Friday, August 7, 2009

Survivor Stories

Today was the Fillmore County "Relay for Life" event down in my hometown. I found out last week that my dad was scheduled to speak at the Survivor's Tea and share his story. Here's Dad sharing a humorous anecdote about being a cancer survivor.
(BTW Dad, did you notice you had your survivor shirt on backwards or was that intentional?)

My brother Phil and his son Charlie were also in Minnesota this week for a visit, so Phil got to share his cancer survivor story also. It's probably one of the few times (if not the only time!) there's been a father/son presentation at this event.
Phil looks good doesn't he? It's hard to believe that only about 10 weeks ago he was in the Sutter Cancer Center in California having his bone marrow transplant.

After the tea, all of the cancer survivors were invited to take one of the balloons hanging from the ceiling in the presentation hall for a special balloon release celebration (that's what those white strings are hanging down by Dad and Phil's heads at the podium)

It was an overcast and drizzly afternoon, but the balloons didn't mind. What a pretty sight!

The actual relay part of this Relay for Life was scheduled to start around 6 PM with events for participants continuing until 6 AM tomorrow morning. As an additional fundraiser for the event, people could purchase luminarias in memory or in honor of a cancer survivor. Down this 2-block stretch of town, there were already 4 rows (thousands!) of luminarias already set up and I saw a cart carrying hundreds more still to be placed.
There's rain in the forecast for all of tonight, but I hope it holds off until they get all of these luminarias lit. It will be quite a spectacular thing to behold.

From all the people who spoke at this event, there were several common themes mentioned that helped them to become cancer survivors: Hope, Positive Attitude, Caring People, and Prayers. That's something each of us can provide (without cost) to any person we know who's battling cancer. Of course, the doctors and medical care are also an integral part to cancer survival, but without the hope, positive attitude, caring people and prayers, I don't believe my dad and brother would be standing here today sharing their survivor stories.

I thank all of you, dear blog readers, for your prayers during my brother's bone marrow transplant and recovery.


KGMom said...

Let's hear it for survivors.
What a great way to celebrate and spread the message.

Jayne said...

How wonderful that they got to be a part of this event together. Thankfully, there are so many more stories of survival these days. Love and blessings to you and your family Ruthie.

troutbirder said...

I'm sure the rain last night didn't damper the spirit in spite of the cancelation

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I've got goosebumps and tears for the survivors but especially for your Dad and brother Phil.

Jack said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing your/their stories. Relay for Life events are special. And they make a difference. For some added perspective, check out this video -- -- about one Relay volunteer's "aha moment." I think you'll appreciate it.

All the best to you and your family,

dAwN said...

Wonderful! So happy that your Dad and Brother are doing well! How proud you must be of them..for going thru what they have and being there now to help others.
You all are givers for sure!

Mary C said...

Ruthie, it's so good to see photos of your dad and brother Phil. How special to have both father and son speak at the survivor presentation. I sure hope you and Phil and Charlie have had a good visit. BTW, Phil really looks very well. That photo of the luminarias was very touching, too. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Ruthie, I read it with a lump in my throat.

The pictures of all those luminaries that people sponsored...WOW!

A salute and all good wishes to your dad and your brother! (And to you, for sharing this story.)

carolr said...

Hi. I stumbled onto your blog and have enjoyed reading it. I knit too and I am impressed how you set goals for yourself and then complete them. Also, I like you photos.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Donna. I've heard of the Relay for Life events, but this is the first time I've actually been to one. It was quite inspiring to see all the survivors and volunteers in action.

Thanks Jayne. The medical advances in cancer treatments are amazing and it was neat to see that so many people are survivors.

Hi Troutbirder,
I thought about all those poor volunteers when I was laying in bed listening to the thunderstorm at 3:30 AM. Bummer!!

You know what Lynne? I got goosebumps and tears too! Those survivors are amazing.

Hi Jack,
Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing the link (very neat video!)

Thanks Dawn. (in case you're wondering, I knitted caps for both of them during their treatments too!)

Thanks Mary. We did have a good visit although it went by too fast! We had some good warm weather for those Californians too!

Hi Mary Lee,
I was amazed by the number of luminarias too--every single one either in memory of or honor of a cancer victim. It really made me realize how much cancer touches all of us.

Hi CarolR,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed stopping by and hope you can visit again.

Taos Sunflower said...

Thanks for sharing this. They both look great. Awesome.

Mel said...

Hola Ruthie,
My dad has been fighting cancer and other complications for a little over 10 years now.
It is a constant battle, but it is true, it is a matter of attitute too.
Blessings for your dad and your brother, I wish you and your family many moments of joy and years and years of health.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Martie,
All of the survivor stories are amazing and I'm so glad two of them are in my family.

Hi Mel,
I'm sorry to hear about your dad and his struggle with cancer. I know with my dad too, it wasn't the cancer but the treatments that almost took his life.
I will keep your dad in my prayers and I'm sure the love and support of you and other family members is very helpful in maintaining his positive attitude.

Red said...

Phil most certainly does look great! I'm so happy things are going so well and it looks like it was a touching event.