Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From the Daily News

This left me speechless.

From the Galveston Daily News –

Relay For Life is still here after Hurricane Ike By Lisa Velasquez Contributor

Published April 12, 2009 GALVESTON — I’m a cancer survivor. I’ve beaten the odds, and I just marked 10 years of being cancer-free.This past year, I learned another important survivor lesson, as did so many of us who call Galveston home.I’m a survivor of a different kind now — there are so many of us who lost so much, including hope, Sept. 13.But we’re strong people. We didn’t give up. We began rebuilding, not just our lives, but rebuilding hopes — as we work toward the return of our beloved island.We hope for a better tomorrow. So does the American Cancer Society in its fight against cancer.Thirteen regional divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities and millions of volunteers, including everyone involved with Relay For Life, are building hope.I’m proud to support the ACS by participating in Relay For Life, the No. 1 nonprofit fundraising activity in the world, celebrating its 25th anniversary.The Relay kicks off with a celebration of cancer survivors.There are more than 9 million cancer survivors in the world today, and we honor those courageous people in our community.This year, Frank Billingsley, of KPRC-TV in Houston, will be on stage to celebrate our survivors and kick off the official first lap.The Survivor lap has always held special meaning for me.It reminds me of why I became involved in Relay: to celebrate the fact that I’m still on Earth, even after I heard those three dreaded words, “You have cancer;” also to honor my husband, who was fighting cancer at the time and lost his battle.That lap reminds me that it’s possible to inspire others through actions, that what I do as a cancer survivor may impact another person who might be beginning their fight. Never underestimate the power actions can hold to someone who needs to hear “It’s going to be OK. You’re not alone.”The most moving and memorable part of Relay For Life is the Luminaria Ceremony, beginning at dusk.Survivors and those we’ve lost are honored at this unique ceremony.Paper bags bearing the names of loved ones line the track, filled with sand and a candle.The overhead lights are dimmed, and names of those lost to the disease are read aloud.These beautiful tributes provide hope that we can find a light in the darkness that is a cancer diagnosis.Relay is a family-friendly activity, with games, fundraisers and entertainment.I’m urging the entire Galveston community — whether you live, work or volunteer here — to join us at Relay For Life of Galveston Island at 6 p.m. April 24 at Moody Gardens.It provides an opportunity for the community to join as one in the fight against cancer.Celebrate hope right here on Galveston Island.If you can’t attend, please consider a donation in support of this event.For information, visit relaygalveston.com.Cancer doesn’t stop for a hurricane. Neither can we.Lisa Velasquez lives in Galveston.

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