This I Believe

Emily - Fairfield, Connecticut
Entered on June 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe

I believe in making a difference. I recently participated in Relay for Life in my town. Relay for Life is about celebrating hope for the fight against cancer. Through this organization, you honor survivors from cancer, honor those we’ve lost to cancer and help raise money to fight against it.

Each year there is an honorary chairman. This year there were two chairmen. One was a close friend of my mother whom she knew from work, Rosemary Ford. She had died the week earlier from bladder cancer, and was being represented at Relay by a team from her work. Most of her colleague’s attended the ceremony. At the opening ceremony, there was a beautiful speech about Rosemary. Although I had never met her, I felt like I knew her from what I had learned from that speech and my mother’s stories.

The other chairman was a little boy about the age of 4, Brent McCreesh. He was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer two years ago and is still fighting the disease. It was sad to see how young he is and know that he is that sick. His father got up and talked about their family and his son. He talked about how hard it is to deal with his son’s illness, and how it made him and his wife stronger people. Brent is so young that he has no idea what is happening to him. His father and mother have to be strong for him.

I looked around during the opening ceremony and the luminaria ceremony and realized how many people were there. Many people were crying thinking about their own loved ones who had lost their battle to cancer. I looked at my mom and Rosemary’s friends and saw the hurt in their eyes having just lost a dear friend to cancer. I myself was crying because my grandmother died of breast cancer before I was born, so I felt like I had a personal connection to this terrible disease. I looked at my friends who had lost grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, even parents to cancer. That was when I realized how proud I was to be a part of something like this. I knew that I was making a difference in someone’s life by being there and helping raise money to fight cancer. It was a great feeling, and I wanted to keep it.

My team had raised about $2,845. Some people might think that isn’t a lot of money to help find a cure for a disease, but I knew that even the smallest donation could help make a difference. I knew this because in total, there was over $200,000 raised just from Fairfield, Ct. Relay for Life takes place all over the country. This year there were 5,000 Relays held in the United States. If you think of how much money that would raise, it can really help change someone’s or many people’s lives. It lets them know that there are people caring about them, they might not know it but they do. These organizations help save lives from diseases that, at the moment, are very hard to cure.

I believe in making a difference because it seems like it would be a large task, but the thing is it’s not. You can make a difference in anyone’s life by something small like saying thanks, or something bigger like taking part in an organization. I love knowing that just by walking around a track for one night, and doing little fund raisers here and there will help raise the spirits of many people. I’ve been taking part in Relay for Life for many years, and I will be for many more years to come.