also welcome.

And once you’re done with that…check out my mom’s chronicles of her battle against cancer as written by her.