Why I Relay - David Clancy
The first time I attended Relay for Life was the 2018 event. 6 months earlier my wife, soul mate and best friend, Sue, had died from pancreatic cancer. To say I was in a low place would be an understatement. I could only describe it as ‘our house had been knocked down and there amongst the rubble we as a family, me and our 2 boys, had to rebuild again without one of the pillars of our foundation’. I had seen images the previous year on Facebook of the Candle of Hope Ceremony, when Sue was under treatment (I hate the term fighting the disease, as this seems to put the responsibility on the person to survive!), and while not fully understanding what it was all about, I was drawn to it and, of course, donated!
When I attended the 2018 Relay Candle of Hope ceremony, what really struck me as the candle bags were lighting, was that every one of those candles represented a person who was gone, loved ones left behind, families with a loss. And I did not feel alone, I felt part of a community where everybody there understood the reality of cancer and the reality of loss. Walking in silence we all understood this silently, and we remembered. I would love to say I launched myself into fundraising from then on, but no, the rebuilding process took all of my energy, so 2019 was again, attending and remembering. However, by that stage another part of Relay was calling to me - the Fight Back! It was time to help, no more should people suffer with cancer. I developed great plans for a fundraising concert and then guess what? Covid hit!
So when answering the question Why I Relay, it's a strange one, as I have only ever done it virtually. Our 2020 fundraising concert turned into an online concert - the community feel still it happened though, as choirs who hadn't performed since Covid hit, got an outing and in a strange way, our small musical community, without an audience, delivered - it mattered, and the fight back continued. The event was Virtual again in 2021, this time we did a fundraising video using one of Sue's songs (she was a composer), with the very simple concept of people holding hands. That simple symbol had a deeper meaning I think - support for each other and love for each other. I really enjoyed travelling the high ways and bye ways of Wexford as we met the "hand models" and heard individual's stories and I felt the support for Relay out there, even if not in a big crowd of hundreds.
So my experience of Relay over the past few years has been different, but none the less moving. I look forward to being back out in Parc Charman this year leading a team physically for the first time.
"To Celebrate" those I know have got the all clear (and please God there will be more of that to come) and those who continue to travel their journey with cancer, it is a momentous journey that requires great courage and we should indeed honour our heroes.
"To Remember" Sue, and all those who cancer has taken from us.
"To Fight Back" so cancer does not win. We won't give up until cancer does.