It takes more than a few storms and a little wind and rain to dampen the spirits of the Sweet Family and Friends when it comes to Relay For Life. Though we had to evacuate the track Friday night and packed up a little early on Saturday, we had a great time as usual at the Warren Relay and made our goal of $5,000 raised for the fight against cancer. And with this year's Relay now behind us, we're already tossing out ideas for next year.
But before we close the book on Relay 2010, I wanted to share some highlights from our experience this weekend.
- Not only did the Sweet Family and Friends reach the gold level of fundraising again this year ($5,000 to $9,999 raised), but we received several awards for our Relay efforts. Among family teams at the Warren Relay, we got second place ribbons for our opening lap and our banner and third place ribbons for our campsite decor and our children's game. We were also very excited to win third place overall for our online donations, and we owe that to our friends and relatives across the country who contributed to Relay through our team website.
- One of the things I enjoy most about Relay is seeing my dad's twin brothers, my uncle Jim Sweet and uncle Jerry Sweet, hard at work for our team. They are, perhaps, our most dedicated team members, and you'll find them on the track at all hours and in all weather walking for our team. But those who attended this year's Relay may know them by their voices - Uncle Jim and Uncle Jerry were the ones taking turns in front of our tent, advertising our wares by shouting out to passersby. More than one person stopped to buy tickets for our raffles after hearing Uncle Jim and Uncle Jerry's pitch about the $455 in gift cards available on our gift card tree. My uncles are also very active behind the scenes as well, helping out with our various fundraisers throughout the year and doing whatever they can do to support our team, whether it's helping to make tent decorations or getting items for us to raffle off. Uncle Jim and Uncle Jerry are definitely the backbone of our team, and I'm proud to call them family.
- We had a new team member this year who really brightened up our weekend. My 10-month-old niece, Brenna Macaulay, participated in the opening lap with us on Friday, riding in her stroller and sporting a onesie that matched our team t-shirt design. She was back on Saturday, bundled up against the cold and waving enthusiastically at the people walking by our tent. Not only is Brenna our cutest team member, but she's a living reminder of what we're fighting for - an end to cancer. Before she was even born, her life was touched by cancer - because of cancer, she will never know her Grandpa Sweet. And we continue to participate in Relay For Life and keep working for a cure in the hope that one day, Brenna - and all of us - can live in a world without cancer.
- Finally, I would like to thank those of you who stopped by our tent this weekend to say hello because of these columns I've been writing. It was great to meet all of you and to share my Relay experience with you. Come see us again next year!