Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walking for a Cure

This past Friday night was our valley's annual Relay for Life. This is an event which raises money for cancer research. Teams from all over the valley pay an entrance fee, then raise money. Each team should raise $100.00 per person. They sell anything you can imagine before and during the relay. We ate hotdogs, pulled pork sandwiches, brownies, cookies, cake, pizza, had water and sodas, scones, funnel cakes, and other various drinks and treats, including fruit, doughnuts and juice for breakfast. 
There was an auction, featuring quilts, saddles, beds, a swingset, clocks, gift certificates, and other items. I won a wooden decorative bowl on the silent auction for $5 (I was the first and only bidder). All items were donated by businesses, craft-workers, and people from around town. Several items went for $500.00 or more. There were also several raffles, including quilts, jackets, a Dell Netbook, and a high-powered carbon fiber rifle from Christensen Arms (worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $1700 or more). I haven't won anything in the raffle yet, but considering the cause (and the prizes), I continue entering.
Once things got going, all cancer survivors walk a lap around the track, accompanied by the cheers of the crowd. They are then joined by the caregivers. then everyone walks one lap. For the rest of the night each team must keep at least on person on the track. Some people walk just their time, the leave. Others walk all night. One of my students kept count and determined that she had walked 116 laps. That's roughly 29 miles. I walked about four miles, and am really feeling it. two of those miles was while they were playing Scrabble. Each lap around, you stop at the table and pick up scrabble tiles. After seven laps, you make as good a word as you can with the letters you have. I had the word "teddy." Not the longest word, and not fitting the theme of the evening.
Last year, our county was only one of two that met their goal, with $31,000.00. This year, we raised about the same amount. That is just in our little valley. It is always a special experience to be a part of this, but since our family has been touched by cancer in the past two years, it has meant even more.
In one special part of the evening, they turn off the lights (though this year they left one on and it wasn't as effective), and we all walk a silent lap in memory of those who have either been taken by cancer or have beaten it (or are in the fight). There are white paper bags set around the track. each bag is weighted by dirt and has a candle glowing in the center. Written on each bag is the name of another cancer patient. Some have pictures or messages. It is a very emotionally moving part of the evening.
The whole event ends twelve hours after it started, at 6:00 a.m. when breakfast is served. After getting everything cleaned up, we go home and sleep away most of the rest of the day. And some of the next. And massage our sore feet and legs. And avoid eating for a few hours to let what we ate all night settle. Maybe by next year, I'll be able to walk more. Maybe I'll save up for the auction. Maybe I'll take a cot and sleep a bit more. And maybe we'll find a cure and make this all worth it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Mormon Miracle Pageant

My familt and I went to see the Mormon Miracle Pageant tonight in Manti, Utah. This has become a tradition with us, though we have not been able to attend every year. This pageant is cast with dozens upon dozens of volunteers from the town and surrounding communities. They perform several nights a week, excluding Sundays and Mondays. Their last performance for 2010 will be Sat. June 26. 
This pageant depicts the Restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the history of the American continent, and Christ's visit to the ancient inhabitants of this land. It also portrays the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum. The show starts at dusk and lasts for almost two hours. There are vendors within walking distance of the temple grounds in Manti (where the pageant takes place) where you can purchase food (everything from funnel cakes to BBQ turkey!), drinks, and souvenirs. We bought some old-fashioned rootbeer floats tonight, then some home-made cream soda in a decorative bottle. Delicious!
I am always grateful afterward for the time and effort put into this pageant. The costumes, acting, directing, scenery, lighting, and props are all up to professional standards. The message of the show transcends all of that, however, and stays with you as you leave. Several years, I have also helped take down chairs. The volunteers in the county can set up 23,000 chairs in just under two hours, and can take them back down even faster! It is truly a miracle to see! And you will see people from all over the world come to watch the show. If you go, however, be sure to take a blanket and a jacket. It gets cold very fast after the sun goes down. You might want some bug spray as well, and a cushion to sit on, since all the chairs are metal. I hope you get to see it some time. It is worth the effort.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Walk in the Park

We are quickly approaching the annual "Relay for Life," the fund-raising, awareness-raising event for cancer survivors, their friends and families, and the care-givers who make their lives better.For those who have never experienced one of these, please take time this year to seek one out and contribute.
They really do it right in our town. We meet at the High School track, and gather into teams. Each team has its own spot in the field, and many teams sell everything from food to trinkets to raffle tickets. Last year, they raffled off a high-powered carbon fiber rifle. Very expensive.
They begin by having all cancer survivors walk once around the track, then they are joined by family, care-givers, etc., until everyone is on the track. This all takes place in complete silence. Then, for the remainder of the night. each team must keep at least one person on the track. Some participants walk ALL NIGHT, putting in several miles worth of effort.
All proceeds from the night go to cancer research. Last year, our little town raised over $26,000.00 by itself. It is a very touching experience. Here is a photo from last year that I found particularly moving. I can't wait to see what they do this year.
Again, even if your life has not been touched by cancer in some way (though few of us can say that anymore), join in a walk this year, and make a difference.