This was our first experience of the Relay for Life, but it will not be our last. Katie enjoyed herself thoroughly; we all felt very good about participating. As you can see in the photo at the left, Katie was all decked out. (The hat is hard to read in this photo, but it is a Vermont Children's Hospital hat. It was a gift from the nurses at Fletcher Allen, and Katie loves it!) As we lined up with the Survivors for the Survivors' Lap, I reminded Katie that ALL of the people in purple t-shirts were kicking cancer's butt--our family catchphrase for the sometimes hard work of being brave and getting strong. Katie was thoroughly impressed: "That is so AMAZING, mom!" She was very proud of herself as she walked around the track to meet her dad, and she waved happily to all the bystanders; she was sure they were all cheering for her! It was a very powerful moment, and I happy to be there with her. Given how sick she has been this week, our pediatrician had recommended that we take it easy, but it was hard to do so. Katie wanted to keep walking. She took snack breaks and stopped to mingle, but we are pretty sure that she walked two or three miles. She may be small, but she is powerful, and she just kept on going.
Special thanks to the members of our team. We raised some money, we ate lots of junk food, and we had fun. Some of us were up all night. Many of us walked too many miles. Sincere thanks for your participation. It was fun to do this TOGETHER.
The final snapshot is a picture of our team beginning the walk. Katie, as you can see, is in her element, surrounded by people she knows and loves and looking forward to adventures with people she might get to meet. This is the perfect event for a social butterfly like this one.
It was a relief, for me, to feel like we have started to repay our community for its support. People have been so good to us. It was a pleasure to walk with friends and family. We met new people and spent time with people we don't see very often. We felt like part of our community, and it felt good. There is something compelling about dancing around a track at three o'clock in the morning with people who are uniformly positive. Everyone was in good spirits, and it was a great pleasure to join in. Katie won't object to returning next year. As she said, more than once, "This is a beautiful party."