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Friday was the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. I am a very proud team captain and LOVE Team GEEK!

Between getting stuff done and being a Friday in Chicago we got started later than we planned, but eventually our caravan of much stuff made it to the park district. We were the second team to start setting up. With the help of my uncle, we got up our main tent and a small sleeping tent my Uncle Bob loaned us.


We had an awesome campsite, full of nerdiness! We had TARDIS doors that my 14-year-old cousin made for us (I gave her the tablecloth at like 10:30 Wednesday night and said "I need TARDIS doors by Friday morning". She is my awesome mini-me.), we had a coat rack like Four's (that had a Four scarf, a Gryffindor scarf, a Rose scarf, Jack's coat, Ten's coat, Owen's labcoat, blue stethoscope, and a purple feather boa on it), an "armchair" and table like Seven had, three of the Daleks, Kit (from ACen), Barrowman Bear and a stuffed dragon. We had a Hogwarts banner and many other little geek bits.

(The feather boa kept attaching itself to Jack's coat, can't imagine why...)

My Dad was the only one of our team's three survivors to make it. We went to opening ceremonies, nearly fried then, and then did a team lap while MJ held down the fort. We then tag-teamed and I watched our campsite. Dad went to the survivor's dinner and MJ and Ken went and found food for us.

Then, the sky turned black and cold gushing winds blew through the campsite. We battened down the hatches, storing personal gear, the coats, the Daleks and all that stuff in the closed tent. We covered the main table with an extra tablecloth, pulled down the TARDIS doors and rolled them up, using the pole to hold down the tablecloth. We moved the table under the middle of the tent and braced it with the coolers and ran for the rec center.

(Huddled in the basement with other teams. Of course, like true geeks we found a small band room we claimed.)

Once inside we realized we forgot some things, some MJ donned her Highlander rain gear and bolted back to the campsite for phone chargers, her knitting, water bottles, and my medicine. After the rain abated, we had a modified luminaria ceremony. Since the bags around the track got soaked, they gathered up the candles and circled them around a beautiful flowered. One of the committee members, who is a survivor, gave a heartfelt speech about how cancer affects not just the person, but the family, the friends and how with hope it can be overcome. The lone bagpiper played "Amazing Grace", followed by some "Singing in the Rain" (which made everyone chuckle) and finished with "Scotland the Brave." When they read Dad and Janice's names, a tear fell with a smile. When they read Grandma and Grandpa's names (pronouncing it correctly!) I cried. How has 20 years passed already? I miss them and wish Kristie could have met Grandma.

Like a light in the night, our hope still burns bright, despite the storms overhead.

Luckily, because of our geeky awesomeness (and my Uncle's.awesomeness as well - Grandpa would be proud), our campsite survived. We slowly put it back together during the night when the rain finally stopped.

The rain dampened some spirits, but our team kept it up. It became grassroots and a nice thing. Kathryn joined us and we had many laughs. Ken, unfortunately, had to go to work. My Uncle Eddie and then my cousin Kristie joined us until the morning.

They had an early closing ceremony at about 4:30am. Our team reached our $1,000 goal in the early morning hours. Next year, I want us to be a bronze level team, earning at least $2,000. I also want to be a member of Club 15 (15 members with at least $1500 earned). I think we got two more members this morning...

We were the last team standing and the last to leave the park.

As we packed up the car, the perfect image to end a night of hope like this spread over our heads. I can't believe it, but I love it, and I love how it made me feel.

Thank you so much to my team members: Mary Jo (my awesome Commander!), Joanna (a well done lieutenant),
Chris (ensign senior grade), and Ken (ensign senior grade). Thank yo to the family members that helped all of us. THANK YOU to the wonderful, sweet, lovely people who donated - HUGS FOR YOU ALL!

Also, a big "you rock" to the people who donated raffle gifts: we had full weekend badges to ACen, tickets to see an A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company show, learn to knit kits from [ profile] knitchick1979, a dalek...

Speaking of Daleks, we did the raffle for pink dalek at 5:00am. The winner is... [ profile] erin_giles.

Thank you so much everyone. I know cancer has hit my family hard, and we hit back. Despite that, it is something I never want anyone else to have to experience if they don't have to. We've come a long way in 20 years, but we still have a long way to go...

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