Relay for Life

by

Laura Garcia CannonWhat an event filled weekend! When Brent and I aren’t coming to you live on air Monday through Friday, often times you can find us out in the community hosting events sponsored by the station and serving as master of ceremonies. I got to do just that on Saturday morning for the Almaden Relay for Life. Who knew what would start as a “station appearance” would end up being such a personal moving experience, leading to wonderful new friendships and a lot of support.

I don’t talk a lot about my very personal life, it’s not news, it’s well, personal. But to the group I was talking to on Saturday, I needed to. You see, the Almaden Relay for Life is put on by the American Cancer Society. Teams of walkers sign up to walk around the clock for those who have battled cancer, those who have lost their lives to the disease, and to fight to find a cure. The event raises awareness and funds to help those touched by cancer and empower people to fight back against the disease.

I hosted the race last year when I sadly informed the crowd that cancer hit close to home for me too. My mother was diagnosed in the spring of 2006. Two years to the day she was diagnosed sadly enough, we had her funeral. She passed away on Valentine’s Day earlier this year. It is such a great loss in my life, it’s until now can I even blog about it. But after this weekend, I now understand how important it is to let others battling this disease and their friends and families know that you are not alone.

I did well up a bit mc’ing the event, telling many in the crowd who had heard about my personal journey against the disease that it had claimed the life of the woman who gave me life. But little did I know, the incredible support I would receive from complete strangers. A hug, a pat on the back, kind words, true understanding for the incredible loss, because many in this crowd had been through the very same thing.

I made some wonderful new friends at an event where I just thought I would be making an appearance. A complete stranger asked if I would round the laps with her relay team. One lap became two, two became three and so on and so on. She had lost her father two years prior. She shared her pain, I shared mine. We talked, we cried, we laughed. It’s odd to think it was actually cancer that bonded us… If you’ve lost a loved one to this horrible disease, you are not alone. If you’re fighting it, give it your all. Take it one day at a time as my mom used to say. If you’re a caretaker, family member or friend of someone fighting, make every day count. Be there for them.

Thanks to the great people that put on the event, and for the beautiful Luminaria Ceremony. At dusk they line up luminarias enscribed with peoples names that are fighting the disease or those that have lost the battle. They are left burning throughout the night to remind participants of the incredible importance of their contributions. Thanks for letting me write my mom’s name on one. The light she gave me in life will never go out. It was a fitting tribute. The event ended up being one of the most personal I’ve ever attended. Thanks to all those involved.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

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4 Responses to “Relay for Life”

  1. Jeni Says:

    Laura~
    ((((hugs))))) It is so true that those who have had the tragic experience can truly understand your pain. Last year, I did the Avon walk in honor of my late mother in law, and I was touched by the stories and courage of so many. My MIL beat the breast cancer(with her 5yrs clear), only to be taken from us after a 2yr fight against ovarian cancer. I am so thankful she fought, because if she had not I would have missed the wonderful relationship I shared with her. She is the woman who gave my husband life, and shared with me the experiences and wisdom she had to maintain a long lasting marriage. (She passed away just days short of her 55th Anniversary.)
    Thank you for sharing, you are not alone~(((Hugs)))
    Jeni S.

  2. Phyllis Chai Says:

    Dear Laura,
    Last yr. I walked in the Almaden “Relay for Life”(with my daughter-in-law, Honey LeKander Chai, then in treatment for cancer, and our son, Dave), and so loved being there as you on Sat. a.m. as you mc-d the event; on this past Sat. I was so happy when I saw the reserved parking space with your name by the Leland track…I again loved being there as you “kicked off” the week end event, sharing about your beloved mother, along with your tears…Healing is like that, with emotions coming up at perhaps unexpected times; being strong is about feeling the feelings…Shedding tears increases ones endorphins, good health…My husband and I watch “your” Morning Show each day; we love it and the whole team (We loved Shannon, and wonder where she now is)…It was so good to have Mike back today…even tho’ Nicole was sweet and did her best to “hold the fort”…:>) …I think you interviewed Julie Chai (our daughter) of “Sunset” magazine garden dept. one time…Fun for us to watch.
    Thanks so much for being at the Almaden “Relay” again !!!

    Phyllis Chai.

  3. Linda Says:

    Laura,
    Thank you for sharing your story and for being part of Relay for Life. My father lost his battle with cancer over 10 years ago and I still miss him. I have been participating in Relay for Life for the past 5 years and two years ago I was asked to speak and share my fathers story. There are several people in my family who continue to battle cancer; one as young as 6 years old. Like you, Relay offered me an opportunity to laugh and cry with others like ourselves but most of all Relay offers us an opportunity to work toward a cure.

    In spirit,
    Linda O.

  4. Stand Up to Cancer « The Breakfast Blog Says:

    […] agree on. We need to find a cure for cancer. It is a fight worth fighting.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, I lost my mother to cancer this year so it is very personal to me.  She was the light of the day, […]

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