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Monday, May 16, 2011

Relay for Life

It was different this year.

Like we always do, we celebrated the hundreds of people who've survived. Cancer, that is. The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. It's about birthdays and celebrating and fighting back. And we did all that. There are so many friends and family members who HAVE survived.

But this year, there was a gaping hole, a sadness that lingered among us. Watching the survivors take their celebratory lap, wearing their signature purple shirts with the word 'SURVIVOR' emblazoned across the back, all I could see was a gaping hole. An empty space. One spot that wasn't filled. The space where Kim should've been. Even the deepest breaths couldn't keep back the tears. And again I say, "It's just not fair."

Don't get me wrong. She was there. She was all over the place. Best part of walking that track was looking for Kim's luminarias and seeing her smiling back. And there were a lot of them. Keeps you going you know...walking, remembering, smiling. And that would've made Kim happy. In fact, I have no doubt she's up there cheering on those who survived, even though she didn't. That's just the kind of person she was.

So in answer to the question, "Why do you Relay?" This year, my answer was 'Kim.' In fact, our whole team relayed in her honor. Like our shirts? It's so fitting...

This year, Brian and the Bunchkins joined me. Which was very cool. They of course don't know why they're there. But someday they will. For now, we just let them be little. We just let them play and run and celebrate being kids.

Jen Lofgren and my sister, Mary (5 months pregnant) are my co-kindergarten teachers.
Me and the boys.
Part of our team
Hunter and Colton
This makes me smile. My husband and my babies. Let me tell you, they were sharing the Bunchkin Love all around that track...
My friend Charlotte, Me, her daughter Hannah and the Bunchkins

The pit. Not quite like their trampoline at home, but close enough. They jumped and rolled and bounced for about an hour here!
Mia, Maggie, & Dawn
Charlotte and Hannah
*Don't worry. No little girls were harmed in the making of those photos.

And then there were the costumes...Ronald McDonald, whom the kids surprisingly did not fear.
(They are listening to Ronald McDonald play his guitar and sing)

Who can beat nighttime hula hooping?
And then there was "Sparky" the safety dog. Sparky has given me a renewed hope for Disneyland. To say I was shocked to my core that the boys ran right up to him and gave him a hug would be a huge understatement! Yahoo!

Hunter took a bit of warming up, but after seeing that the boys came out okay, she gave Sparky the safety dog a hug too!

And perhaps my favorite part of the night came later, when Brian and I took off together, with the triple stroller to walk the track. Shortly in, Hunter decided she wanted out. She wanted to walk with the big people. So...I let her out. Bare feet and all.

This girl doesn't know how to walk.

She ran like the dickens. She actually kept pace with Brian pushing the stroller , her arms flapping behind her, her little feet going a mile a minute.

She never gave up. Every so often, she'd stumble and trip, but would get right back up and keep going. Girl ran a half mile, in bare feet. No joke.
Before long, the boys had to join her. People, I have never seen anything cuter in my life. No joke. They ran. And ran, and ran and ran. They'd keep up with each other, they'd help each other up if they fell. They'd just keep going.

My heart was fuller than I can remember.

My own relay team...
That's little Hunter way up front, Ethan in the middle and Colton in the back.
And then, there's my little girl, hanging with the big girls. Making her feel so special.
Be still, my heart.

Aunt Maggie came to the rescue with Cheetos..THANK YOU MAGGIE!

Charlotte's husband, Dale took Colton for a walk.

And Mia and Hunter had some girl time.
It was a really good night.
There was time to celebrate, time to be sad, time to be hopeful and time to be thankful for all the blessings in my life.

And mostly, it was time to remember.
If only love could bring you back, Kim.
We miss you and are so proud of how your legacy has lived on.

Her husband Dave got to speak about Kim tonight, to a room full of survivors and their families. Talk about courage. His words will move you. To read his tribute, click here.

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See you next year Kim.We'll always remember you...

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Kim said...

Thanks so much for this beautiful post Ami...it was so good and comforting to see your family at this event...when they lit the luminarias, and showed Kim's name on the big inflatable screen, an incredible amount of people began a lap in her honor - it was moving and humbling...
Thanks again, Dave

Tim and Darcy said...

Not a lot of words...but this is so awesome....

Tim and Darcy said...

And PS - hula hoops are awesome...Emma can hula hoop forever! Cutest thing ever! I'll have to post a video. Maybe that will kick my lazy butt into blogging again... I suck!

Jeremy DeBauche said...

When did you get the new red ride? I thought you guys rolled with the blue quadruplet stroller...

Nicole said...

I can't imagine how hard it must have been. You guys did a wonderful job honoring Kim's memory!

Staying Healthy said...

You are awesome to be doing this! Here’s hoping the call to arms is answered ten-fold.

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