I was standing on the sidelines on Friday night, watching everyone participating at Relay For Life walk in circles around the track, all determined to walk for the cure. Like any other assignment I attend, I always stand on the sidelines and look, observe and pay attention to what’s going on. Think I am not paying attention or listening to what you are saying? Think again.
But as curious as I am, I find that I have to take part in an activity too – I do this to experience it first hand. This, I think makes for a better writer.
Remember the visit to the nuclear power plant? I have spent so much time writing about it, I was determined to take a look at the nuke plant first hand. Back to Friday night, I saw how everyone was so happy and in good spirits and I asked myself – why not join in too? So I took off walking, taking photos and saying hi to everyone I saw. After the second lap, my knee began to hurt. Pain began to settle in around the torn meniscus that I have, but I was determined to walk a few more laps. Throughout the walk I met with cancer survivors and listened to their stories. Their stories inspired me, so much that even though I had knee pain, I continued on with the walk. At this time, I really wished I had my cane on hand.
And I thought, if they can go through all that and come out stronger than before, why is knee pain preventing me from walking too? Not to say I am comparing cancer to knee pain. Never, I have so much respect for all cancer survivors.
Throughout the night, Mayor Mark Bricker, Heather Menzies from the Tribune and myself judged all of the tents around the track. That was an enjoyable time. At about midnight, my knee was giving in, but I was determined to stay. A knee pain would not stop me from being here.
I got to experience the strength of so many. The unity everyone shared. Even though I was there as a reporter, I felt as a part of something special. Truth be told, at times when I am at events, I have felt as an outsider. I think it has to do with the fact that when people see me somewhere, they automatically see “media” and not just me. Some people see me and joke about the reporter being in the room.
So about 2:30 a.m., I could no longer take it. The temperature had dropped, I had finished the judging and I wanted nothing but to go to my apartment and sleep. After only four hours of sleep the night before, and 19 hours of being awake, I was about to collapse.
Most people tell me that lasting 8 hours at Relay For Life is great. I am sad and feel I have failed, but my hat goes off to all the survivors and all those that care enough to raise funds to find a cure.
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