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Relay For Life 2010

by C.A. Emerich

We walk because we have cancer,
Or we love someone who has it,
Or we lost someone to it.
We walk in the morning,
Survivors and caregivers, to show
We are not and will not be
Defeated. We walk during the day,
With our teams, with our friends,
With strangers who share our memories.
Finally, we walk at night,
Past small, decorated bags containing candles,
Past names of those who slipped away,
Those who cancer stole from us,
Past brave pictures of those still
Standing against cancer.
There is my bag, the one I made,
With my sister's name,
My friend's sister's name,
Two sisters gone in the last year,
Two sisters who never met,
Bound together by friends,
Bound forever by cancer.

Words and music have always been an important part of Carol's life. An Elementary education teacher until 2008, when she was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer, Carol is now retired. In 2009, both she and a dear friend of hers lost sisters to cancer. Last year, when she attended the Relay for Life in Mountain View, California, she fashioned a memorial bag with the names of both her sister and her friend's sister on it, inspiring this poem.