An e-mail I just sent to my friends/family:
Last year I did Relay for Life at Cornell with a team of my girlfriends, all of whom had had a parent diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t going to do it again this year (no time to fundraise and really get ready), but I just got asked by my old team to join and I’m finding it hard to refuse. Instead of asking for a flat donation, since it is so very last minute, what I’m thinking is this:
Basically, each team at the Relay tries to have at least one person going around the track all night long, to show that cancer doesn’t stop and we won’t rest till we find a cure. Last year I walked from 1 AM to 6 AM, but not for any specific reason. This year, if I can get people to donate a dollar or two per mile, I’ll try to walk all night long. I will do my best to cover a lot of ground to make you donate a lot, but realistically, the most distance I’ve ever covered in my life in one shot is 18 miles and I was basically crippled after that, so I wouldn’t think it would be more than $20 or $30.
Please don’t feel obligated, but if you want to chip in, just drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you an update after the event. It’s tomorrow from noon to 3 AM. Also if you’d like to come see the fun in person (and perhaps to provide me with Ben Gay), it’s at Low Plaza and College Walk at Columbia University, by 116th and Broadway.
I have 8 people so far who have agreed to donate $1 a mile. My goal is to cover at least 20 miles, and to walk at a “rate” of $20/mile. That would be $400 – not bad for 24 hours notice! The plan is to go up to unsuspecting strangers at the beginning of the relay and get them to pledge $5/mile. As our team captain Ali says, they don’t know I’m a walking beast!
Last year was when I did 18 miles between 1 AM and 6 AM: 1 mile for every month my mom had fought cancer and 1/2 mile for every month she had stayed cancer-free since. Early in the night, they sold string for $2, and once you bought it, after each lap you could put a bead on. I used that to help me count, and enjoyed seeing the looks of awe on people’s faces when I was dragging a four foot length of beads behind me. In addition to our team winning the Most Spirited Team award, I won the award for being the most dedicated walker, because they thought I had walked all night (I hadn’t… I had started at 1 AM out of boredom). This year, I’d like to try to walk the whole thing – 13 hours. We’ll see! But it’s always good to combine training with charity, right? 🙂
Here’s last year’s photo – I’m on the far right. Ali (girl in the middle to the left of the hat) was our team captain, and she had lost her mom to lung cancer. When Ali’s mom was in treatment, she often played a computer game called “Bejeweled,” a tetris-like game where you try to line up gems and get them to explode. Ali’s mom said she liked to pretend the gems were cancer cells that she was blasting away. Sadly, Ali’s mom lost her fight with cancer in December 2006, so our team relays to seek revenge for her and for all our loved ones who have had to battle cancer.