As we wound down our second annual participation in the Relay for Life event this weekend, we couldn’t help but feel so much love and support after coming together for such a great cause. We started out with a few challenges but continued to march on to fulfill our mission which fit right in with our military theme this year. On Friday evening, we loaded up the car and hopped in to go over to set up our campsite only to find out the car wouldn’t start. That was not going to deter us so we jump-started it and off we went, but still had to work in buying a new battery over the weekend. We came back Saturday morning to start the event only to find out that the sprinklers for the field had gone off Friday night even though we were assured they were turned off. So, we arrived to a soaked campsite with everything wet including sleeping bags inside all of our tents. Bummer! But hey, we reconfigured and let the sun do its job while we soldiered on.
We had so much fun beginning with the Opening Ceremony, the Survivor Lap, various events throughout the day, Luminary Ceremony at night where Travis gave his speech (see below), walking all those laps (see the top totals below) and finally the Closing Ceremony. Aside from generous donations (Thanks Everyone!), we managed to raise almost $800 at the event from organizing the Boot Camp Challenge, Baked Goods for Sale, Lap Beads and handmade Cancer Ribbons by Tyler and Travis.
In addition to our Faith & Works Family, there were so many people who came out or donated to support us that we can’t possibly begin to thank:
Jane and Bob T.
Saul, Erika, Saulito and Samuel A.
Martine, Tiernan and Olivia H.
Bessie, Scott and Zachary D.
Lori, Andy, Christopher and Stephanie G.
Karen, Clint, Bryan and Grandma
Steve and Terri H.
Thank you all so much!
Here are a few interesting stats…
Top Miles Walked: a Marine did 26.1 (Marathon), Rich did 23, Tyler and Travis both did 20 miles each.
Event Total Amount Raised: $25,693.56
Our Team Raised: $1,546.80
Here is Travis’ Speech that he did during the Luminary Ceremony:
Hi, my name is Travis and a lot of people call me “Travis the Warrior” because I am a Brain Cancer Survivor. This is my second year doing Relay for Life with my Faith & Works family and I am happy to be here today.
Last year in March, I was diagnosed with a type of Brain Cancer called Medulloblastoma. It was very hard hearing that I had Cancer because I didn’t know exactly what Cancer was but knew it was bad. After the doctor explained everything to me, I interpreted it to be like a weed growing in my garden. If you don’t take it out, it will spread and take over. So, I had brain surgery the very next day at Rady Children’s Hospital to remove it.
On March 7th, the surgery went very well and the doctor was able to remove all of the tumor. I am very lucky because we caught it early and it was located in my 4th brain ventricle so it was easy to access, as if brain surgery could be easy, right. I spent the next week recovering in the hospital before I was able to go home. A lot of my friends supported me by making cards and bringing me books, toys, McFlurries, and visiting me.
In early April, my family and I drove to Houston Texas so that I could receive Proton Radiation Therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. We stayed there for almost two months and everyone was very nice. In the beginning of treatment, it was very hard but I adjusted over time. After my six weeks of Proton therapy, I was able to bang the end of treatment Gong and we had a party to celebrate. We drove back home over Memorial Day weekend and I was so happy to be home and see my family, friends and my dog, Cisco.
When I came back, I had lost all my hair during radiation so my friends did a head shaving event to support me. That was really amazing of them to do such a thing for me. With everyone’s support, I was able to finish out the school year with my friends and had a couple weeks off in the summer before starting my next part of treatment.
Then over the 4th of July weekend, I started the first of my 6 rounds of Chemotherapy. For each round, I spent 4 to 5 days in the hospital. Then I was able to go home for the rest of the month but I had to have a lot of lab work done so the doctor could monitor my blood counts. For two weeks I had to stay away from everyone so that I did not get sick. When I couldn’t go to school, my mom home schooled me. I finished my last round of chemo right before Christmas and I have been getting stronger every day since then.
My first Relay for Life was last summer in Carlsbad and it was just after my first round of chemo. I was hoping I would be able to walk the Opening Ceremony Survivor Lap, the Luminary Lap and the Closing Ceremony Lap. But when I started walking, I would walk until I needed a break and then I would walk some more. A lot of people came and walked with me. By the end of the event, my legs were sore but I had walked 9 miles. Yes, that’s right, 36 laps.
To me, Relay for Life means that we will Celebrate all who have fought their battles, Remember all who have lost their battles and Fight Back for all who are still fighting the battle so that we can help find a cure one day. I think we all know that Cancer Sucks. Even though my treatment was long and hard, my family and I always tried to find the Silver Lining in everything we did. I know that I have been blessed in so many ways and Relay for Life has been one of those blessings.
This Relay, my goal is to walk a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) so I look forward to seeing you on the track tonight and tomorrow morning.
Relay for Life = Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back!
Tony, Lynne, Tyler (20 miles) and Travis (20 miles)