Relay For Life funds fight against cancer

OSCEOLA COUNTY — For some, it was all about walking for a friend.

For some it was for a loved one who had passed away.

For still others, it was for someone who was still waging war against a foe named cancer.

For some, it was their own personal battle.

For many, a white ribbon draped across their chests and the single word “Survivor” said it all. They had fought that battle and they had won.

For still others, it was the reality that the foe had reared its ugly head again.

One speaker shared about losing relatives and a friend. And having it herself.

Another told how he was only 21 when he was diagnosed with a liver disease. Rare and incurable. A small chance he could develop a cancer related to the disease. Twice a year he had checkups. Six months ago no spots. Two months ago, he was stage four. He’s 25 now.

The battles go on. And so does the Relay For Life. As funds are raised, so are hopes. Hopes that some day a cure will be found.

For those walking, and cancer-free friends who walked for them and with them, it is an annual show of force. They against “it.”

There were tears, and laughter. A little girl and possibly her mom walked hand-in-hand at times. Both wore the ribbon “Survivor,” and although the child teared up early on, halfway around the track her first lap, she sported a ready smile for the photographer.

There was music, and there was military. The VFW did a flag ceremony, then as dozens of survivors neared the east end of the football food at the Osceola County Fairgrounds, they led them the rest of the way.

There were pictures, pauses, husbands and wives walking hand in hand, sometimes one had a ribbon, sometimes both. Quilts showed names signed by those who had been part of it last year, the year before and several other years in the past.

There were games and gatherings, and there was the moment of sending “doves” skyward, a sign of hope.

There were those who walked because of, still others who walked in spite of. Luminaries outlined the path around the track late into the night, and the Gold Wings who always make it a point to be there when the Relay For Life happens, did their annual light show. For those who came to walk, and for those on those motorcycles who were survivors themselves. Or sitting in the crowd.

It was an emotional gathering, but the kind conversation and the voices of hope and the sharing their stories made it a night to remember. One to hold onto to replay between now and next year, again and again.