Westlake Relay fights for a cure

Luminaria light up the night on July 13 to remember and honor those lost to cancer, those fighting cancer and those who have beat cancer. The solemn candlelight ceremony capped a day of fun and games during the Westlake Relay for Life fundraising event.

All the hard work and time are over and we had a wonderful day July 13 at Westlake's Relay For Life. Games were played, raffles were won and music was enjoyed. Kids sweated their way through the bounce house and others cooled off in the dunk tank. Overall, we made money and that was the main goal. 

Unfortunately the turnout was much lower than we had wanted, and it breaks my heart for all the volunteers involved. Everyone worked so hard and we threw a great party and honored survivors, caregivers and those that we have lost. As Event Chair I had high hopes of reviving the Relay so I can’t help but be disappointed. 

With all that said (and behind me!), we did raise money, the survivor luncheon was a great success and the Luminaria Ceremony was thoughtful, sad and wonderful. Our track was lined with glowing bags with names of people we have lost, people fighting and people who have helped as caregivers. It was a beautiful thing to experience.

Our final total is approximately $24,000 and our goal was $32,000. We came up short but we still have until the end of August to try and get closer. 

The day was filled with amazing speakers. Our own Mayor Clough started the first lap with a wonderful talk, Dr. Bob DeMaria shared his nutrition ideas at our Survivor Lunch, Rev. Tom Madden led us in an inspirational prayer, former Bay Mayor, Tom Jelepis, shared his story of his fight and oncologist Dr. Jon Prescott talked to our caregivers, giving them hope. 

Dr. Prescott also assured the group that there is always a doctor out there that will help them through their journey, and you must be completely comfortable with that decision. Do not settle and do not be afraid to keep searching for the right doctor for you. The speakers were amazing and I was proud to have them as part of our event.

All of this work could not have been done without our American Cancer Society partner, Holly Sajna. She was a tribute to The Cause; she lost her grandmother the day before our Relay and still came ready to make a difference and keep the event on task.

I thank my committee members, volunteers, my family, the companies and businesses that donated and most of all, I thank my dad. I thank him for the beautiful day, the money made and giving me the strength to keep going (especially seeing the low turnout). He was with me every second and I felt his guiding hand telling me to keep going. I needed it. 

Congrats to all the survivors – I am honored to have spent the day with you and your families. It was such an amazing group of people that came together for the greater good. 

I will end this article with the hope of a bigger and better Relay next year, a few months off of writing so I can reconnect with my family and a new vigor to make next year better. It takes a lot to get this girl down and I am up for the challenge. 

Hug your family and you will hear from me several months from now with a date for next year. Be ready for more intense begging, pleading and groveling to get next year up and going!

All the best to all of you reading this and I look forward to getting back in touch after a much needed break. God Bless.

Amy Brediger

I am a wife, mother of 2, and a supporter of the Westlake community.

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Volume 5, Issue 15, Posted 10:32 AM, 07.23.2013