Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Relay for Life 2008

Having missed the Relay for Life last year I promised myself that I will go for it this year. Just having landed back in KL the week before I found myself totally not prepared for the event and I boy was I relieved when I got there. In my mind it was going to be a serious event where people will be running around non stop supporting the good cause but it was nothing like I had expected.

First of all getting there was a nightmare. The roads were jam and even if you make it to the car park there weren't many signboards pointing the way. Many of us just walked towards the stadium and then decided to ask for directions. Upon reaching there however it was totally amazing. It felt as though I was at a carnival.

I'm glad to have been apart of such an amazing event and when the survivor lap started I couldn't help but stare at them in admiration and respect. Here are a group of people who were given lemons and made the best lemonade you've ever tasted in your life. They showed everyone that cancer is just a disease and not a death sentence.

It was a fun filled night and the moment that really hit a soft spot was the luminaria lighting ceremony. People who have lost their loved one placed luminarias along the track and at that moment they lit it up. The lights in the stadium is dimmed down as everyone hushes down and keeps a moment of silence as they say a little prayer for their loved ones.

Throughout the night I was walking around the track, sometimes with friends sometimes alone, sometimes stopping to watch the performances and also taking the time to stop and read the messages written on the luminarias. Some of them were really touching and though I've not lost a close family member to cancer I've seen a loved one go through the whole chemo process and it indeed was a heart wrenching moment. Suddenly I felt as though my presence there was just not enough and I wanted to run. This time it was personal.

I had my backpack with me and wanted to leave it in a friend's tent but at the same time was afraid to leave it there cause no one was around. Then I thought of my other friend who was at the food stalls, it would be much safer there compared to leaving it alone in the tent. Then it suddenly hit me, wait a minute .. Why am I trying to get rid of my backpack ? Well it definitely would make running easier and my backpack weighs a tonne. Like my backpack cancer has been a burden to all those who has them and are they are still struggling with it daily.

Unlike me they don't have a choice to just leave their cancer behind because it's tiring. They can't just take it off their back and pass it on to someone to take care as they concentrate on a certain task. So with my backpack I ran, though not very fast obviously but that didn't stop me. I ran as far as I could for it was not a race to see who was faster, for me it was a battle between the mind and the body. While I was running all I could think about was the past, the memories of being in the hospital watching a loved one suffer from all the medication and chemo. I continued running and the memory and stories I was told by my friends who have lost a loved one to cancer came to mind. The heart skipped a beat and suddenly I was flooded with emotions and it was becoming unbearable and the only way to I knew how get rid of it was to run even more, so I ran. I ran for myself, I ran for my friends who lost a loved one, I ran for those who suffer from cancer and also for those who had lost their lives to it. After what felt like forever I stopped drenched in sweat. I finally felt somewhat satisfied.

Next year I will definitely be back to run even more and next time I'm bringing a lot more people with me !!!