By Brittany Milligan

RELAY FOR LIFE TEAM: Abbie’s Avengers
Why I Relay,
I relay to see the survivor walk,
I relay to be a part of something bigger than me,
I love to see ones that have lost something so great like a life, talk
I love to hear stories about how the in memory used to be,
I love that on this day it rains,
I think they are tears from the ones that have passed on,
I think of young and old and how they share each other’s pain,
I look forward to be walking at dawn.
I look forward to money being raised,
I look forward to more research being done,
I hope one day a person will be praised,
Praised for finding a cure to this horrible one.

Family is the most important thing to me and when cancer started affecting my family I knew I had to do something. I started volunteering for the local Relay For Life event a few years ago and I saw how many people were affected by this disease. I wanted to help and try to make a difference, but that year the difference I made was selling golf balls for a fundraising event. I wanted more. I wanted to be on a team. I wanted to stay the night and walk until I could not stand.

In March 2007, my six year old cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. I thought the world was caving in. I could not believe, nor did I want to believe, a little girl could get it. I did as much as I could to raise money and let everyone in the community know what was going on. I set up donation jars in every store that would allow it. I tried to set up a penny war at my school, but was turned down.

That year we started Abbie’s Avengers, it was our Relay team. I was so excited to be on a Relay team. I was also sad that we got one. Abbie has only six more months of treatment until she is done. It will be such a change to not have emergency room visits once a week, have treatment every week, and to not have that constant rain cloud over her head. I have always said she is stronger than I shall ever be – she takes needles with no problem, she swallows pills bigger than I have ever seen, and she is the bravest little girl.

I also had a neighbor I called “Grampa Dewey” pass away from cancer. He was not my real grandfather, but close enough. He was a very strong man who lost his wife after only three years of marriage. My Grandmother Milligan had kidney cancer and had a kidney removed. My Grandfather Milligan had cancer. He had prostate cancer, but battled through it and can still talk about it. They are both very much alive and I am very thankful.

I have started to see the effects of cancer with my friends. One has lost an aunt who was very involved in his life, but when she became ill he got scared. She worked at a local middle school and was very active. This young man had a hard time with her death. We go to the Relay together to be each other’s support. Another one of my friends lost her grandfather to cancer. It was very hard for her, however, she had her friends there for support.

I Relay because I care, I love to help, I love to raise money, I love to have a good time and I also live to remember those who are no longer around. I Relay in honor of my lost family and the honored family members. I will always remember those who have passed because they cry every year on Relay to let us know they still care and love us.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.