It was pretty exciting... We got to the fields on Friday night and spent about two hours putting up tents and filling them with blankets and pillows, clothes and chairs, signs and food.
The next morning, bright and early, we were back on the fields. We decorated our site with lots of colourful flags. We had a few pieces of cardboard, which were all filled with photos of my cancer journey, me at the truck convoy and my newspaper articles. We also had a sign to go with Dad's mankini.
We were a bit nervous, but we were ready!
The first lap is walked by Survivors and Carers and we walked this together. Lots of people clapped as we all walked past and many people cried. My Pokky (grandfather) is a cancer survivor, too, so we snuck a bottle of his favourite beer in my pram... so he could join us on the lap.
Then, we got to have some morning tea. Scones and jam!
After that.... we went back to our site and watched as people walked around and around and around in circles.
Some people came and looked at my signs and photos and handed Mum and Dad money. Just like that. Mum and Dad don't know what to say to those people.... thanks doesn't seem enough, sometimes.
A few people came and took me for a lap or two, which was pretty special! I met a family who lost their mum, sister, aunt... at around the same time as my central line (cancer cord) was taken out. I think they were brave. I met a local teenager who has just finished treatment. She showed me her central line. She was brave, too. We talked about our eyelashes and how the chemo made them fall out. She hugged me for a while.
When it got dark, Mum and Dad put me in the tent with Charlotte. It was warm and snug and cosy! It was a bit windy, too..., so the tent was making lots of noise and I could hear tarps and flags flapping in the wind. I loved the noise and I tried really hard to stay awake all night!
We had a lot of people walk laps for my team... thanks everyone!
At midnight, there was a bit of noise, because there was a funny race. It was the Undies 500. Everyone who was still there was going to do a lap in their undies! Dad wore his mankini and Col just wore his undies! It was freezing! Rik wore his boxers and the girls were g-strings over their warm pants.
The track got pretty quiet after that. A lot of people went home or went to bed.
My team kept going. We made sure there was someone on the track all night! I had fought the whole way through my cancer journey, so they had to do the same... they walked and walked and when they got tired, they walked another lap. When the freezing wind blew around their necks, they pulled their clothes and scarves and dressing gowns in closer. And they did it. My team walked all night!
Mum figured out that my team walked at least 350km! Most people in the team walked 25 kilometres, some walked 30kms and Prue walked 40km!
The next morning, we were happy to feel the sunshine on us again! Before we knew it, the relay clock had ticked down from 24 hours to zero minutes. Relay was finished.
Everyone was sore the next day, but I am very confident that team Love Dexter will be back for next years' relay!
At the start, we were wondering whether we would even get enough people to join our team. We wondered whether we should even do it...
When we set our target goal amount of money, we hoped we could get to $1000 and we imagined how cool it would be if we got to $2000.
Well... Team Love Dexter reached $6,258.45! That's incredible! Thank you to everyone who helped out - with money, with laps, with undies, with cheeseburgers, with support.
This is from the Relay for Life page and explains where the money we raised goes:
We are confident that funding quality research and researchers today will produce the breakthroughs we need to ensure ongoing improvements in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.
We strongly believe that no one should have to go through a cancer diagnosis alone. Our Cancer Council Connect service endeavours to match newly diagnosed cancer patients, with any type of cancer, with trained volunteers who have been through a similar experience. We also provide information, support groups, a telephone helpline, accommodation and transport support services and much more.
These services help everyone, no matter who you are or where you live. We do not receive government funding so these programs are only possible through the generous support of NSW communities.