February 1, 2014 11:34:57 PM
There are some things that are universal to the human experience. These events transcend languages, cultures and eras. Almost everyone will feel love, or joy, or pain, in their lifetime. One of the saddest that we encounter is cancer. It is a disease that touches practically everyone at some time. We all know someone who has survived, or may be living with this devastating illness. The term "battle" is often used when speaking of cancer. However, we can take a bit of comfort in the knowledge that no one is alone in this fight.
All over The Golden Triangle, teams are gearing up for Relay For Life, a national fundraiser to benefit The American Cancer Society. This event does not take place until April, but the troops have already begun creating "fun-raisers." Be on the lookout for rummage sales, raffles and auctions. We can purchase everything from yummy baked goods, to barbecued pork, to spaghetti dinners, with all the profits going to this wonderful cause.
A team may consist of a group of friends. Some are made up of businesses, church groups, families and clubs. There is still time to gather your soldiers into a team to march at the relay. Contact Mott Ellis to add your team to the list of participants. (662-574-1104; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last year, Chris and I had so much fun just watching the parade of marchers circling the old soccer field at Columbus High School. It is an all-night event, sort of like a huge slumber party. The walkers' path is gently lit by luminarias. These small paper bags are printed with the names of some of the dear people we have lost to cancer. Inside each bag is a tiny candle, flickering in the night. They are a lovely, hopeful homage to so many who are deeply missed.
I am a cancer survivor. Several years ago, I had a rare cancer on my tongue. (No, I have never smoked.) Today, I am completely cured, thanks to a great surgeon and the many advances in treatment.
I have no residual effects, except sometimes a slight speech impediment can be detected, especially when I am tired. So, if you meet me and think that I sound a bit drunk, remember it is because a piece of my tongue was cut out and the hole plugged with a hunk of flesh from my thigh (with much better results than Dr. Frankenstein experienced in the 1800s.)
You might notice the blue and white buckets and tins around our area, ready to be filled with loose change. Many businesses will display a "trail" of paper footprints. For a donation you can put any name on them. I always put the names of my pets, because it's never too early to teach your children about generosity.
Relay For Life is about hope and humanity. Cancer is a frightening diagnosis, one that will probably affect us all in some way. Everyone can play a small part as a warrior in this universal war. Look for me at the relay, but, please, don't make fun of my speech.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.