Purple Hearts

Relay for Life breakfast

Breakfast is served-Relay for Life

Bar none, My ABSOLUTE favorite part of Relay for Life is the Survivor Lap. All team walkers respectfully leave the track. Then the cancer survivors, in their purple t-shirts (and their caregivers) line up and walk a victory lap. All the participants stop what they are doing and line the inside and the outside of the track and clap for the survivors the ENTIRE time as they pass by.

Sometimes different teams hand out small mementos or tokens to the survivors. Participants tell the survivors how proud they are of them and wish them well. The crowd encourages the caregivers and applauds their dedication.

The survivor lap is SUCH a powerful, moving statement. As a participant it is a way to honor courage and show support. As a survivor it is a way to make a statement to the world that you are not ready to give up the fight. It takes heart to keep fighting each day as a cancer survivor.

I’ve walked this lap with my husband. He is a cancer survivor.

Every year as I witness the survivor lap I think about the symbolism of him in a purple t-shirt. Every time I hear my husband’s heart beat I think about how strong he is and the courage that it took to face the diagnosis of cancer head-on.

Every year as I witness the survivor lap I remember a very special little boy and the first time I heard his heartbeat on an ultrasound. And every day, but most especially at Relay, I remember him leaving this world way too soon.

Every year as we approach Relay for Life I think about those personal celebrations and bittersweet memories. But I also think about the hundreds of other people we serve at the event each year and more importantly WHY we serve them. My hope is that they come to know – by our actions and words – that this world of suffering is not the end. My prayer is that they come to know – by our actions and words – that they are loved by someone so much greater than this world.  Cancer changes your life in a purple heartbeat – But Christ will change your heart for eternity.

You can’t change people’s minds until their hearts change….and only Jesus can change their hearts.

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