One of the many things I look forward to during Summer is our local Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is the fundraising side of the American Cancer Society, and every year across the nation there are multiple events that celebrate life, and the end of that year's fundraising campaign. In order to help promote awareness of our local chapter, and to help spread info about Relay for Life, I recently interviewed Mrs. Carrie Ortiz, one of our local Leaders. Here is the result:
1. How did you get involved in Relay for Life?
Carrie: I got involved in Relay For Life at the University of New Mexico when some of my sorority sisters decided to start a team. My (biological) sister had just been diagnosed with cancer and I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to show her some support. It was such a moving event and amazing to be surrounded by my Pi Beta Phi sisters during such a trying time. However, I never could’ve predicted the impact it would have on my life! After I graduated from UNM, my sister lost her battle with cancer and I sought out the Los Lunas Area Relay. I needed an outlet for my mourning and the committee welcomed me with open arms.
2.) What does it mean to you to be involved?
Carrie: Being involved in Relay For Life is a huge part of my life, I don’t think I could ever give back to the American Cancer Society what it has given to me. Through Relay For Life, I have shared my sorrow, found healing, made precious friends, and inspired others to get involved. I like to think of our Relay as a movement to not only raise money for ACS, but also to raise awareness of how cancer affects our community. Through our event, people can see that there is hope and support around every corner of this community. Whether you are a survivor, caregiver, or loved one of a cancer patient, at our event, you can find someone with a similar story. It’s amazing the bonds that this event can create!
3.) What is your favorite part about Relay for Life?
Carrie: My favorite part of Relay is the Luminaria Ceremony. It’s such a beautiful, emotional moment. It’s a time to reflect upon why we Relay. For me, it’s a very personal moment to remember that this fight is worthwhile, because cancer has affected my life so deeply.
4.) What do you wish other people knew about Relay?
Carrie: I wish other people knew how rewarding it is to volunteer, not only with Relay, but in general. Volunteering enriches my life so much. All the little moments when you see your actions helping other makes every minute worthwhile.
5.) How have you seen Relay for Life affect change? And, what changes have you seen?
Carrie: I have seen the American Cancer Society support wonderful research in cancer prevention and treatment. I have also seen an increase in education regarding cancer risks and healthy living. In addition, Relay For life is supporting amazing services for cancer patients, like Road to Recovery, which provides rides to and from treatment, and Hope Lodge, which provides a place to stay when people have to travel for treatment.
6.) What do you hope to see in the future with regard to Relay?
Carrie: My hope is that cancer treatment will continue to become more effective and less harsh. That people will no longer have to fear cancer, because it will be treatable and preventable.
7.) Why should others get involved, and how can they get involved?
Carrie: There are countless reasons for others to get involved. Some of those reasons, include helping in the fight against cancer, the enrichment of their own lives, to honor a loved one, to find healing and support, to support a community, and so many more. Whatever the reason, you choose to be involved the reward will be much more than the work. To get involved people should visit www.relayforlife.org/loslunasnm or email Kalla (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope to see y'all at this year's event! I'll be the one with the camera. :)