The Parade of Survivors

The Parade of Survivors

The 2009 Byron Center Relay for Life was held at Nickles Middle School from 3 PM Friday 8 May to 3 PM Saturday 9 May.

We were again with Ann on her “Friends” Team. I arrived at the grounds around 2 PM on Friday after having spent the morning getting things organised for what I needed to take – including making a triple batch of yummy ANZAC Biscuits which have become a tradition amongst our team members there, and loading up the car with chairs, sand for the luminary bags, bottled water, dry clothes in case it rains (hahahaha!!!) and so on.

Ready for the Costume Contest

Ready for the Costume Contest

A number of activities were planned to raise money, including having a dance on a “real” dance floor (more on that later), a Silent Auction, a fancy dress competition  with prizes, and of course absolutely no shortage of food.

Friday was a beautiful day for the event – sun shine, but temperature in the high 60s, so not at all like last year when it was in the 90s and we were lashed by some very violent thunderstorms on the Friday afternoon.

Ann had arranged for the donation of a dance floor – 20 x 24 feet, which was made up of 15 panels each 4 x 8 feet, each weighing 125 lbs. Delivery (and pickup) of the dance floor was donated by Two Men and a Truck. Assembly and disassembly was donated by Kurt and Roger, who got help unloading it from the Two Men, and got help loading from the Two Men, and from Jack and Tim.

The event got underway at 3PM with various activities as well as the walking of laps. One of the highlights was the Survivors Parade, with survivors, and their caregivers taking a lap of the track while everyone else stood to the side of the track and applauded as the the parade made its way around the track.

The Final Lineup

The Final Lineup

Then it was back to the general walking laps, and entertainment of all sorts, and eating, and getting ready for the Costume Contest. Lori and Ann had brought a selection of costumes, and the girls had great fun trying them all on to find out which one they’d like to wear for the contest.

After some shuffling of costumes, we ended up with Daria – the spooky one, Kaitlyn the Hippie, Natalie the Dragon (and the second place winner), Zoe, Morgan as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Ellie as Minnie Mouse, Madison as a Witch, and Sydney is little Devil Girl and the Grand Prize Winner.

Daria making up Uncle Roger

Working to a Plan

Daria decided that now that the girls were all made up the photographer needed to be made up too, so she chose a design from the book and “had at it”. Sydney assists by holding the book open for her.

The big winners at the Costume Contest were Devil Girl Sydney who took home the Grand Prize of a night at The Hampton Inn, and Natalie who won “The Almost Winner” prize of $45 voucher at Outback Steakhouse.

After the Costume Contest was over the next activity was getting the Luminaria bags out and lined up around the track, weighed down with some sand in them, and then the candles lit. As darkness falls the glow from the bags provides a warming feeling as you walk past them around the track.

Luminaria for Joan and Bob

Luminaria for Joan and Bob

Lisa’s bags are as usual a work of art – this year made at home in advance so she could spend even longer on them. Her Mum’s bag is modelled on a Van Gogh painting of irises, while the bag in memory of her Dad is based on an M C Escher drawing and depending on how you squint at it you see birds or fish. In previous years it has always seemed to be the best decorated bags which catch fire first as the wind blows them around and the candle inside sets fire to the bag. This year we came prepared with some frames to hold the bags more upright, and battery powered fake candles. The problem was the battery powered candles, even when 3 or 4 of them were put into a bag didn’t give off as much light as a single candle. And finally the irony was that this year it was almost completely calm, and not a single bag caught fire. Oh Well.

Luminaria Avenue

Luminaria Avenue

As the evening progressed tiredness set in. Some people, me included, decided that sleeping at home seemed like a better option than either not sleeping at all, or sleeping in a camper van, so I headed home about 1 AM for a few hours sleep, intending to go back earlyish Saturday morning.Alas Saturday was not a good day – it started raining and blowing a bit before 0800, making things less than pleasant, and certainly a far cry from the previous evening. So it was for the most part in huddle mode, and also packing everything back up and away, including dismantling the dance floor ready to load it into the Two Men and a Truck when they arrived to pick it up. The organisers decided to end the event a few hours early, wrapping up at 12 Noon, rather than the scheduled 3 PM.

A complete photo gallery is available in this next post here.

  One Response to “2009 Byron Center Relay for Life”

  1. […] and is a breast cancer survivor.There were 2 Cancer walks during the year – the 24 hour “Relay for Life” in May, and then the 5 Km “Walk for the Cure” in downtown Grand Rapids in […]

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