In today’s post I am going to touch on a personal subject, and why I chose to photograph the American Cancer Society Relay for Life at the Northeast High / Downtown location. The relay was held at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. This yearly event has special meaning to me as I am a cancer Survivor. At the age of 13, I had a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Burkitt’s Lymphoma, stage 4. I was treated at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. I am proud to say I am a survivor of cancer and have been cancer free for 16 years.
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is a one evening event which begins around sunset and ends around sunrise the following day. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the US, along with additional countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.
The relay begins with a Survivor’s Lap where survivors, including myself, walk to help everyone celebrate the victories achieved over cancer. The next lap is walked by caregivers who give their time, love, and support to family and friends who face cancer. After dark, the Luminaria Ceremony is held where the lights darken and candles are lit bearing the name of a person touched by cancer and walkers circle the lap in silence.
During the evening, I heard heartfelt stories of survivor and tearful stories where their loved ones lost their fight. I felt honored to be able to capture the story and raise awareness of the disease that affects all walks of life. I encourage everyone to give to the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org and to learn more about the next Relay in your area, visit www.relayforlife.org.
Please watch the slideshow video and remember the loved ones in your life who were affected with cancer.
Additional photos from the American Cancer Society Relay for Life will be added shortly.