Relaying for life

I have always wanted to pull an all nighter doing scrapbooking but never have. My desire to sleep is strong (whose isn’t when you get to my age?) and it really does save me being miserable the next day. However, in the words of the MC at the recent Mildura Relay for Life Event – Cancer patients cannot ‘take a break’ so to be supportive our teams had to be sure there was someone on the track  at all times. And so we did.

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

There was life in our tent all night for anyone who cared to to stop and say hello and chat about how we preserve and share our photos and stories.

Physically I am a partial wreck with an arthritic knee and degenerating spine so walking lots of track laps is beyond me.  I am glad no-one was comparing lap times! Steady and slow got me around plenty of times.  There was a short nap in there as we also relayed through our sleeping tent but I put in my share of laps for the team and spent most of the rest of my time encouraging relayers to come to our tent and see what we do.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

People who suffer cancer are everyday heroes  They show the rest of us the meaning of the phrase ‘fight back’ and for there families ‘Remember’ is significant. The keyword for our Mildura event was ‘celebrate’.

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Relay for life - Celebrate

Relay for life – Celebrate

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

As a scrapbooker I completely relate to remember and celebrate. I am grateful fightback has (touch wood) not been necessary for any of my family. However, we all have something worth remembering and celebrating and being hopeful about Storybooks (traditional or digital) allow us to do that through sharing the story of a patient, survivor or carer.

Cancer patients, their carers, and those who have been lost to the disease all deserve the recognition that comes with hope for recovery, remembering the fight back and celebrating what we love about the individual. Emotionally it may be difficult to remember, to take photos, but journalling helps to celebrate the heroes and creates an outlet for personal emotional wellbeing when cancer becomes part of your life.

Our team was made up of  consultants and scrapbookers.

Customers joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for their contribution.

Even consultants and their babies joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for everyone’s contribution.

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

I would love to be celebrating meeting  our fund raising goal. In that area we lagged – but I hope we are forgiven having been first timers.We all sought sponsorship and attempted to raise funds through a raffle and hope bag decorating.

A central message of the event - Hope and remember via the candle lit track

A central message of the event – Hope and remember via the candle lit track

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

We also offered 10% of income on sales from the event. Our approach needs a little rethinking as we didn’t raise as much money as we would have liked and we discovered we do need to start earlier on this important task.

Most people at the event were walking, remembering, honoring, or sleeping. Purchasing the materials with which to remember or exploring the healing value of recording and celebrating the stories through scrapbooking was not on their mind. I get that 🙂

We did perhaps go about it in not quite the right way. However, now we have done this event the first time we learned a lot. Our core message – to celebrate your life, your story, your way has a great deal of meaning for those dealing with cancer in their lives, be they sufferer, carer or family and friends. I still believe we have something to offer this event.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the event not because of the walking or scrapbooking by gaslight (which by the way was fun!)  but because the act of celebrating, remembering, and being hopeful are central to the reason for doing what I do. It was very humbling to be among those whose lives have been seriously affected by cancer.

I believe in the healing powers of story and journal, in hoping for recovery or dealing with grief and sincerely hope all those affected by cancer take the time to record the stories of the heroes in their lives.  I hope that at least for some the idea of scrapping the story of the journey will be remembered and they know they can turn to us for help with this task as it can be quite emotional.

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

I would like to finish with resounding applause for the organisers of the Mildura event. It was hugely successful and we had a wonderful time doing some good for the community.

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