It’s the fall of my sophomore year. I’m settled, feeling confident, and more ready than ever to start pumping up my resume with extracurricular activities.
I’m interested in health science, so when presented with the idea of joining Relay for Life at the University of Georgia, an organization that raises money to support the American Cancer Society, I said “sure, why not?” I knew it would look great to future employers and my great grandmother had cancer so it meant a lot to me to fight back against a terrible disease. So, I joined a committee.
Not really invested in anything the organization put on, but rather just going through the motions and showing up to meetings when it was convenient. I wasn’t proud of this, but at the same time I was a busy college student, so that’s a great excuse, right?
Second semester arrived and I had this unexplainable gut feeling that I needed to step my game up. I needed to get involved, get motivated, and do whatever I could to help this organization because its passion and heart was worth investing effort into. I kicked it into high gear and started fundraising, being involved with fellow committee members, and getting to know the girl that oversaw our committee.
Fast forward to the week before the big event. It was a normal Friday morning, except I was planning to travel home for Easter weekend. My dad called me and said with a serious tone “call me when you get home, we need to talk.” Those words are never good.
Of course the whole way home all the possibilities of news I could receive raced through my head, but didn’t prepare me for what was to come. I finally arrived, and anxiously called my dad as he requested. He said, “Brittany, Granddaddy has cancer and it does not look good.”
Shattered. My heart. My world. Turned upside down and back again.
I didn’t know what to say or do, so I just hung up and took off running down the road. I ran until I was out of tears, and sat down in my favorite spot by the neighborhood creek. I sat there watching the water pass just as fast as the emotions ran through my heart. I kept thinking of anything, anything I could physically do to stop this or make it go away.
There was nothing I could do to fix the cancer in Granddaddy’s body, but there was an opportunity to stop this disease from shattering other lives in the future. Relay for Life was that channel of energy and emotions I could utilize for grief, coping, but most importantly, a beacon of hope.
Fundraising, planning the night-of, and my commitment to this organization is my way of standing up to cancer, honoring those lives lost, and celebrating the ones spared. I believe God uses us as the hands and feet of His mighty power to carry out His will for the world, and I believe we are His vessel for making a difference in a world full of cancer.
I continue to serve this organization now as the Logistics Chair, and wouldn’t trade my time here for anything.
To me, Relay is more than just another detail of my resume; it is my Hope and heart to say that one day in my lifetime, I believe this world will finally be cancer free.