Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Final Word (Until Next Year)...

Dear Family and Friends…

Wow, it’s over. I can’t believe it!! After weeks and months of pestering and fundraising, you all came through on your part, and this weekend, I was able to come through on mine.

Michael and I headed up north Saturday morning at 10:00am, and got home this morning at 8:30. What happened in between was, in many ways, indescribable. There were moments of joy and laughter, moments of sorrow and tears, moments of magic, and everything in between.

When all was said and done, I managed to raise $1100 to fight cancer, walked 3.5 miles around the track on my healing-but-still-broken leg, braved the warm sun and the freezing cold, and I’d do it all again tomorrow if that was the only way to cure this disease!
I can’t put into words what all this event came to mean to me. I’ve set up a photo gallery at http://www.mkosior.com/gallery/rfl for each of you to look at when you feel you have the time.

Some highlights of the event:

*The opening ceremony, in which survivors took to the track to make the ceremonial first lap, and caregivers took lap 2
*Setting up the luminarias as a volunteer, and stumbling upon my grandparents’ names
*Our team captain, Trent’s, head shaving—a promised occurrence if we raised $4,000
*Watching the guys on our team dress up as “Hula Honeys” and walk the track after a great fundraising campaign to get them out there
*Finding out we broke the $5,000 mark and my sister will have to shave her head!
*Lighting luminarias and walking a track lit only by the light given off by the hundreds of candles representing someone’s loved one
*Nancy bringing us a warm meal at dinner time (thanks, Nancy!)
*Walking the track with Mike as he did a full 1.5 miles during the evening
*Walking in the evening with Trent and Joe and signing the banner which will eventually be laid out on the National Mall with all the other Relay banners from across the nation as a petition to Congress that Americans are still fully invested in cancer research
*Waking up this morning with a moving blanket wrapped around my head, thinking “Will this wretched night never end?!” only to push aside the blanket and discover it was daylight (albeit 5:30am)
*Coming home and hopping into a nice, warm, soft bed and making up for the 4 hours of sleep I got on the cold, hard ground

It was a difficult night, the temperatures dropped into the 50’s and none of us wore anything except shorts and T-shirts. We mustered up as many blankets, sleeping bags, sweatshirts, and candles as we could to keep warm. Michael stayed awake the full night, I slept roughly 4 hours in a tent, fully clothed, with my shoes on! I haven’t felt so miserable since Girl Scout camp. (I couldn’t decide which I was more: tired, hungry, grubby, cranky, emotional, or thirsty) But, truly, I think that was a great part of the experience—to come away tired, sore, cranky, and ultimately thrilled to be going home. While I can’t imagine what it must feel like to go through cancer and cancer treatments, I think the ACS succeeded in giving us a little taste, even by a pinch, of how it must feel.

I have every intention of participating again next year, should my teammates re-form to do this (if not, I’ll be forming my own team). Again, I thank you all for supporting me in this endeavor, and hope you enjoy the pictures!!! I’m heading back to bed!!

Big hugs,
Kate/Susan

2 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Talmadge G. said...

For starters, I like the shorts. That was a very nice - and genuine - touch.

What I saw through your post and photo album was a look at a different kind of "Relay For Life" than I'm used to seeing.

Thank you for an eye-opening sight: I saw nobody in it for their own reputation or self-interest. Gee, what a concept.

Now, if only we can get more money diverted toward a cure ... and less toward executive-director perks!

Oh, and congratulations -- seems you all done good. :-)

-TG

nettiemac said...

Let me know next year, and I will send you some dinero!