Relay for Life- American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society's signature event is their 'Relay For Life' which Mt. Prospect hosted last weekend "to celebrate those who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones lost, and to fight back against this disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer."
Mt Prospect fielded a special team with over 250 people to celebrate Lindsey Eyles, our local 6th grader (I had shared our towns grief over her passing in a blog titled "In Memoriam"). 
Below is her parent's statement for her team:

On November 28th, Mount Prospect lost a precious daughter, sister, student and friend.  We are walking in memory of Lindsey Eyles.  Lindsey fought Ewing Sarcoma bravely, and our community rallied around her.   We were all devastated at the loss of Lindsey.  Lindsey was brave, vibrant, positive, and always smiling through everything she went through.  She is deeply missed.  Our team is walking in memory of her, and in hopes that through the funds raised we can come one step closer to finding a cure for cancer.  We walk a few days after what would be her 12th birthday, in hopes that the funds raised will allow others to see more birthdays.  We walk in memory of her, knowing that if she were alive she would be walking with us, lap after lap, with her amazing fighting spirit.  We walk knowing Lindsey's spirit is with us, and will be with us always. 
I asked two friends to share what the relay meant to them. First, Lara Kowalski, breast cancer survivor(!):
"The relay was fabulous!  We did lap after lap around the Prospect High
School track in memory of Lindsey.  There were 56 different teams, raising
over $100,000, but our team ROCKED raising close to $40,000!  I was very moved by the walk.  

It was my first time being involved in the Mt Prospect Relay. In the past, I was
involved through my father in law, who did the Schiller Park relays
throughout his many cancer battles. 

I walked my own first survivor lap there, and laps with Ann (Southern- as in Randy, who has written for me and made us all cry) and then all by myself last year as both had died.

This was a new leaf for me, doing an entirely different walk, and with the
focus being Lindsey.  It was amazing to see the sea of Lindsey t-shirts. I
was amazed not only by the number of people on our team in memory of
Lindsey, but also amazed at the number who also had a family member or
someone else they ALSO knew with cancer.  

Cancer is far too prevalent. After my own diagnosis I discovered person after person with the diagnosis, family members with the diagnosis - it's very frustrating!  It was
empowering coming out and trying to fight back and do something in memory of
Lindsey, fight back for my own survival, fight back in memory of Ann & my
father in law.  

Lindsey was such a fighter, so it was wonderful to be able to harness her spirit, bring together friends and family in her name, and remember her by walking for more cancer research, and walking to help others with cancer.  We did a birthday cake in her memory (her 12th birthday would have been Wed May 18th), and did a balloon release.  As the night went on
there were only a few of us left to spend the night, but we had someone
walking the track from our team all night long ".

Lisa Votzmeyer who also relayed to honor her Mom, Sharon and Aunt, Kathy, who both recently, and most importantly, successfully (!) completed cancer treatment:

"The American Cancer Society Relay 4 Life was an amazing experience.  It was awesome to see so many people come together to support those currently fighting cancer, celebrate those who have won their battle, and honor those who put up a valiant fight.

To hear the survivors tell their stories and watch as they walked the first lap of the Relay, was both humbling and inspirational.  

To see the luminaries lined up along the track in honor of those currently waging their war against cancer and in memory of those who fought so courageously, was touching and emotional.

To celebrate what would have been beautiful Lindsey Eyles' 12th birthday by releasing purple and white balloons into the night sky and enjoying cake and ice cream was truly heart-warming.  

But, to see my friends, Sue and Jeff Eyles, smile and hear them laugh in the VERY early morning hours, sometimes uproariously and at the silliest things, while their hearts are still so heavy and aching, was absolutely wonderful.

That is what I will remember and treasure most from this experience, and imagine Lindsey will, too."

Donations for Lindsey's team- or the American Cancer Society- are always accepted.  Lindsey's team's home page is linked here. I know there is an amazing  amount of tragedy occurring right now. Multiple, devastating tornados. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Nuclear meltdowns. It's a very overwhelming time right now, but this walk was a shining beacon of light for everyone involved. It is important to remember and celebrate those who have battled and those we have lost, and really, we all could use something positive in our lives (especially now that we no longer have Oprah!).

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  • I was there and it was incredibly moving. Lara and Lisa did a great job capturing the feel of the event!!

    Thanks Kelley for taking the time to share this with others. Every one of us can make a difference!

  • In reply to Honch4:

    Thanks Lisa, I know what this event meant to you and am glad you shared it with your family.

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