Sunday, May 3, 2009

Relay for Life 2009

I have been getting emails for a while from several of you who have had your Relays for Life around the country. You have sent me pictures of luminaries that you have lit in memory of Jake. And shall I say, we are so thankful taht you are still remembering Jake.

Well, it was time for Ouachita (Wash-i-taw, believe it or not) Parish (yep, LA is still the only state to have parishes insted of counties) to have ours. This was the scene when we got to the stadium. I LIKE it! And this was the scene over at the JOR Foundation Booth. Isn't that the most handsome little guy?! We will celebrate his life as long as we draw breath! Here are a few of the cuties who came to remember Jake. They never met him, but they can see a picture of him and they know exactly who he is. And this little one seems to look more like him every day. You know what else they have in common? She LOVES her Aunt Mo! I mean, really, really LOVES her! She doesn't really understand why Ellie and Gabbi think they should be in my lap.... EVER! Even Don commented at the Relay that Jake must have sent word to his sister to take up where he left off! Mo and Maddi are BFF's! And here is Little Girl #3. She is so dang precious. I have decided her color is purple. Just sayin'. And as usual, we made the Relay booth a family affair! Here is JinJin trying to convince the girlies to wear their crowns. I think Maddi obliged for a while, but Ellie said, "Nah!"Here is Masie. I am always excited when I show up somewhere and she is there, because she makes a FINE babysitter. Oh, wait. Did I metion who was the big head honcho, leading the whole survivor lap!? It was Miss ShelbiMae! She has always been special to us, and after learning that her brain tumor is growing again, she is back on chemo. YUCK! But for tonight... she was a hero! Even better than that... she is a SURVIVOR! I would be totally lying if I said it was easy to walk a lap with her and her mom and extended family as a supporter (right now, I am serving not only as friend, but also as physical therapist,and she asked me to join her). I am so happy for the survivors, so I hope this is NEVER perceived in a selfish or negative way. But, I will tell you, I had to keep my mind so far away from what was actually occurring as I was walking around that track. If I even kinda brought my mind back to those who live and those who don't, well, I would start getting teary. I hope I said that in an ok way. I don't know why my words aren't coming well tonight as I try to express myself, but they aren't .

So let me just move right along full steam ahead. Here is PawPaw Raborn. He is alos a survivor and got to make that first lap as such. Marina was there with her crew. Thankfully, she was willing to help hold babies too.And, Staci and I both had our cameras in tow, so we looked like this most of the night. She has a similar picture of me and it should be on her blog soon. Oh, did you know that she has been actually blogging again? Better go see. She may be gone for months again in a day or two. You just never know! I loved that the stadium had these big words in the stands. I will tell you for sure... and from experience... that without this word right here... there is nothing! And that is the truth. When a person has no hope, they have absolutely no plan or dreams for the future. Even if those "dreams" include simply living without pain or getting to live in your own house vs. the hospital or believing that there may be a day that does not include treatment that makes you miserable. I have a close friend who I am praying for a lot of HOPE! (Ryan) and also for one of my patients who needs to hang onto that hope. (Carolyn). Feel free to pray that prayer for those two with me. I mean, HOPE is a big thing! I would venture to say that Hope's counterpart, CURE, is a pretty big thing too! At our Relay, we had a big tent set up for a new study that will be really more for the next generation, but is one of, if not THE, biggest study for prevention of cancer ever in the US. I was more than happy to give my blood and fill out the paperwork, committing myself to be in the study for the rest of my days. I wasn't so fired up about them taking my waist measurements, though! Ha. They asked everything from how often I exercise, to how many cups of veggies/fruits I eat a week, to how much do I consume alcohol to my menstrual cycle and have I had any hormones orally. (Fertility peeps will attest to LOTS of those!). Anyway, this study will tell us whether or not these things (among lots and lots of other factors) contribute to a higher prevalence of cancer.

I did it for people like this... This is Mary Alice, Veronicia's mom. She battled cancer this past year and WON! So hallelujah. I don't want this little one to have to face what she and Jake faced.
Let's look at another one who faced the nasty demon and won. Shelbi Mae. She is posing with Lauren, who had just gotten out of this...YEP. A dunking booth. I love how every booth is so different! People come up with some very unique ideas. Lauren was volunteering for her church. thanks, Whites Ferry Rd. Church of Christ for helping with sponsoring the event.
We found Lauren a little later with all of this on her face. I took her picture, because I will need these ideas for our face painting booth at Jake's Jamboree.

