I feel blessed to have my mom as a survivor of cancer, not a victim. I feel grateful to have such good friends who supported me and joined me in fighting for the cause. When I see my dad, brother and husband working hard at the grill to make their now famous, sausage grinders, I feel pride. I feel disappointment in myself when my words haven't moved people to join my team or come share in the celebration of life. I feel joy when, during the luminaria ceremony they call out- if you are here because of your grandparent, light your candle now and my 2 and 4 year old boys light their candles off of mine and we are surrounded by thousands of candles in the dark. I feel overwhelmed at the thousands of luminaria bags lit with each name, there are too many. I feel amazement when at the end of the 2 day relay they announce that our little town has raised over $200,000 for cancer research and that the money is still coming in. I feel excitement when I hand over $1000 that our team has raised at our campsite. I feel bummed and sometimes hurt when family members don't come to Relay. I feel rejuvenated when showing a new team member every little detail on the field for the first time. I feel such sadness when I watch a brave little girl with little hair under her hat go around the track in a golf cart with her mom, because she is using all her strength to fight this hideous disease and doesn't have enough left over to walk around the field. I feel commradery to walk around the track and have hands go up and wave and yell hi, it's so good to see you again friend. I feel shocked when I see the amount of purple shirts walking around the track, they are amazing people. I feel anger when I hear that one of my fellow volunteers has been diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer when she has been adamant about check ups. I feel touched to hear the stories of the past year's trials and tribulations from a cancer survivor, sitting around a warm fire at 1 am. I feel defeated when a friend tells me that her father in-law has been diagnosed again for the 2nd time in 2 years. I feel exhausted to even think about doing this again next year. I feel like I can't do it again. But I will, because I am lucky. I am lucky to wake up each morning and kiss my children and husband. I am lucky that I can call my mom and dad on the phone and hear their voice. I am lucky that I am surrounded with such loving, true friends. I am strong, willing and able and I can do this again next year. As long as there is cancer, I feel I have no choice.
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