I am sure that some people assumed that I had all but abandoned the 25 for 25 List after a few boring Oscar winners. But, I have not. Essentially, my unemployment has caused me to put the list exploration on pause. Yankee games, road trips to Boston and designer jeans all cost money. And, I don’t have any… But, there are few items on the list that don’t cost any money, especially number 21 – volunteer my time to worthy cause. I spotted an ad in my church’s mass bulletin a few weeks ago asking for volunteers for the Middle Village relay for life. I never heard back from the office, but Dana’s aunt Colleen told me that the College Point relay was looking for help. So on Saturday afternoon, Colleen came and picked me up and off we rode to volunteer our time at the College Point Relay for Life.
For those of you unfamiliar, teams raise money for cancer research and treatment and then do laps all night to represent the idea that cancer never rests. Supporters and attendees can donate ten dollars to charity and get a paper lantern to represent a loved one who survived or passed away from cancer. That was where I spent most of my day, after an intital run around trying to find a spot for us, Colleen, her two friends and I were stationed at the Luminaria booth. It was our job to put together the paper lanterns that would light the path the relayers would walk around over night. It was amazing seeing all of the intricately decorated lanterns that were made by survivors and loved ones. Some were just drawn, others were embellished with various decorations. I took advantage of my position, and donated money to make a lantern for my two grandfathers who we lost to cancer. That’s what personally drew me to the event was knowing just how much cancer has affected my family and those I love. And with a disease as widespread and powerful as cancer, it’s easy to feel helpless. So this opportunity to take some time out of my weekend to aide the fight, raise some money and support survivors was amazing.
I am not one for cheesy emotions, but my favorite part of working the Luminaria booth was when people would drop off their lanterns or be in the process of making one they would always share a little about their story. A few of the high lights of my day? A grandma proudly told me about how her 21 year old granddaughter beat leukemia and has been in remission for two years. And later in the day, a young couple designed a lantern for their sick friend and then sent him a photo on their iPhone. All day, the people I spoke with spoke with such bravery and admiration for the people they were there to represent. I enjoyed the event so much that I jumped at the chance to help organize the one near my house in Middle Village. I know my contribution was small, but it still feels great to lend a hand to such a worthwhile cause. That’s why I want to encourage all of my friends from Queens to come support the Middle Village Relay for Life on Saturday June 23rd at Juniper Valley Park. It’s going to be a great day of food, games and fun all for a really terrific cause. And, if Middle Village is not your scene there are other Relays being held that day in Astoria Park and Reif Park in Maspeth.
To learn more about Relay for Life and how you can get involved, donate your time or money please visit relayforlife.org.