05/21/11 — Relay success: Another year, another reason Wayne County really does ... rock

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Relay success: Another year, another reason Wayne County really does ... rock

You could feel the spirit around the midway of the 2011 Wayne County Relay for Life Friday night.

Music filled the air, and friends, families, neighbors and co-workers greeted each other with hearty hellos, hugs and, in some cases, tears.

It was the kind of closeness that comes when people are united in the pursuit of a common goal -- when even strangers become friends because they share a bond forged by hope.

They were all there to battle an enemy -- cancer. And they did so, magnificently.

Their stories were all a little different.

Some of those who put on their T-shirts this year were survivors, bravely continuing their fights to beat the disease.

They basked in the glow of hope and the love of not only friends and family, but of strangers who understood the battle they were waging. They had been there, too, and they were ready to share a shoulder or a prayer.

How could there be anything more inspiring than a lap by a crowd of survivors -- all living proof that cancer is not a death sentence anymore, and that this disease can be beaten, even if the going can be tough.

Some of those who packed the midway were there to remember beloved family members, friends and co-workers. They Relayed in their honor, and lit luminarias to send a signal up to the skies to let someone they love know that they are still fighting. They were there to continue a battle that might have been lost for one, but that would forge on in his or her name so that others would not suffer the same fate.

And as balloons sailed up to the clouds Friday, there were many who felt a presence there with them. Many angels also were circling that track on Relay day.

Hundreds of hours go into planning each year's Relay for Life -- and many, many people put their hearts and souls into not only the preparation, but into the event itself.

You cannot attend Relay without gaining perspective about love, faith and courage. And you should not leave without realizing just how precious and fleeting life can be.

So to those who worked so hard to plan and make the 2011 Relay for Life possible -- thank you.

And to the teams and others who raised money to help those who are battling cancer -- present and future -- thank you as well. You truly are making a difference.

Wayne County, you should be very, very proud.

Published in Editorials on May 21, 2011 11:28 PM