June 1, 2007

I Wear My Sneakers At Night.

Posted in Cancer., Family, Granny., Life, My Father, My Mother, Personal, Relay for Life., Susan Komen. at 9:40 pm by Kaylaface.

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Along side recounting events from my life and Relay, I want to help raise awareness, whether it’s for breast cancer, lung cancer, or cancer in general. Everyone needs to know that it’s not something you can just have surgery for and POOF! it’s gone. There’s chemotherapy, radiation, pill after pill after pill, yet there is no guarantee it won’t kill you.

I wasn’t sure what color ribbon to to get as a picture for this post. Every color stands for a different type of cancer. That, my friends, is when it hit me: there are too many types of cancer for colors. When I was a kid, I’d get the big packs of crayons with 96 different color crayons in them; what does that say? I wanted a bracelet that showed support for lung cancer specifically and do you know what I was told? There really isn’t one; lung cancer is CLEAR. I don’t care if you give money or not, but I hope you know that cancer’s not something to shrug off your shoulders. I also hope you at least take the time to look into some of the foundations that raise money for finding a cure whether it’s Relay for Life or the Susan Komen foundation. Be aware. That’s all I ask.

If you read my dad’s blog, then I’m sure you’re aware of the fact my mom and I walked at Relay for Life last back in April. I read his post and decided I should blog about it. Sort of from my POV.

I suppose I should explain somethings before I go into the Relay itself. (Beware, there’s a lot to be explained.)

My grandmother.

The most amazing person to have ever walked on the face of this earth. I don’t care who you are or what you say, if you knew her, you would agree. She was passionate and caring. She put everyone else in front of her, especially her kids and grandkids. There are 10 of us grandbabies (my brother and myself included) and every single one of us have lived with her at least once in our lifetimes, with the exception of the three youngest who are just getting out of diapers, but are living in her house now. (better late than never, I suppose.) She was a good southern Baptist woman who stood by her faith just as well as she stood by my Papaw. If there was ever anything any of us needed, she was quick to get it for us. She appreciated the small things in life. She’s everything I want to be when I grow up; she’s everything I try to be now.

Behind the hospital I was born in is a Ronald McDonald house. For those of you who don’t know, Ronald McDonald houses are placed by hospitals and such for the families of patients. If you have someone in the hospital and they’re going to be there for a day or two, then the Ronald McDonald house opens their doors and you get a room. It’s like a hotel, but free. They run solely on donations. To be honest, from what I understand, my family members have had their share of stays in there.

When I was seven years old, Granny Bea found an article in the newspaper that this particular Ronald McDonald house was taking donations in the form of soda tabs. You give them the tabs, they recycle them, get money, and go buy groceries so the families there have food to eat. Granny thought we should give it a shot and started collecting tabs. We were so into that we had family members states away saving them and then bringing them to us at reunions or vacation visits. I haven’t stopped since. She’s been dead for nearly three years and I refuse to give up on her. I keep on collecting and every time we go visit, we stop and drop off bags full. The last time I made a donation, Mom and I handed them four 1-gallon bags filled of tabs. Like I said, I’m not giving up.

See how wonderful she was and what sort of influence she had on people?

When she died, I thought I did too. I mean, she was there when I needed her the most; she raised me when mom was working 2 jobs and Dad was 500 miles away. She made me the young woman I am today. She died the day before her 62nd birthday and I remember waking up, not even with my eyes open, thinking, “Gotta wish Granny a happy birthday…wait, she’s not there…” Do you know what that kind of thing does to a thirteen year old girl?

Since then, Mom and I have been dedicated to doing what we can to help in finding a cure so no one else has to go through that. We do Relay, give regular donations, wear ribbons, and so on and so forth. I want to die knowing in some way I’ve helped the world get one step closer, if not all the way, to getting that cure and stopping all the pain and suffering it causes, not just for the victims, but for their families.

So on April 28, 2007, I put on my school team shirt and prepared myself for a long, hard night. I made sure I wore my comfortable sneakers to school that day so I’d have them for the continuous walking that was ahead. I was actually disappointed this year. There weren’t that many people, tents, and my team didn’t really do that much as far as the contests went.

Last year though, wow. We had a banner, dressed one of our boys up for the pageant, and only got an hour of sleep. I was up walking at 3am. When Mom and I finally went home, I could barely walk because my feet were so blistered. But I loved every minute of it and I knew those blistered meant something.

A friend of mine asked me to do an interview for the local paper about the relay. I gave her a condensed version of everything you’ve read so far. And lo and behold, it was published; right in the local section of the paper. Again, I was feeling pretty good about myself; not only had I spent all night at Relay for Life, but I was spreading the word through the media. I got to share my grandmother’s story and hopefully everyone who read it was touched.

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8 Comments »

  1. Yvonne said,

    Well said. Great post. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Thank you for reading 🙂

  3. Martyne said,

    You’ve opened up a whole new world for me. I looked into the Ronald McDonald home thing and it turns out there is one less than fifty miles away from me in Glasgow (Scotland). Burger chains get some bad press these days so it’s good to hear that something good can come out of them. I am glad they were able to help your family in a time of need. Explain soda tabs to me. We don’t use that term here.

  4. I’m glad you’ve looked into it. It is really a great organization and I love giving to them.

    Soda tabs, as in Pop tabs? The little things to open a can. I don’t know how to explain it….

    Here’s a picture.

  5. 07SPD said,

    Hi.
    I wonder where do you send this soda tabs, pop tabs?
    me and mu class wants to do this but don´t know where to send it? please answer!

  6. Idetrorce said,

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  7. 07SPD,

    Here’s a link to the donation page for the Ronald McDonald Houses.

    Clicky!

    I wish your class luck in donations. Keep me posted in how well you do.

    Idetrorce,

    What don’t you agree with?

  8. elena said,

    i read your post and was sort of shocked because it really describes exactly how i feel about my grandma. in april her lung cancer came back and it’s really messed me up. i’m sorry about your grandma but i gotta say… thanks 🙂


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