I have been given the amazing opportunity to be on the executive board for the 2015- 2016 Relay For Life at Virginia Tech. I was not given just a board of fellow peers and students to work with to plan the event this year…I was given a family.
Throughout the fall semester we grew from just a group of single individuals meeting each other for the first time into something so cohesive and wonderful. We all complement each other and help each other grow and flourish so that we can put on the best Relay For Life event that we can.
When you are apart of such a big event like Relay For Life especially at Virginia Tech where we are the largest collegiate Relay For Life in the world you always get the question so why are you involved in an event like this. Whenever I am asked this question I could talk your ear off for hours about the many different reasons as to why I want and love to be apart of Relay For Life.
Yes, the majority of people that participate have been affected somehow by cancer in their life whether it be the grandmother had cancer, their dad had cancer, their neighbor had cancer, etc., but you also see the people that come out and participate just because they want to support the cause and that is one of my favorite parts about Relay For Life.
Relay For Life is about everyone coming together to support one cause and that is the fight against cancer.
One of the main reasons why I relay takes me back to when I was 10 years old. My parents sat me and my older brother down and told us that Grampy had lung cancer. Now, as a 10 year old I had a hard time wrapping my brain around what exactly cancer was and how it was going to affect my Grampy. My parents did their best to explain what was going on to a 10 and 13 year old, but they could only tell us so much.
Those words coming out of a little child’s mouth should never have to be said, but my parents knew they had to answer.
My mom was gone a lot the next couple of months traveling to and from home to be with Grampy. We would visit him a few times a month, but each time we went we could see the progression of him getting worse and worse and the visits would get harder.
One day, my brother and me came home from school and our stepfather picked us up from the bus stop. He brought us inside and sat us on the couch and gave us the news that Grampy had passed peacefully in his sleep. The cancer had become too much for his body and he couldn’t hold on any longer.
Tears immediately burst from both of our eyes as we realized that we were never going to see Grampy again. That night we drove to Maryland to be with our mom and the rest of the family to get ready for the funeral.
I relay so that no one has to say good-bye to a loved one because of cancer. I relay because no one should have to grow up without a mom or a dad or a sibling because of cancer. I relay because cancer has taken too many lives.
Virginia Tech Relay For Life has given me an amazing opportunity to make a difference in so many lives. I am proud of what we have accomplished so far this year and I look forward to what the spring semester has in store. We won’t stop fighting until cancer is no more. For more infromation visit vtrelay.org.