24 April 2019

The Lap

The first lap at any Relay For Life event is for the survivors. Inspiration built out of tragedy!

For the majority of women, shaving their legs is a job, they probably would not like to have. For my ex-wife, Betty and me, it was a day of celebration. It was the first time in well over a year that there was any hair on her body. It was proof that the effects of chemotherapy and radiation were leaving her body. In November of 1999 she had a mammogram. It came back positive for breast cancer.

For the next year and a half, our lives, as well as our four children's lives, revolved around clinics and hospitals. Meeting many different doctors and nurses, each one, showed a unique form of caring and a loving concern for Betty. Four surgeries, eight different rounds of chemo, and thirty straight days of radiation, showed her strength and her will to live. I don't believe it was fear of death that kept her going, it was a will to live for me. It was a will to live for her children. It was a motherly belief that her children still needed her. It was a believe that she wasn't done raising her children. All of us share a lifetime of memories and we pray, for a lifetime of future memories!

Watching her shave her legs, brought a smile to her face and a tear to mine. Our hopes and prayers might still be recognized! Her long red hair, which disappeared first, came back shorter, thicker, and had a wave to it. As time went on, we began to get involved in a small way with different cancer events. My favourite, is the annual Relay For Life. Because, its was a chance for me to cheer for her and many other survivors, as they are honoured on the first lap. The one that was the most emotional happened at Haymarket Park, in Lincoln. A brand new baseball park, which in 2001, also became the home for the Lancaster County Relay For Life.

The survivors stood in a line, underneath an archway of balloons, ready to start their lap, along the right field line. Led by children, these people, men and women, of different ages and different backgrounds, would follow the concourse, around the park, listening to the cheers honouring them! My youngest daughter, Lisa and I, stood by first base and started clapping. It seemed like we were the only ones doing it. But as the walk progressed, the claps got a little louder. We continued to clap as they reached center field and the applause continued to grow. By the time they reached left field, the stadium became alive! As they headed toward the infield, the place was rocking! The echoes of the cheers bounced around the ballpark. Better then any homerun, because there was no losing team. These survivors were all winners, and everyone there, was proud to be a part of their team.

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