Saturday, March 31, 2012

Relay for Life, 2012

Before we get to the titular content, I wanted to give a brief recap of our early-March hiking: We went on a few early-March hikes. There, glad that's out of the way!

Fine, a bit more info... The kids and I took a hike back up to Foster's Cemetery (Finn's first visit). Below is our pre-hike photo.

Julia posed king-of-the-world style on the hill, overlooking the Kinni.

Finn and I also hiked up the bluff at Hoffman Park.

A year ago, the River Falls Relay for Life did a spectacular job and was #1 in the Midwest for money raised per capita and was in the top ten in the nation! We had planned to attend last year's event, but treatment-related obstacles kept us from it. This year was a different story - we planned to stay all night and participate our butts off!

Our neighbor, Lee, also a cancer survivor, walked with Julia during the survivor walk. It was probably a little overwhelming for Julia, but she did have a huge smile on her face while walking through a crowd of clapping supporters.

The luminaria ceremony is where bags are decorated and lit up in memory of or in honor of someone. Julia and Finn made one for Carina and for the children at Children's Hospital fighting cancer.

After we heard Julia's name announced, we made sure to find the one that someone made for her.

We brought a little tent along and some other necessities for an overnight outing.

The theme this year was, "Make cancer walk the plank!"

Finn and his friend Will took the theme seriously with a long sword fight. The way the two were going at it, I was surprised that no bystanders were injured!

I was talked into (ok, it didn't take much) participating in the "Dude looks like a lady" contest. Men dress like women and walk around to try to collect the most money. When Finn had seen me trying on clothes the previous day, he wanted to do it too. Julia took Finn straight to her room and outfitted him in the finest of clothes. I was glad to have a partner!

Though we didn't collect enough money to win, there was also a little contest where the crowd cheered for their favorite. Finn ended up being the crowd favorite. He did a good job of waving and he was happy that the other "ladies" gave him high-fives on the way by.

His chosen prize was a large candy bar.

A team of girls asked if they could get their picture taken with Finn. He graciously obliged.

While walking the track, a few girls from a team stopped Julia for a minute. They were selling crafts at their booth and said that Julia was an inspiration to them. They gave her a few things they had made and wanted their picture taken with her. One of many teary moments for me!

Finn was getting unruly around 1:30am and neither kid would lay down to sleep. We decided to have Amanda take Finn home so they could both get some sleep.

Around 3:00am, Julia finally laid down long enough to let her body rest. She slept until about 6:00. I couldn't see the clock very well, so when I wanted to know what time it was, I took a picture of Julia and then looked at the time-stamp on the picture.

After we were both up, I started packing up some of our things while Julia lounged.

I joined her for a little while too.

It wasn't long before Julia wanted to be up and walking around the track some more. She also participated in a Zumba class.

Amanda and Finn came back for breakfast and then we headed out to get some rest for the day. Julia looked pretty darn good for only getting about three hours of sleep!

To round out the month, Julia had her three-month appointments at Children's Hospital yesterday. The day was filled with a giggle-inducing abdominal ultrasound, a chest x-ray, blood tests, physical therapy, chat with the psychologist, and meet with the oncologist. The scans and blood tests didn't show anything worrisome and the physical therapist was impressed with Julia's strength and balance. The other conversations went well too. So she's got a clean bill of health with more of the same to follow in three months.