How to Give Back: We Helped Raise $3000 for the American Cancer Society!

When Cassie said that she wanted to start a Relay For Life team, I was all for it.  She conquered cancer, we celebrated, and now it was time to help give back.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a celebration that honors people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and raises awareness to fight back against the disease.

At Relay, teams of supporters camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground to take turns walking or running around a track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.

Our local Relay For Life was last weekend, and it was quite an experience.

Cassie gave a speech at the opening ceremony, telling her story and representing fellow cancer survivors.  It made for a tearful start of the event, but once we started walking, the cheers from the crowd quickly lifted our spirits.

Survivors and caretakers like Cassie and me walked hand in hand, and the amount of appreciation that I felt from the crowd of supporters cheering us on was overwhelming.

I’m so grateful for having experienced that moment, no matter how fleeting.  Having people clap for us after an incredibly difficult year was easily the most uplifting experience of my life.  Thanks, so much. Thank you. It means more than you can imagine.

After the first lap, supporters joined the survivors and caretakers on the track.  People walked in shifts, and we couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day to do it!

Relay For Life 2010 - Opening Ceremony

Relay Teams had tents set up around the track, each with different fund-raising strategies.  There were bake sales, cold drinks, and snow cones.  People were selling grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, pizza, and nachos with cheese.  Others offered fortune telling, henna tattoos, or custom T-shirts.  Kids were anxious to spend time in the bounce-house, or dunk their friends at the dunk tank!

Relay For Life 2010 - Our Tent and Table

Our team raised money painting faces, selling drinks, and selling lollipops.  We took turns walking the track, working the table, and decorating the bags for the Luminaria Ceremony.

Relay For Life 2010 - Preparing Luminarias

Here are a few close ups of the decorated Luminarias:

Relay For Life 2010 - Luminaria: Robert Corneal

Relay For Life 2010 - Luminaria: Pat Jensen

Relay For Life 2010 - Luminaria: Richard Crane

Relay For Life 2010 - Luminaria: Janice Corneal

Relay For Life 2010 - Luminaria: Chevon Jackson

Cassie had me pose with our team’s beautiful signs…

Relay For Life 2010 - Raising Funds

…which were created by Cassie’s sister Sarah (super artist extraordinaire).

Here’s Sarah demonstrating her talents, using Jess as her canvas:

Relay For Life 2010 - Sarah Painting

In the evening, we raised more money selling smores and glow bracelets.

Relay For Life 2010 - Smores

Cassie was cracking me up, because while participating in the “Crazy Hat Lap” she was simultaneously trying to sell smores:

Relay For Life 2010 - Cassie selling smores as Brünhilde

Here’s Lauren and Cassie styling some of the different face paint options:

Relay For Life 2010 - Face Painting: Say Yes to Fighting Cancer, Say No to Duckface

It started raining as we set up the bags for the Luminaria Ceremony:

Relay For Life 2010 - Setting out Luminarias 1

Relay For Life 2010 - Setting out Luminarias 2

We did manage to get all of the bags lit…

Relay For Life 2010 - Luminarias Ceremony

…but when the rain eventually came, it came down in buckets.

The team toughed it out for a few hours, but the threat of lightning forced us indoors around midnight. Here’s some shots of the standing water under our tent — there wasn’t a dry toe among us!

Relay For Life 2010 - Rained out

Relay For Life 2010 - Standing in Water

At the closing ceremony the next morning, nearly 24 hours after we had arrived, it was announced that the Total Amount Raised by all of the teams who participated in the Relay was over $73,000. Of this total, over $3000 was raised by our team, the Remission Commission.

We never could have reached $3000 without the generous donations from our families, friends, and other supporters. I want to thank everyone who donated for their generous gifts — it felt great to be able to give back to those responsible for the medical advancements that saved Cassie’s life.

For those that helped us do it: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Cheers!

Relay For Life 2010 - Cassie and Shaun

Update: Here’s Cassie’s speech from the opening ceremony:

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5 Responses to “How to Give Back: We Helped Raise $3000 for the American Cancer Society!”

#1 Scott on 13, Jun, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Congrats guys! That’s a very big accomplishment.

I had quite a few people I know there as well–this is the event held a few Saturdays ago, right?

#2 Alex on 14, Jun, 2010 at 8:46 am

Looks like an excellent time. This year was the first in which I could not participate alongside my Aunt — a breast cancer survivor — in the Detroit Race for the Cure. It makes me happy to see that you are all working so hard for such an important cause. Great job, both of you!

#3 Deb Estep on 31, Jul, 2010 at 7:56 am

HI Cassie and Shaun,

WOW…. it’s been way too long since I dropped in on you.

Wonderful news and answered prayers indeed Cassie !!

Even though you have not seen me here, I have you listed
in an ongoing prayer journal (hard copy note book) I keep by my

When I first read that you gave a talk at the relay, I thought…
awwww how nice. THEN when I came to the video ….
DEAR LORD get me the kleenex !!!! Very amazing woman you are Cassie to hold up and deliver like you did !!!!

My continued prayers.

Deb in OHIO 🙂

#4 Allen Loomis on 23, Sep, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I love your blog, its great! I am a self improvement blogger as well and I was wondering if you would be interested in exchanging links on our blog rolls! Comment back on my blog and let me know 🙂

#5 Mona on 08, Oct, 2010 at 4:32 am

What an inspiring blog and even more inspiring people in this particular story. Shaun, I only just stumbled on your blog when I googled “help me change my life” and your blog has certainly pointed me in the right direction with so many articles you’ve written and shared. Thank you!

And thank you Cassie (even if this is not your blog) for being so brave and showing me that you can win against the odds.

Shaun, I see that you haven’t posted anything since June. I hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to leave this comment to let you know that I think you’re a fantastic writer and I love your style. I hope at this time, you are closer to your dream.

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