We relay to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer. Rain or shine.
This year's relay came and went last weekend. I'm proud to be part of a community of people who are constantly giving of themselves. By photographing the event, we play only a tiny role in making the day successful.
The day began with a lap for our cancer survivors - the people we celebrate. There was also rodeo themed games, moving speakers, music from local musicians including our own Josie Waverly. Even Senator Rich Funke was in the house to support our cause. The whole day was filled with a spirit of celebration, all the while raising money for a cure.
This year, I took on another challenge. I helped to compile photographs into a slideshow for a portion of the event called "The Luminaria Ceremony." It's an incredibly powerful and emotional part of the event.
I didn't realize how emotionally difficult it would be to put together.
This slideshow contained photographs of the cancer survivors among us, as well as of those we've lost. And for a few weeks, every time I added a new photograph to the slideshow, I would cry. It didn't matter if I knew them personally, it was what they represented. Because each Luminaria that was lit and every face in that slideshow represented a life touched by cancer.
It encouraged me to be more present in my own photographs, and also helped me to remember why what I do is so important. Because after it was said and done, it really truly hit me how powerful a photograph is when it's all you have left to hold on to a lost loved one.
The statistics are staggering and scary. 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. That could be me, you, or anyone you love. It's why I will never stop Relaying, no matter how many steps it takes. Because cancer doesn't rest, and neither will I, until a cure is found.