Just Because I Care & Because I Can…How taking part really can make a Difference & really does help, a personal Blog by me.
A chance meeting!
A bunch of friends!
A Decision made!
A legacy begun!!!
I was fortunate enough to find out about a Relay for Life event that was occurring on 28th and 29th August 2010 in aid of Cancer Research UK.
An old school friend has been battling Cancer for the past 6 years when a chance encounter between him and another old school friend whilst in hospital put in place a sequence of events that led me to join them last weekend for this 24-hour walk.
A group of ex-Woodlands School (Basildon, Essex) pupils from the leaving year 1985 (the year below me) put together a team called the Woodlands Walkers for this event in honour of our brave school friend Ian Harding.
From a standing start of nothing, and just some ideas, it took barely one month to get us all organised to the point whereby there were 16 of us in the team and a target fundraising amount to raise of ¬£2,000.
The event was held at New Hall School, Chelmsford, Essex ‚Äď a wonderful location for a wonderful event, so what did we have to do?¬† Quite simply we had to ensure that one of our team was on the running track at any point in time during the course of the 24 hours…and raise as much money as we could.
So under the guidance and organisational skills of Mr Morris, we all duly turned up by 10am on Saturday (28th Aug) with our tents, camping equipment and plenty of warm clothing and big smiles!¬† Banners were made to promote our team, by the children of those taking part.¬† Supermarket runs were undertaken to ensure we had food and drinks ‚Äď some were even non-alcoholic!
At 12 Noon the event began with the Survivors walk and lap of honour, I happened to be getting supplies from the local supermarket at this point!¬† But we all walked, we took it in turns to man the event facilities, like the BBQ and coffee and tea.¬† There were local groups who gave lessons in dancing, Martial arts, Pilates, Line Dancing to name but a few.¬† The weather was reasonably good to us, with the exception of a light shower, but we were rewarded with a fantastic rainbow.
Spirits remained high and we did laugh at some of the antics, particularly of those who had come in fancy dress, like Marilyn Monroe and Superman.¬† As night was drawing in there was a charity auction, with prizes such as a bikini & mankini car wash, signed footballs, etc.
Then probably the most moving part of the day…the candlelight ceremony, which starts with loads of paper bags filled with tea-lights. These are put out around the running track and people who know and love either someone they have lost or someone who is a survivor of Cancer write their thoughts and love on the bags with photos of the person.¬† There were a couple of beautiful songs sung, a poem and a minute‚Äôs silence, broken by a lone piper as the lights on the running track are turned off.
We then followed the piper around the track with just the tea-lights flickering away on a clear evening, everyone stopping now and then to look at the words and names of those affected by Cancer.¬† There were many tears, some sad, some happy, but also scarred tears…and tears of hope mingled with the loss caused by this disease.¬† It was so moving, children clinging to parents who have the disease, grandparents who had passed on alongside many who have survived….and leading our team, strong, silent, supportive and caring was our Hero Ian Harding….
As we broke into our own thoughts this momentous lap finished and we continued to walk, on and on, through the later part of the evening, with a disco and karaoke to keep us entertained…we even had time to do a little dancing as well.
The different team members were snatching what sleep they could get at various points through the early hours, and even taking part in a little impromptu football in the middle of the running track…and on we walked, or ran to stay warm, but keep going we did.
As dawn broke on Sunday morning, we were still walking…but were rewarded with a beautiful clear and crisp day… And so the hours diminished and we reached the last lap, all extremely exhausted but happy with what we had achieved.
The morning also brought another auction, but this time of waxing for one ‚Äúlucky‚ÄĚ volunteer, Mr Morris, ¬£5 a strip of wax, all in a great cause…
So to bring this wonderful, but much shortened version of this story, from my perspective, to a close….Woodlands Walkers managed to not only beat but SMASH our initial target of ¬£2,000, by raising (so far), just over:
¬£9,100 (and still counting)!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 at 8:13 pm