Thursday, April 26, 2012

Relay Time Again

I have been participating in Relay For Life for a few years now. Last year I was on the committee for our local event.

Of course, I'm doing it again this year. I've found out that some of my friends have just lost family to cancer, or just had family diagnosed. For some of my friends, this is their first time dealing with cancer so close to them.

It may seem a little depressing, but I kind of grew up with cancer. Not me personally, but I had lots of great aunts and uncles who had cancer. Big family.

The first case that really stands out in my mind is Barbara Losli. She wasn't related to me, but a family friend. She started a children's choir in our church. I joined. I don't know how long I was in that choir, but after a while, I was about 12, and everyone else was like 8 or younger. So she made me her assistant director while she played piano. She was the first person to really believe in my singing ability (other than my folks, of course). She pushed me to do solos, to sing more.

We were getting ready for a special mass for Easter, where our little choir would do all the music. And then my mom was telling me that Barb was dead.

What I hadn't known, was that Barb had throat cancer. She was in a lot of pain, and treatments weren't helping. She decided she'd had enough, I guess. I don't remember exactly what happened, but she either missed an appointment or had an appointment at her house. Father Fred (priest at our church) showed up at her house and found her in her car in the garage. She'd left it running. There was a note inside. This was my first time dealing with a suicide.

Another pianist for the church helped the children's choir do our mass, and we dedicated it to Barb. I barely remember the mass, but I remember having a hard time singing. I still have some silly little trinkets that Barb had given me. I keep them to remember her.

I've lost many other since then to cancer. Quite a few great aunts and uncles, a kid my age in junior high, my best friend's dad and brother (her mother is a survivor), and others.

I don't want my nieces and nephews, my friends' kids, or my goddaughter to grow up knowing cancer as closely as I do. That's why I Relay. 

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