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Relay Report — 2017
Another successful Relay for Life is in the books and another example of how at St. John’s, we do good things. Since we all have in some ways been affected by cancer it’s no surprise that people want to do something to help eradicate it from our lives. Here at St. John’s we do just that we prep and walk and bake and craft and walk and pray and donate and purchase raffle tickets and walk and walk.
Shout outs to all who donated to our bake sale, constructed wish bracelets especially Lois and Clarissa, helped with decorations for our tent site especially Claire, Dan, Lexi and Linda. For Cheryl and her masterpiece quilts won by Evelyn Clarke and Virginia Army, to the Brotherhood of St. John’s for allowing us the use of the popcorn machine at the Relay. For Susi and her highly anticipated Relay Mugs, and all of you who purchased Luminaria in record breaking numbers for the always moving Friday evening ceremony. All of this helped St. John’s raise over $4500 and place 8th in team fundraising in this year’s event that raised a total of $116,165.
As my partner in crime, Diane Dalo, and I were walking the track at 3:30am Saturday we reflected on how the dark of night (and this years almost freezing cold temperatures) is an annual opportunity for us to be present and consider our blessings. That no matter how tired and unprepared for the cold we were feeling, a cancer diagnosis is not something you can be prepared or well rested for and it was our duty to walk for others who couldn’t. To walk for the family whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer after feeling ill on Christmas Day who eventually taught those she came across during her treatment and eventual passing not to cry for her as she was going to a better place. To walk alongside the woman who walked all night long with her walker determined to complete 80 laps-she did. We applauded the survivors and caregivers who kick off the Relay event and our own Father Bill who himself walked 4 miles Friday evening.
This year’s event began with Diane and I a bit concerned because the previously reliable, and energetic at the wee hours of the morning, youth of St. John’s are growing up and had work and proms to attend. It was left to the Halpryn trio, Erica, Diane and I. So the plan was to pace our selves to make it through and since Teddy had a lofty goal he was ALWAYS on the track (taking better care of himself than ever before with fluids and self-regulated breaks). With the help of Bill and Susi, Lois, Claire and Dan, Jackie and her daughter, Carol Kibbe, Maureen, Carol Fenner, Alfreda, Virginia, Kimmie, Dave, Bethany and the youngest member of the Spirit Walker team Emily, Bentley, Maizie and Roxie we were able to save ourselves for the early morning hours. In those dark hours, the quiet times, those Good Friday moments we read how the voice of God can be heard if you just give it the opportunity. Well God certainly has a sense of humor because in our reflective quiet moments waiting for the sun to rise, 3:45 to be exact, we heard the voice-gruffly piercing the darkness with “I don’t care I am walking this direction” Diane and I knew in an instant exclaiming “I know that voice- It’s Ron Cronsell (and of course Carol)!!!! “ It was a laugh and release we needed to continue to walk for those who can’t. The rooster crowed, the sun rose and the Spirit Walkers team continued its 24-hour journey to be present on the track.
I truly believe trumpets sounded around 5am when Dave Smith clad with Dunkin Donuts, bagels and a Box of Joe arrived ready to walk and give us all (except Teddy of course) a chance to shut our eyes for bit. I awoke as the other overnighters began to stir and noticed that we were unaware Dave had been relieved by Gretchen and Lexi who now walked the track. Diane and I really didn’t need to worry that we would have a tough time this year completing the task. It was a beautiful moment when we realized we really have the best church ever! And say what you will about young people today, but the youth of our parish we were missing, came anyway-Jake after work, Max post prom Saturday morning and even Rachel and date took a lap in prom gown and heels!!! The people of St. John’s show up and do what needs to be done. We are there for you without asking. Without needing instruction or permission. Just there. We will put in the miles needed just like Lexi with her 10 miles, Amelia with 17 miles, Erica with 21 miles, Clarissa with 23.25 miles and Teddy, drum role please…… with 40 miles!! St. John’s, we show up. We are and will continue to be there for the greater community, without asking. In the daylight and the dark, for the laughter and the tears, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday moments with a ready hand and heart full of compassion. — Melissa Fenner