This will be my third year of participating in the Relay for Life, an event that raises money and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society. My first time was during my Grade 12 year through my high school, and I was a team captain. Taking a leadership class in my senior year was probably what strengthened my desire to be an event planner, but doing the Relay for Life ever year is something that constantly re-inspires me to go the path of non-profit.
My friend Jennie, like myself, was part of the group organizing teams at our high school. Jennie had recently lost her grandfather to prostate cancer. She held a brave face at school, and in our nine years of friendship (now eleven years) I had never seen her break. For those who haven’t had a chance to participate, the Relay for Life provides luminaries that you can decorate in honour of someone you love who is currently battling, has battled, or has lost the fight against cancer. Jennie made a few that night, for friends of the family and other family members as well as her grandfather. They laid the luminaries along the track, and Jennie asked me to come with her. I wasn’t really sure why I was needed, but I went with her to visit her grandfather’s luminary … and then it became clear why I was needed.
I have been fortunate to not lose anyone to cancer, but I had to hold back tears as I held my best friend as she broke down. As close as we were before, I think that moment bonded us even more.
From left to right: Myself, Jordy, Jennie (the angel), Maryam