A few months ago, Blake caught wind of a cancer relay here in Arizona, in Phoenix to be exact. So he signed up and the ball started rolling. He was lucky enough to have some of our friends and family sign up on his team, since the race is 12 hours, and one person from the team has to be on the track at all times...he would have been walking a full 12 hours solo if it wasn't for them. The lovely big shock to me, was that in the past few months, Blake and my girlfriends from Edmonton have been working on a surprise. Little did I know that they had planned a trip down here to take part in this relay with Blake, So when I got a phone call from Jill, Kelly and Colleen asking me to join them for a beer...in the CITY...I was totally shocked and caught off guard! Needless to say I quickly threw some over night gear into a bag and ran out the door to join them. The night kicked off with drinks and dinner, drinks and a dueling piano bar, drinks and a club where we stuck out like a few sore thumbs, and of course lots and lots of laughs. Needless to say, Saturday morning came hard and fast, taking aim for my brain, I felt like mother of the year, sitting among the Mormon folk of Queen Creek, ice cold water bottle firmly pressed to my forehead nursing a hangover. After the game ended we ran home so Blake could sleep a bit, since the walk was from 6pm-6am (because cancer never sleeps), he needed a few hours as a buffer. I won't lie, I fell asleep for a bit too...much needed!
The relay was amazing, Brinley was the youngest survivor taking part that they had ever had. Needless to say she became a celebrity among the crowd. She had picture requests with other teams, high school students, and comity members alike. She was brought on stage during the opening ceremonies to personally meet Sparky, the ASU mascot (he was a little scary for her). She also took lead during the survivor walk which was particularly emotional for me. You see, Brinley had to kick the survivor lap off, but she wanted to do it by herself, she didn't want mom and dad's help...however she was a little taken back by the crowd lining the track, clapping for her. So Carter, being the amazing little man that he is, ran around the inside of the track, just in view of Brinley, shadowing her the whole time, and yelling out encouragement. It was phenomenal. Here is my 6 year old little man, taking it upon himself to comfort and encourage his baby sister to run around the track, making it look as if she was doing it alone...but he was right there with her, every step of the way. I still get choked up just typing the words.
Next came to luminaria ceremony, which was absolutely beautiful. We all followed a bag piper around the track, and the track was only lit with the hundreds of luminaria's. Once the lap was complete, the names of the cancer victims, and survivors were read out loud while we all silently walked in the dark. Then we each stood behind a luminaria, one per person and we were all handed blue glow sticks. As the announcer then asked the everyone if we had lost a mother, father, sister brother...etc to cancer and if we had, we were to break the glow stick and walk around the track. It was amazing to see these tiny lights break away from the pack, and walk the track. Needless to say it was an emotional moment where I kind of had to break away and walk alone for a bit to collect myself.
After that I took the kids to our friend's Nate and Natalie's house for the night for a sleep over. Much better solution than driving an hour and 20 mins to get home...much more fun too! Blake and Nate came home limping, raw, and so so sore. I guess walking for 12 hours will do that to you. Blake had huge sore blisters from his shoes, and stiff muscles. But I'm so proud that he really didn't stop. He said if he was to stop, his muscles would get cold and seize up, so to avoid added discomfort and pain, he just continued to walk.
To say this weekend was amazing wouldn't be enough. I can't put into words how much this all meant to me. The visit from my friends, the treatment Brinely received, our friends and family's dedication to supporting the cause, and my husbands amazing effort to not only walk for cancer, but to surprise me. It really means everything to me. Love you all!
|The Luminaria we made for Brinley|
|carter and brin holding the "brin's cancer kickers' sign|