05/19/12 — A victory: Wayne County's Relay a chance to see you all shine bright

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A victory: Wayne County's Relay a chance to see you all shine bright

It is impossible to walk through a Wayne County Relay for Life without a tear forming in your eye.

At every turn there is a story, a love story, really, about someone who is missing someone or a family or a friend who is praying for a miracle.

There are triumphs and heartbreaks -- parents who won't be there when their children get married or when they have families of their own, children whose lives were taken much too soon and beloved grandparents whose example remains, even if he or she is not there to hug anymore.

And then there are the survivors, that plucky group of people who have been to hell and back -- and are determined to live every moment of their lives with courage and gusto.

They make you think about the priorities and the choices you make in your own life.

They encourage you to celebrate each day as if it were your last -- and to remember what faith really means.

We talk every year about the tremendous outpouring of spirit and love we see at each of these events. This one was no exception.

But there is a lesson this time -- an important one for those who might have forgotten just why they should support Relay.

This is for all of us.

The money that is raised each year by individuals in dimes, quarters and dollars -- and this year it came from lemonade stands and doughnut makers -- is the fire that stokes the engine as we continue to work to see a day when there will be no more need for fear from a cancer diagnosis.

And in the end, the money that will be tallied from Wayne County will make a difference -- and could possibly help fund that cure. And, remember, you never know which dollar that will be.

But it is not just about the money.

What this county does to support its survivors, its caregivers and the families and friends who are battling this dread disease is nothing short of miraculous.

Just spend an hour on the Relay track and you will meet people from every walk of life -- once strangers, now united by memories and hope.

They hug, they cry, they laugh, and for a moment, no one is alone.

You cannot imagine how really powerful that spirit and love really are.

There are some who disagree with the effort and critique the purpose of this inspiring event.

But they miss the point.

Relay is one big hug for those who are fighting, one more memory for those whose lives will never be the same because of the special someone they have lost, and one more chance to remind ourselves of the power of faith and love.

Relay for Life is special in Wayne County, and it did not get that way because of one person or any one organization.

But its light shines only when there are people who carry on its mission of fellowship and hope.

It remains, still, the place of comfort for those who need it, a moment of celebration for those who have earned it and a memorial to those without whom there would be no purpose.

It is a shining example of what a community can do when the credit doesn't matter.

And it is a tradition that should never, ever be taken for granted.

Make it part of your plans for 2013.

You will be glad you did.

Published in Editorials on May 19, 2012 11:35 PM