Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Relay for Life

Cancer-The Word We Dread
In memory of Laura (Opperman) Dunnam
Last Saturday I attended the local American Cancer Society Relay For Life. I had never been to one before, and wasn't sure what to expect.
When I first stepped into the gymnasium at the local high school, I had to take a quick step back.

The music was playing, the feet were marching. The stampede was coming right for me.

I found my sister-in-law and her daughter,

and then there was a neighbor who had lost his wife. He was pushing his grandchild in the stroller, while his daughter walked along at his side.

There were relatives and acquaintances, familiar faces from church.

I strolled a bit deeper into the cavernous room, in search of other faces that I might recognize.
I came across a table where a bright, shiny smile greeted me. This table was being manned by relatives of a very special girl who has been in my prayers for a very long time.

Melissa is that bright and happy young lady. She's 13 years old, and has an inoperable brain tumor that presses continually against her spine. I have yet to see her without a smile on her face. How I envy her facing each and every difficult day with bright sunshine radiating from deep inside.

 I'm always nervous when I  face people that I don't know. I develop a bad case of tunnel vision, blocking my ability to see all that is around me. Such was the case this day. 

Right next to Melissa's table stood a table for this beautiful  lady by the name of Laura. I've known Laura since she was a toddler, and I babysat for her and her sisters. Our families attended the same church. I watched her grow into a talented, athletic young lady. I felt joy when she got married and had a family. 
The reason that there was a table for her at the event was because she had a brain tumor. She wasn't at the event, but there were others who were there in her place, raising money for cancer research.
Two days later, Laura lost her battle. She is now pain-free, at home with God. Though we feel deep sadness and sorrow at the loss, we can rejoice that victory is hers at last.
Cancer has touched almost everyone's life, either directly or indirectly, through a parent, spouse, sibling, child,relative, or friend.
This post is dedicated to all who have seen it, experienced it, felt it. We hope that we never have to hear that dreaded word, but it pops up almost daily in one way or another.
I hope to go back to the Relay for Life next year. Although I'm not able to walk the walk, I can show my strength by supporting those who are working hard to fight the battle.

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