While others painted faces, JOR helpers (here JinJin) spray painted hair! I had some wild requests! I painted dollar signs on top of heads and rainbow painting all the way down some long, long hair!This one didn't need any paint. Curls only here, please.
Awwww, and I just threw in a few pictures of Gabbi Girl for good measure. She makes me grin.
Would you look at her panties? How cute, huh?Veronicia's school (she is a 4th grade teacher) sponsored a booth, as they do every year. I never got around to finding out what their theme was, but they all had on tophats and white gloves.
Maggie and Tucker joined all the big kids out in the middle of the football field for horseplay!
They started playing 80's music over the loud speaker and these two started dancing like we did in Junior High. You know, straight out arms on each other's shoulders. Then, Staci suggested they pose for a picture like we did at some of our first dances too. Here is the result.

Lord, help us.

It was a pretty big turnout. This is a shot on one side of the field.
And as the night wore on, people just kept on fundraising with their games and food and drink sales.
This is Hayden's crew. They found some crawfish and plopped down to peel and eat. Do you do that where you are from? Hey, carrie, remember that?! Well, we do! And we love em. I also love that my nephew lets my baby girl sit in his lap, even when he is around all of his friends. Awww, Hayden. You are too cool.I tried to capture the luminaries all lit up as the only source of light when the stadium lights were turned out.

As well as a picture of the stadium all lit up...

I couldn't use a flash, so they are blurry but cool.

I am always a little confused with my feelings at things like this. I get a little angry that Jake isn't here with us. I get a little sad that he fought so hard and couldn't still be here to play tee ball. I try to put on my happy face for all those who have contributed so much time and energy into making it a success. Mostly, I guess, I am happy that Jake is a child of God and we will get to see him again someday.

Gabbi Girl gave up! Mo


Sandy said...

Mo, I the pictures are great, that lil Gabbi Girl is too sweet. Maddi does look just like Angel Jake. I know he sent her to his family.Love Sandy

Kathryn said...

Thank you for including us! Of course it's hard. You are talking about the deepest emotion known to humankind, and that is never going to be easy. We don't have words. Nobody does.

I do have plenty of words about those pics of friends and family. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Fine. One word, but it's a doozy!

Emily said...

Thank you so much for walking that 2nd lap with Shelbi....I know it must have been terribly hard for you. Shelbi thinks you are "the stuff" so I know it meant a lot to her that you were there alongside her(or actually just behind her since she left you):)

tricia said...

so deeply sorry that your family had to experience losing a child to cancer. you inspire so many with your attitude

snekcip said...

"Words never seem to come out right", when such a monster as cancer are robbing us of our precious babies! Actions always speaks louder than words, and if every once would ACT and do his/her part in helping finding a cure, then we all be "speechless". The "RELAY FOR LIFE" was awesome Mo!! You did a wonderful job of capturing the true beauty of it all.

Mandie said...

Love all your Relay pics...We had ours this weekend as well...You'll have to check out the picture of Noah Jackson riding in the rickshaw for the survivor cute :)

Beth E. said...

I think you express yourself beautifully. I'm sure you have all different kinds of emotions during such special events as the Relay for Life.

The pictures are great, and the Relay looks like it was a big success!

Oh, and BTW. We have crawdads here...we find 'em under rocks and use 'em as bait to catch the bigger fish!

I'm so glad that Staci's back with us once more! I'll admit, though, I'm concerned about her going back to the beach this year. You remember what happened the LAST time!!! LOL

Unknown said...

I'm glad you guys had a successful Relay. The Claiborne Parish Relay is this weekend so I know what I'll be doing this Saturday. Love the pictures. I'll be posting some from our Relay next week.

MLP said...

What a great post, Mo! I love anything about Jake. Such an inspiration. I think the other side of the stadium should have said BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!

No crawfish 'round these parts.

Carrie said...

First of all...Did I really just get mentioned in a post???? I am guessing so since I have pictures of me eating crawfish with you almost 2 years ago. Has it really already been that long? Must be, since Ellie will be 2 this summer and Audrey is already 18 mos! My how time flies. I SO wish I could come back for a visit. Not sure that it is happening this year though :( I hold many fond memories of the time spend with you and the rest of Jakes family.
You did a beautiful job documenting the Relay for Life. I can not imagine the emotions that were flowing for you the entire night. You and your entire family are simply amazing. Thank you so very much for sharing your story with the world.