Sunday, April 18, 2010

Relay for Life at University of Maryland

On a whim last night, we decided to head down to the University of Maryland to take part in the Relay for Life with our son, Mike. Mike is a Freshman there, and was participating in the walk sponsored by and benefiting the American Cancer Society. He was planning to be there all night, walking off and on with his friends and fellow trumpet players from the Mighty Sound of Maryland. I had already done my 3 mile training walk yesterday morning, but we thought, "What the heck? Let's go walk some more!"

So we made the short drive down, paid our small entrance fee, and joined Mike on the track. It was a great sight. There must have been a thousand or more UMD students participating. Many were walking the track - it was crowded and slow-going! A lot of others were playing soccer, throwing frisbees, or tossing footballs around on the infield. Lots of tents were set up for the kids to take turns sleeping, chilling, or otherwise hanging out.

We got a chance to meet many of Mike's friends last night - kids whose names and faces we knew from Facebook and the many stories Mike tells us. They're a great bunch of kids, and it was fun to walk a few laps with them.

Dave and I walked 3 miles around the track in total. Some of the laps were pretty slow going due to the crowds. But some other times we were able to hit a pretty good clip. It only took us about an hour and 10 minutes to walk the 3 miles, which overall was pretty good considering the hordes of people there.

What struck me in the most touching way were the luminaries lining the track showing messages of love and support to current cancer patients, or honoring those who have already passed. "In Honor of Pop-Pop." "In Memory of Aunt Teresa." "For My Mom". "For Grandma, I Love You." One cancer survivor knelt beside her own luminary and had her photo taken as we passed by. The atmosphere was strange mix of college campus fun and games combined with touching scenes of love and compassion.

After our 3 miles, we said goodbye to Mike and his friends. He was in for a long night. I'm not sure how much Chemistry studying he ended up getting done - but that was his 3am plan, he said. Before leaving town we stopped by McDonalds to pick up a big bag of cheeseburgers for Mike and his friends. Then we headed home to bed.

I'm glad we stopped by. I've been focusing mostly on the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk, but I don't want to forget that other cancers are out there that are just as insidious and awful. Together we can make it possible for research to continue, for a cure to be found. Please consider donating today to a cancer research effort.

You can donate here to support breast cancer research.

You can donate here to the American Cancer Society. If you want to thank Mike for walking in the UMD Relay, click here to donate in support of Mike and his team, the RYB Trumpets.

Go here to find a Relay for Life near you.


  1. I think that's wonderful that you guys decided to include the Relay for Life into your 3 Day training. I did that last week as well and I found it was a very meaningful reminder about what all this 3 Day training is really about.

  2. It amazes me how are kids pick up on it. My daughter is not old enough yet to walk but she is working on bows and things to sell and getting the word out to all her teachers about our fundraisers. I guess it really is true our kids pick up on what we "show" them.

    Best of luck with your walk.