Team Force: The Resurgence (2012)

It was about a year ago today that I told you all via blogosphere that I was going to take a break from the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. You all remember the post, “Team Force: The End” don’t you?

By now some of you may know that I never do what I say. I’m not good at living up to my word. I’m sorry.

And by now some of you know that I haven’t really lived up to my words from a year ago. Though technically I did take a break from Team Force.

Instead, on the morning of last year’s Relay I decided I wouldn’t feel good about myself if I didn’t give being the Event Chair a shot. That’s right. I went from taking a break from the entire event to running the entire event!

NOTE: I’m not flying solo. That same morning I walked over to Mr. Big Dog and said, “I think I’m going to see if I can be the Event Chair next year.” His response, “If you do it I’ll do it with you.” Done and done! Event Co-Chairs!

So let’s breakdown what I wrote last year and how it compares a year later. Here are a few quotes from last year’s entry and what’s been done since:

“Next week will be our seventh Relay for Life and the last as Team Force.”

Ha! Team Force is back for Year 8 and I’ve realized that Team Force has become a “name brand” in the Monroe Relay. Other teams and participants rely on Team Force to be involved. This is no joke. As the Event Chair I’ve heard numerous people comment about Team Force. We actually have a reputation, it may differ depending on if you think we’re noisy and obnoxious or a fun group to party with, but we have a reputation. We come prepared. We bring energy to each and every event. We’re seasoned. We like to have a good time! We’re an example of Lis’ fight against cancer. We celebrate!

…I compare [Team Force] to a [sports] franchise that built from the bottom, had a solid run through the middle years before finally realizing that the run has to end somewhere and it’s time to rethink and maybe rebuild.”

Ha! We’re currently second in fundraising, closing in on $6,000 raised ($5,918 to be exact) in the fight against cancer. In fact, this was our biggest fundraising year EVER! That’s right. We’ve made more money this year than we did in our previous seven years.

And since I was moving on to the Event Chair I needed someone to take over my Team Captain duties. I wasn’t going to pull double-duty. No way! So I called on someone that I thought could handle the Team Captain duties – my Mom!

First I recruited both my Mom and sister-in-law to be team co-captains but then I coaxed my sister-in-law into becoming a Committee member and my Mom took over as the Team Captain. Perfect!

She’s “led” us to our most donations. She’s actually made decorations for our campsite, the first time in our eight years doing this that we’ll have real campsite decorations, and she’s put together the “Road to Recovery” car (with the help of Erik and Dad) that looks AWESOME! The car’s name is HOPE and she’s beautiful! That’s all I can say as it’s a Top Secret project! She (Mom, not HOPE) has done an awesome job and she’ll be back for one more year, whether she likes it or not!

The final quote is actually from a comment I received on last year’s post. It’s from Cathy Johnson (aka My Mom):

“…I agree and now maybe we can re-group but for now I look forward to the event and love every minute of it. It always brings back memories of those days we had to spend in the hospital watching my daughter-in-law go thru pain day after day, but how thankful I have her still in my life…”

It’s touching and it’s true. My Mom and I (and everyone else that puts in a ton of hard work volunteering for this event) know that the Relay is a lot of work. From the Event Chair to the Team Captains thoughts and ideas fly in and out of our head 24 hours a day for six months (or 10 if you’re the Event Chair!). But we keep on coming back!

Why? You can read what I wrote in last year’s “I Heart Relay (2011)” or in my “I Relay For…” but it really boils down to what my Mom said. We, Team Force, celebrate what Lis went through.

The fact that we nearly lost her. The fact that she fought hard to fight cancer. The fact that her attitude and strength was an inspiration to our family, that watching her go through that makes fights between family seem stupid and petty. The fact that our faith was tested and we came out better because of this. The fact that we were able to have two more kids despite being told we’re lucky to have had one.

This is why we do it! Sure it was Lis that got us started but now we have too many friends and family that have fought and won and some that have fought and lost the battle against cancer.

This is why Team Force continues to come back. This is why I’m already looking forward to the 2014 Relay For Life when Team Force has it’s 10th anniversary reunion. So, if you’ve ever been a part of Team Force, you best be prepared to come out and celebrate with us all!

If you’ve never been to a Relay For Life then please come out this Saturday. I’ve heard through numerous people that our event is different than a lot of other Relays because of the energy and excitement that we bring. I like to think that Team Force is a small part of what makes the Monroe / Sky Valley Relay a success.

Can I get a “What! What!”?

So my brother made these really cool ribbons that he’s selling and donating half of the proceeds to. This is the one he made for Lis. So cool!

Looking for other inspirational stories about why to Relay. Check out this article I wrote for the Monroe Monitor about our 2011 Survivorship Co-Chair returning as a Survivor this year: Former Relay volunteer back as a survivor.

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