There are rare days in our lives when we experience something for the first time and wonder why we haven't participated before because we can't imagine missing it again. Today was one of those days. Today was Hilmar's very first Relay for Life. And mine too. It started at 8:30 this morning so at the writing of this post we're half way through our 24 hour commitment. 24 team members, 24 hours to walk. And we're all in it together.
As an added bonus, I as also able to fulfill one my my life long wishes... a bucket list item for me. I've always wanted to wear a mascot uniform at an event like this. Today was my chance. When Hilmar High School's football coach heard of my wish, he made one phone call and made it happen. An hour later, I had a costume and a partner. (Thanks Tracy.) What a hoot! It's amazing just how foolish you can act when you're covered up and no one knows you you are. Thank you Coach Marques for the wish come true.
As much fun as that was, the best part of the day has been the people we've been visiting all day. Our campsite has been full of family and dear friend all day... and we haven't stopped laughing. What a perfect example of grace when you can take a horrible issue like cancer and turn it into a joyous occasion for hope.
It's dark now, and the memorials are lit all around the track. It's a beautiful image. But he memory that will be forever etched in my mind is the man who has walked all day long. I noticed him early and when he kept passing our campsite I began to take notice. He has not stopped. He walks alone with determination and purpose. We have recently learned that he has walked 100 laps today, 25 miles... in memory of his wife who passed away from cancer just a few short months ago. He will always be my Relay inspiration. Someday I will thank him for his example.