Friday, September 18, 2020

American Cancer Society Cares

 

 

By Maureen Chodaba

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

There were games, prizes, music, food, and laughter. The day was filled with the spirit of fun. It was Community Day in 1965 in the small upstate New York town where I was raised. It was a day when all ages came together to celebrate life.

The energy and enthusiasm filled my soul, but then I awoke from that wonderful dream. I wasn’t really sleeping. It was 1995 and I was awakening from general anesthesia after surgery. I was a world away from that joyous day in 1965, but somehow, that wonderful memory was the first to break through my subconscious and come forth to my mind. Perhaps it was an attempt to shield me from the news. I had cancer. That was my new reality. I knew that it would take all the strength I could find to carry me through the next chapter in my life. I had once been told, “Cherish your memories for they will one day give you great strength.” Little did I know that my memory of Community Day 1965 would guide me on my new journey. Little did I know that we learn from our memories. We evolve from our memories. And we go forward with the help of our memories.

It is 2016 and I am a 21-year survivor of cancer. In 2015, I participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Marco Island. There were games, prizes, music, food, laughter, and

Luminaria Ceremony at Mackle Park (2015). On April 9, 2016 stop by Mackle Park between 10 AM and 10 PM to show your support for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Luminaria Ceremony at Mackle Park (2015). On April 9, 2016 stop by Mackle Park between 10 AM and 10 PM to show your support for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

fun…oh, so much FUN!!! There were festival tents, each one representing a team in the fight against cancer. Smiling faces of all ages took part in raffles, contests, face painting, a bounce house, and arts and crafts. Live entertainment onstage added to the festivities. I could not help but feel that my life had indeed come full circle. It was Community Day all over again, but this time with a newfound force; this time to fight back against this dreadful disease.

Amidst the celebration, there was also a time to remember. Once the sun had set on beautiful Marco Island, the Luminaria Ceremony began. Beacons of light were illuminated in honor and in memory of those who had been touched by cancer. They filled the crowd with the gift of remembrance and a message of hope. We were empowered to Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back!”

Please join us April 9th for “Relay Road Trip – Destination- END CANCER,” the 2016 Relay For Life of Marco Island, presented by Robert J. Flugger. It will be a “trip” around the USA as each team depicts a state. It just may bring you back to a wonderful time and place!

The time is NOW to register your team, join an existing team, or just plan to attend the event on April 9, 2016 from 10 AM until 10 PM at Marco Island’s beautiful Mackle Park. For more information, please contact the American Cancer Society at 239-642-8800, email Nikkie.Sardelli@cancer.org or visit www.relayforlife.org/marcoislandfl.

 

 

 

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