At 4 pm Sean and I went to set up our campsite. We had all our camp chairs, tents, air mattresses, spare clothes...honestly, for a 12 hour event you'd have thought we were going for a week. The perils of overnighting with children.
We unloaded our stuff and Sean went to move the van from the drop off zone to parking while I got the tent unpacked and ready to go. As I'm untying the bag I feel a big drip on my head and the back of my neck. My first thought is 'Huh? It's raining?!" One should note the sky was ridiculously clear. And then I see it, on my pants...a big nasty wad of bird poop.
Yep, I'd officially been at the Relay all of 14 seconds and I got shit on by a bird. Thankfully it didn't hit my shirt (let's not add insult to injury by my Dad's picture getting crapped on) but it did hit my hat. My brand new, WHITE, custom made Papa's Pride hat. If it would have been socially acceptable to cry I most certainly would have. Instead, I whined, like a 5 year old and my hubby took one for the team and wore the shit hat and gave me his clean one.
The survivor lap was very moving. To hear everyone cheer as the survivors go by and the line seems to go forever. It's an odd feeling because on one hand, all those yellow shirts are a reminder of just how many people are affected by cancer but on the other hand, all those yellow shirts are proof that fundraisers like this are working and that people ARE beating cancer.
My bff and her partner came to support us. They got there before it officially started and were able to walk the first lap with the team. That meant a lot to me. My oldest brother was there too. I was glad to have him join us and impressed with his stamina - he walked most of the night, as did our family friend, Vicki.
Emily invited a friend to join her this year. T is her bff and a Relay veteran herself. Her family participated in it for several years. That was the best decision we made - allowing her to come. Emily was excited, happy AND didn't complain once to come home (the simple truth is, she's the reason we'd planned that Sean and the kids would be going home - she doesn't do well sleeping away from home and even worse when it's in a tent. If you need a reminder visit this post. But with T there, I barely saw her all night. They walked the track, they did the activities, they had fun. It was great.
Connor and Mary conked out at about 11 in the tent. Sean and my mom took shifts sleeping and staying close by.
The Luminary Ceremony was moving, as usual. I sent in pictures of my Dad for the big screen photo montage and the one with Connor as a baby kissing him got a few "awwws" in the crowd.
I spent a lot of time walking the track alone this year. It gave me time to think; about how much I miss my Dad, about how scared I am of this lump in my armpit, about my family, my friends.....about a lot.
They say when you get crapped on by a bird it's good luck. I didn't have time to buy a lottery ticket so I figured my good luck would just be wasted. I was WRONG!!
We played Bingo at 1:30 am. I won a Relay for Life LED flashlight. Yay me!!
But it gets better...
From 3-4 am they opened the registration for next year's event. You only had to register your team with one participant so I took my last $10 and registered myself. This got our team into the VIP draw.
At 5 am they drew 3 VIP teams and WE were one of them!!!
So at next year's event we get a VIP parking space (which means 1/4 of the walk!!) AND we get to pick our campsite first - which guarantee's that we'll get the same awesome spot we had for the past 2 years.
So I guess I did have good luck after all.
It was a fantastic event and I'm already looking forward to next year. We have 364 days of fundraising ahead of us. Emily and I have a great plan for the summer - a very special fundraising campaign. And my mom and I are already tossing around a few ideas for fundraising events for next year.
But for today - I'm going to rest.