Team Darrel participated in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life in
Fergus on Friday June 12th. This was our second year with an entry, and it was
another emotional and successful night for all those involved. It was an extra
busy night for my family, as Lauren's ballet recital was the same weekend.
Fortunately, the rehersal (Friday night) was also taking place at the same
venue as the Relay. It took a bit of juggling around, but with a little help,
she got to where she needed to be, when she needed to be there.
Of course, being Canada, a hockey game did slightly intrude on the initial
hours of the event. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Red Wings and
Penguins was being played as well that night, and highlights would filter
around the track to keep everyone informed. I'm not the biggest of hockey fans
anymore, but for many of those in attendance, you could tell they were wishing
the Relay wasn't being held that particular evening. They probably would have
rather been watching the game with friends...with the TV remote in one hand,
and a beer in the other, but to their credit, they honoured their commitment to
the Relay, and had their priorities in the correct order.
Unlike last year, the rain was not an issue, but it was still a damp and
chilly night. Though we planned for almost any kind of weather, there was no
escape from the cold at some points. As uncomfortable as this was, it did add
to the atmosphere of the gathering. Walking around the track at 3AM, with
only the luminary candles that lined the course for light, the effects of the
damp chill seemed to be amplified. With fewer people on the track at that
time, I felt helpless, isolated and alone at moments, even though family and
friends weren't really that far away.
It was impossible not to think of Darrel, laying on an examination bed at
Sick Kids and/or Princess Margaret Hospital under going countless scans,
procedures, and radiation treatments. Tired from the early hour we had to get
him ready to go at and the long drive there; Hungry from not being allowed to
eat before certain tests; Scared and Confused, from not knowing or really
understanding what was happening; Frustrated that he was being told he had to
lie there perfectly still for lengthy periods of time; and of course, Pain, as
the cancer was spreading around his tiny and ever more frail body. Though he
was always surrounded by the love of his family, I would not be surprised if he
felt helpless and alone during many of those darker times. If he was, Darrel
never showed it, as he kept those kind of feelings for the most part concealed
from his family.
With the coming of the dawn, there was the much appreciated warmth of the
sun, and the knowing that soon we would be able to go home. As to be expected,
it was an evening of highs and lows for us all. 12 hours isn't that much to
ask when everything the Relay represents is put into perspective. From the
Survivor's Victory lap to open the event, to the realization that each
luminary was dedicated to someone touched by cancer, and to all that Darrel was
subjected to in his much too short life, 12 hours is nothing to ask in
Though there weren't as many groups competeing this year, our local Relay
For Life brought in over $44,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Team Darrel
finished second overall, with $2581.00 in pledges. On top of that, we raised
an additional $80.00 for the James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research through
button sales and other donations.
I'd like to say thank you once again to everyone who supported and/or
contributed to making this Relay a success. An extra special thanks goes to:
Team Darrel 2009 Members - Kira, Lauren, John, Helen, Bryan, Kim, Janet,
Sharon, and our last minute replacement Payge.
St. Joseph Catholic School - Mr. Zen, the staff and students, came through
once again with a huge donation of $500.00 for Team Darrel. Their continuing
support of our family never ceases to amaze me.
Darryl, Steve, Janet and Kim - For bringing cookies and doing Tim Horton's runs through
the night to help keep us going.
Janet M - For the extra blankets when we couldn't shake off the early morning cold.
Thanks again everyone!!!