Rodney’s Runners

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June 2nd, 2011

When my daughter Taylor surprised me a few months ago by saying she had entered a team, in my name, to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, my eyes watered up and I gave her a big hug. It was during church but my public display of happiness might have even […]

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When my daughter Taylor surprised me a few months ago by saying she had entered a team, in my name, to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, my eyes watered up and I gave her a big hug. It was during church but my public display of happiness might have even gotten others to contribute. Taylor, it turns out, is a master organizer and an incredible fundraiser. Mostly I’d known her for the past 15 years as just a really cool human being.

For this weekend’s event at the Troy Community Center, she and her friends have raised upwards of two thousand dollars, collecting pledges, returning bottles and doing all sorts of things like hitting up Costco for some game day help. If you’re not familiar with Relay for Life, it’s a 24-hour walk held in various cities across the nation throughout the summer. All proceeds raised go to help cancer research and normally it’s people a lot older who are captains. Taylor enlisted my wife Marci and my mom for logistical support, but much of the work for her team, Rodney’s Runners, has fallen on her shoulders.

To say I’m blown away is an understatement.

To quote Taylor, from her own personal team captain page, (where you can go to donate if you’re so moved), “At the event, our team will camp out overnight and take turns walking around the track to raise money and awareness to help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. The reason why we walk all night is to show that cancer NEVER sleeps. We will be walking, skipping, running, dancing, jogging, sprinting, and many other verbs ending in “ING.”

That sums it up pretty succinctly doesn’t it? They also set out luminarias, bags with candles inside, during the night in order to honor us survivors and those who have exited this realm already. I’m told it’s a very emotional and moving experience. Last week my cousins did it in Clarkston and had a blast, created a luminaria in my name and I even was given a lap bracelet by Marathoning Meredith, my cousin who put in fourteen miles.

It has been a huge undertaking for Taylor and her large folder sitting atop our old piano shows how much sheer paperwork it entails. You are welcome to stop by anytime between 10 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. They would love being cheered on as they “ING” or you could just walk along in support of anyone you’ve ever known who took on cancer.

And as usually happens with a family of teens, Skye will be just coming off her own 24-hour music marathon at Troy High to raise money for their band program. She’s going Friday night til Saturday night.

I know, I know.

(Editor’s Note: Don’t live in Michigan—and want to know more? The national Relay for Life website has state-by-state links to upcoming events. Did you know these relays now involve 4 million people a year—and have raised more than $3 billion since 1985? It’s true!)

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