Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why We Relay

This weekend was the Central Austin Relay for Life. This is the fourth year that Team Dippel has competed, and the fourth year that we have been in the top five fund raising teams on the day of the relay. Our team is made up of family and friends, all of whom have been touched by cancer, most of us in more than just one way.

The question of the night is usually, why do you Relay? For those who participate in the event each year, it is more than why do you do this each year, it is really who are you doing this for? Everyone there has been touched by cancer in some way and has an emotional attachment to the event. My reason to relay is solitary. I have numerous family members who have had cancer, but I was so young when they were affected that I didn't associate the loss with cancer specifically. About five years ago that changed.

When Daniel was diagnosed with cancer we were filled with fear, but were so optimistic. He was young and strong and healthy...of course he would survive. The problem with that pespective is this: his cancer was young and strong too. Daniel never did anything halfway in his entire life. Apparently his cancer had the same fortitude, and in the end cancer prevailed. I have an enduring hatred for this horrible disease that takes too much.

My reason to relay is to fight back in a way that I feel shows results. I feel less powerless knowing that I am doing something, anything to help, and each year I am thankful that I participated. The luminaria portion of the relay is my favorite part, and also one of the more difficult moments. The lights are turned off, the night is dark and quiet. One by one the lights in the luminaria bags are lit, and bag pipes play "Amazing Grace" into the softly illuminated darkness. Everyone walks the track in silence. In my head, I see flashed memories of Daniel, and my heart breaks a hundred times over. Around me in the silence, hundreds of people experience their own memories, and the air is tense with emotion. It is a wonderful, painful, awesome experience.

Thanks to the members of Team Dippel for doing it each year, and thanks to all who make donations to support our efforts. Team Dippel, doing everything we can to kick cancer's a$$ in memory of Daniel Dippel.

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