September 24, 2012

DIAD with Relay for Life Menlo Park

By Angela Rodriguez, Done In A Day Committee Member

I am not a morning person. The early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese, right? So when my alarm went off bright and early on a Saturday, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the day, let alone a Relay for Life Done-in-A-Day event!

We, the fabulous Junior League of Palo Alto Mid-Pennisula of course, partnered with Relay for Life Menlo Park and provided some extra hands to work the Survivors Tent at the relay. 

DIAD: Relay for Life Menlo Park, Junior Leaguers
working the Survivors Tent

If you haven't heard of Relay for Life here is a quick run down.

• Overnight relay-style event 
• Teams of people camp out around a track 
• Members of each team take turns walking around the track for the duration of the event 
• Food, games, and activities provide entertainment and fundraising opportunities 
• Family-friendly environment for the entire community 
• Supports the American Cancer Society
• More info here: 

Once I made it to Burgess Park, along with my other Junior Leaguers, it was clear that the day was going to be a memorable one and well worth the early rise! The event began at 9am and we began checking in the cancer survivors at our tent. The survivors‚ friendliness, warmth, and general zeal for life was really inspiring. 

DIAD: Relay for Life Menlo Park, Opening Ceremony Speaker,
Dr. Linda Huntimer, telling her story

The Opening Ceremony was next, and we had the honor of hearing the stories of survivors: when they received their diagnosis, the struggles they encountered, their family and friends experiences, and how they fought and joined the cause to find a cure.

When the Survivors Lap began, led by the Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band, it was quite the tearjerker; especially when their families and caregivers joined them on their walk. It reminded me of my family walking alongside my grandmother and her fight, a two-time cancer survivor. 

I remember in high school going to Relay for Life every year. A group of us would grab a tent, bags of string cheese and beef jerky (don't judge our teenage eating habits), and camp out all night around the high school track where the event was held every year. I remember making my grandmother a single Luminaria bag, which became a part of the hundreds of candle lit bags that lined the track. I made another one for her this time as well. 

All in all, I am glad that we were able to support this great organization and cause that is so close to my heart. Done-in-a-Day Junior League projects are always fun to attend, and this one is no exception. Here is to more early mornings for Relay for Life!

DIAD: Relay for Life Menlo Park,
Junior Leaguers with event speaker, Dr. Huntimer

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