Saturday, May 30, 2015

Relay for Life - Luminaria Ceremony

9:00 PM: Mark: We all come to Relay for the same basic reasons: We may have fought cancer ourselves or watched someone we love battle the disease. So we Relay. We Relay so that we can celebrate cancer survivors. We find a place of common understanding when we come here as survivors and join others who have faced the same disease. We Relay to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer in our lives. Perhaps it’s a loved one who has emerged victorious. Relay gives us a place to rejoice in that victory together. At the same time, we also celebrate the lives of people we’ve lost. We remember the journey we walked with our loved ones, and we Relay to keep their memory alive. The luminaria lining the track gives us a way to honor their memory. We Relay, too, to find comfort and healing from others who experienced the same loss and understand our grief. In both celebrating the lives of those we love and remembering those we’ve lost, we are motivated to do something – anything – to make sure no one else we care about, or no one else we know, has to face this disease.

Dawn: Speaks about her mom.
Mark – Please do not crack your glow sticks until you are directed to do so.

Kurt – We remember the courageous tonight. Stuart Scott, an ESPN broadcaster who died this year after battling cancer for 7 years, reminded us that (in his words) “this whole fight [with cancer], this journey thing is not a solo venture. This is something that requires support. & When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live…So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”

His words remind me of the famous words of the poet Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Tonight let us celebrate and honor the lives of, not only our valiant cancer survivors & their caregivers, but also those who are no longer with us. Let us not go gentle but rage against the dying of the light. For Cancer shows no preference. It strikes young, old, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and friends. Tonight let us pay tribute to those we love, and all whose lives have been touched by cancer and take a quiet moment and pray.

(a moment of silence)

Loving God, as we walk the relay for life, help us to celebrate the little victories with cancer, for those who cancer is in remission, for those who have hope in new therapies. Let us remember those who have died and all who mourn for loved ones, those families that continue to struggle with cancer and all who minister to those fighting the good fight. Be with us as we fight back against this disease so we can celebrate more birthdays and less days with cancer. Amen.

As we prepare to light these glow sticks, these our candles, let us hear the words of life and hope from the poem Candles by Surjit Paatar:

Light these candles.
Rise, light these candles.
There will remain,
These quarrelsome winds,
But you should light these candles.

May darkness not think the moon scared.
May night not think the sun dead.
Light these lamps to honor life.
Rise, light these candles.

Granted, the night's reign may be stubborn,
But rays of light still survive.
On dark pages, verses revealing life.
Rise, light these candles.

These cruel whirlwinds will remain,
The fall will shake away the leaves,
But this does not mean that new leaves will not grow.
Rise, light these candles.

Unafraid of the poison that spreads daily in the wind,
Nature continues to do its duty,
Of transforming poison into nectar.
Rise, light these candles…

Do not linger on death,
reflect upon the passage of time.
These difficulties will pass away.
Rise, light these candles.

Mark - Relay For Life is held to remember those we have lost to cancer, to support all those who are battling the disease, and to work towards the day that no one has to hear the words – “you have cancer.”

Mark/Dawn/Kurt: Please rise and take your Luminaria glow sticks in hand. Tonight, we pay tribute to those we love, and those whose lives have been touched by cancer. Please crack your glow stick when you receive your cue:

· If you are honoring your father or mother, please crack your glowstick now.
· If you are honoring your brother or sister, please crack your glowstick now.
· If you are honoring your husband, wife, or partner, please crack your glowstick now.
· If you are honoring your son or daughter, please crack your glowstick now.
· If you are honoring a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or other relative, please crack your glowstick now.
· If you are honoring a friend or neighbor, please crack your glowstick now.
· If you are here as a survivor, we celebrate with you and ask you to crack your glowstick now.

We now ask all of you to line the track and get ready to walk a lap in silence for everyone we are honoring…

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