If you are not familiar with Relay for Life, it is an event held in each county to raise funds for cancer research. Our county has several teams who hold their own fundraisers and a luminary sale to raise funds as well. This year we sold almost 6,000 luminaries--up from 5,400 last year--raising almost $60,000 towards research.
Our job yesterday was to place sand and candles in each luminary, and arrange them in alphabetical order on a path. One side of the path is for honor luminaries, the other for memorial luminaries. It is back breaking, labor intensive work and you have never stooped, bent over and squatted so much. It took about 6 hours to complete that process and another hour to light all of the luminaries at dark.
During the day, you are so focused on the task at hand that you don't really think about each individual that a luminary represents. But as you travel the path lighting candles, often stopping to let a family light the candles of their loved ones, you can't help but be aware that each bag represents a battle--some won, some lost, some still being fought. It is truly touching and I would encourage anyone to find a way to get involved in your area.
In a mini-rant and as a side note--to the lady strolling through the college campus who stopped me from lighting luminaries to ask if I could light her cigarette--you are so NOT cool!