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There’s No Place Like HOPE

That’s my new favorite phrase from Relay for Life.

As always, I think back to when I was a kid, and I wonder if my parents protected me from the strong need for HOPE or if there wasn't a huge need for it.

It was the ’80s, and everything was fabulous as far as I knew. I don't recall hearing about cancer on every street corner. The economy seemed fine (not that I had learned about it yet). Everyone appeared healthy and happy.

Nowadays just being at school there are fundraisers and awareness days for everything from schools less fortunate to save the Earth campaigns to cancer research. In my opinion children need to realize as well that there is HOPE for surviving in this world that seems to be overtaken by desperation and sadness. 

Last Friday night was at . This is one of the largest fundraisers put on by the American Cancer Society. It was my first year to participate in such an amazing event of HOPE.

Relay for Life is a worldwide event, for those who don't know. There are more than 5,000 Relays, and Cobb County is I believe No. 3 in size and money raised. That is HUGE!

Share your Relay memories in the comment space below.

I was so proud to be part of such an event that is helping come so much closer to ending such a dark part of society. I was also warmed by the number of children and teenagers participating. They might not yet understand how cancer touches and trashes so many lives, but then again they may know all too well.

As an adult I know my life has been affected in more ways than I wish by cancer alone. I have lost a grandparent, a father-in-law and friends, and now I watch my mother fight cancer.

One of the saddest days of my life was watching my best friend’s children say their goodbyes to their father, who lost his battle to cancer. To this day they are some of my favorite little people.

In the last year I have had another friend lose a husband to cancer and leave his children as well.

Those are just the people I know, and that, I promise, is just a drop in the bucket of people going through this.

As a parent, I need to believe that there is HOPE; as a child of a parent fighting for her life, I need to know there is HOPE.

I think by exposing children to events that promote HOPE and getting them involved in making change for a good cause, we not only help them to be more well rounded and sensitive to others dealing with crises in their lives, but also help them feel empowered and know that by getting involved they can make a change as well. 

I was happy to see just how family-friendly and positive Relay for Life was. There were bounce houses, games, funnel cakes, music, ice cream—basically a child’s idea of heaven. 

There was one precious little girl, maybe 9 years old, who was at the team site next to us. She was so peppy and really took her turn on the track. We saw her running her laps at 3 a.m. and again at 5 a.m. She had such spirit and pride in her fight for HOPE.

I can only hope that she isn't experiencing her own personal pain in fighting for someone she loves. If she is, she is doing a beautiful job with a smile on her face. My friends and I felt that she needed one of our turquoise pompoms to run with for her next lap and all future laps.

I hope to see her next year at Relay so we can walk together for a lap or two.

This is the generation that will be researching cures for us one day. I want them to believe deep down in their little hearts and souls that there is HOPE and that maybe with an open mind and dreams they can help others find HOPE as well.

Lisa Turner May 18, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I am Susan's sister, Lisa. I live in Miami and came to Atlanta for the Relay for Life. I am so proud of my niece, Katie, for organizing a team so that we could all participate in this event. It was amazing to see such a huge group of people sharing their experiences and support with each other. It is, of course, sad to see so many people going through this but it was also comforting to know that our family is not alone in this struggle. My sister participated fully and I was grateful to be there with her, my family and my sister's many friends.

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