My name is Heather and I am a 20 year old student who has had the privilege of being a part of something much larger than myself. I am putting Cancer in the history books. Below you will find my Relay story and more about how Cancer has touched my life, but at the end you will see that I have pledged to shave my head if we hit our overall event goal of $25,000 by closing ceremony on April 21st, 2013. I have always been one who donated my time since I wasn't capable of giving monetarily, but this year I want to raise at least $500 to help my event hit our goal. I want to do everything I can to make sure I am bald come the 22nd, to show those in my family who I have lost that they are not forgotten. To show the survivors in my family that there is hope. And to show the world that together, we can make a difference. Every dollar helps. And please share this with others because Cancer is everyone's business. Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this and my story below.
Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to begin the conversation.
Perhaps it was the pretty shade of purple that covered the flyer in my high school hallway. Perhaps it was my passion for helping others in any way I can. And perhaps it was God pointing me to the first step of my story. Whatever it was, I joined relay for Life my Sophomore year of high school in 2008.
All it took was one night.
One night to show me what Relay was; one night to witness the power of a community that comes together for one purpose; one night to know that Relay was for me.
I participated in Relay again my Junior year, but I needed more. So when I learned of open positions on the committee, I went for it.
All it took was a leap of faith.
A leap of faith to join something that was larger than me; a leap of faith to turn my passion into action; a leap of faith to change my life forever.
As I spent my Senior year on the Relay committee I realized I could not imagine my life without Relay as I looked at the next step of my life, college. So I did the most reasonable thing I could think of, I began asking colleges if they had a Relay. Again perhaps it was chance, perhaps it was fate, but the school I had been interested in since Sophomore year had introduced their first Relay for Life on campus in April. I selected this school partly because they had a Relay.
I walked onto Hamline’s campus for the first time on move in day, my first time in Minnesota, all alone without anyone I knew, I began looking for signs of Relay. Soon I saw the table tent for the first committee meeting.
All it took was the willingness to walk into the unknown.
I was the only freshman to join the committee composed of mainly seniors, and one junior. Though hesitatnt at first I began offering my insight on relay and learned that I was surround by students just as passionate about this cause as I was.
There was only one issue. They all relayed for someone. Me? I relayed for my community. I mean sure I knew of people who had been affected by cancer, but I was one of those rare cases who never had anyone in my family affected by cancer.
All it took was a question after my freshman year Relay.
A question to learn my Family’s history on cancer. My Nana had been a breast cancer survivor but she had died while I was young and I didn’t know her well. My great aunt had battled cancer multiple times.
Then my grandmother was diagnosed with Breast cancer.
This, this I could not do. All it took was my everything. I was angry, confused, and scared.
But all it took was a prayer, a hope, the support of my fellow relayers, and a passion to fight this horrible disease.
My grandma is now a survivor but my sophomore summer I lost my uncle to Brain Cancer. I have had enough of cancer messing up my family. I have had enough of cancer taking those that I love, those that my friends love, and those that God loves.
And all it takes is the drive.
The drive to make a difference, the drive to stand up against cancer, the drive to register for relay.
As I come up to my 8th relay for life, I have written so much of my story with each step I take around that track. However I am part of a much larger story. The story of how we put cancer in the history books.
All it takes is a dollar.
A dollar to provide transportation to treatment for a patient, a dollar to provide lodging at a hope lodge, a dollar to provide the hope in someone’s battle.
And this year, all it take is a dollar to get me one step closer to our overall goal of $25,000 by closing ceremony and I will be shaving my head. The way I see it is if I can do something as small as shaving my head to raise money for those who involuntarily lose theirs at times while battling cancer, than you bet I am going to take it.
All it took was me beginning the conversation on my Family's history to learn that the breast cancer my Nana had was genetic.
All it takes is you.
Together we will put cancer in the history books.