“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeve
This weekend brings the 11th Annual Foothills Relay For Life event being held at Clark Magnet School on May 14-15. Relay For Life is a community event designed to raise awareness about cancer, to enhance odds of avoiding it, or enhance odds of successful recovery if you have it. Relay is held to celebrate survivorship and raise money for the American Cancer Society. It helps participants memorialize and reflect on the loss of loved ones and friends and honor and celebrate the survivorship of loved ones and friends.
On the day of the event, teams of people will gather at Clark Magnet High School and take turns walking, jogging or running laps. Each team is asked to keep at least one representative of their team on the track at all times. Each team member is asked to raise money from donors before the event. The mission of Foothills Relay For Life to create a fun and moving community event that will touch thousands of people and help thousands more cope with the struggles of cancer.
The ugliness of cancer is personal to me. Twenty years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and was given three years to live. Luckily, I still have the pleasure of my mom still on this earth, but it has not been without the pain of watching her go through years of suffering. Hopefully this is the year Relay For Life raises enough money to finally find a cure so that another person does not have to go through what my mother went through.
They say everything happens for a reason. It is hard to fathom the reason anyone would have to endure such a disease. It is hard on the patient and all those around them. But it feels better to me to think that maybe there was some lesson or reason for my mom’s life she endured with cancer.
As I said, many doctors told my mother and us that she had at the most three years to live. That was in 1992. The doctors have no explanation of how she survived a brain tumor this long. I do. My mom is the toughest, happiest most positive person I have ever met. She looked that cancer in the eyes and said, “GET OUT!”
She said when life gives you a lemon, just make lemonade. When the doctors told her she had only a few years left, she said, “I don’t accept that.” She told them to do all they could and she would do the rest. My mom prayed, she laughed, she kept positive, she cared about others, she made time to be with friends, she took care of her three children, she wrote in her journal, she planned weddings, went to parties and said to herself and others, she was not giving in to this terrible disease.
Twenty years have passed. She has been lucky to watch all three of her children get married. She has been blessed with six grandchildren and one on the way. She has been able to take numerous trips. She has attended many happy momentous occasions. She has seen two decades of world events.
My mother Carol Joy wrote in her journal on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1993: “I will reject any bad thoughts and throw them back to the universe to take care of.”
Many years and many good memories later, I am incredibly fortunate to still be able to bring her purple tulips, kiss her and tell her I love her in person. I commend my mother for her strength and wisdom and know that I will never meet a stronger, more beautiful woman in my life.
Thank you Mom for all the games of Scrabble, for all the summer days watching us play in the swimming pool, for all the piano lessons, the ballet classes, the over-the-top birthday parties and the numerous family trips. But most of all for teaching us values, morals, positive thinking and how to make lemonade.
Important dates: May 14-15 – Relay For Life at Clark Magnet HS; June 7 – First Tuesday Dine Out night 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Dominick’s Italian Restaurant; June 8 – June business mixer at Century 21 Crest; July 9 – Scholarship Golf Tournament at Verdugo Hills Golf Course.
Please call our office for more details on any event. How to reach us: (818) 248-4957 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.LaCrescenta.org / 3131 Foothill Blvd., Ste D.
Julia Rabago is the executive
director of Crescenta Valley
Chamber of Commerce.