As always, the Relay began with the Survivors' Introduction and Victory Lap around the course. Each year, there are new faces added, and regrettably, others that are no longer with us to take part. One of the new faces for 2012 was my father John. Being a more private man, he had been reluctant to put on the Yellow Survivor Shirt in 2011, though he certainly qualified through his battle with prostate cancer. His opinions were slowly altered after seeing others
taking part, some he knew very well, yet never had any idea they had been dealing with cancer themselves. While some cancers are brought on by lifestyle choices, others are not, and there is no need hide the fact, and/or feel ashamed. It is not about drawing attention to ones self in a personal nature, but attention to the cause, and show that progress is being made (though unfortunately in some areas more than in others). Several people came up to me early in the evening, and were surprised to learn about what my father had been through. We may have lost Darrel, and countless others, but my father is still with us, and for that, I am very grateful!
"Remember", "Celebrate", and "Fight Back"...those are the 3 main thrusts that the Relay hopes to promote for the public, and of course, with all those participating. My family remembered Darrel, celebrated my father's struggles, and this year, I was asked to help out in the "Fight Back" ceremony. Due to a scheduling conflict, the original speaker was unable to make it to the Fergus Relay, so the organizers approached me the day before. Though much of my presentation was already scripted, I did add details of Darrel's fight, and the need for awareness, and to Fight Back! When Darrel was diagnosed, I had never heard of neuroblastoma, or that even childhood cancer existed. But my family and I know differently about that now, and hopefully others that heard my words will know about it now too. It is important for us to not only be willing to join together against cancer at the annual Relay, or purchase Daffodils in April for Cancer Month. Cancer does not ever rest, and neither should our
fight with it!!
I'm actually going to quote myself from a previous Blog, as the issue continues to be brought up:
"There are many within the online community who continue to shun involvment in any functions by the Canadian and American Cancer Societies because of their poor track records in funding the various childhood cancers. While I fully realize the dollars are disproportionally
distributed among the various types of cancers, the Relay is still an excellent way for my family to pull together, and spread awareness about childhood cancer at the same time. I am personally active with The James Fund, Childhood Cancer Canada, and St Baldrick's, but the Relay is sometimes more than enough for the other family members (and is the only event of its kind that actually takes place in a same town like ours). We all try to do our
part, and everyone channels their energies and places their priorities in a different order. Spreading Awareness is about Spreading Awareness...we should not be critical of others methods in the aim and goal is true and the same."
This, in a nutshell, is my opinion on the matter. To each his/her own, but please remember we all want to achieve the same outcome. Each year the Cancer Society allows me to put neuroblastoma and childhood cancer pamphlets in their Information Tent at Relay (though it is disappointing they don't have their own to share), and I am regularly asked to help out in some special way. Spreading the Word is one of the most important aspects of what I do, and I appreciate every opportunity that presents itself to do so.
At this point, I'd like to say Thank You for everyone's contributions to making this year's Relay for Life the success it was!! With your efforts, Team Darrel raised $2,165.00 for the Canadian Cancer Society this year, bringing our collective 5 Year Total to $13,202.00!!! The Fergus Relay donations came in at just under $44,000 for 2012!!! Thanks Again!!
Team Darrel 2012 was: Stephen Robb, Kira Robb, Lauren Robb, John Robb, Helen Robb, Bryan Robb, Janet Willfang, Kim McKnight, Morghan McKnight, and Erin Vink.
In addition, another $75.00 was raised for The James Fund for Neuroblastoma Reserach at SickKids.
June 11-17, 2012 was International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week. Darrel's Playground was asked to help be a part of the Canadian Administrators for the online campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. It was an honour to be involved in such a meaningful and rewarding experience on a global scale. We received many posts, comments, and made new connections throughout the week, that we hope will keep neuroblastoma and childhood cancer awareness in people's minds for days, months, and years to come. As the Facebook and Twitter accounts are only
open for a short period of time each year, we are planning to have a more organized and structured website up and running for the 2013 event. Thanks again to all who visited and "Liked" our Page.