Last weekend I attended my first Relay for Life in Pottstown Pa. Relay for Life is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Members of the community come together at a local track with a team and someone from the team walks for 24 hours straight because Cancer never sleeps. The Pottstown Relay is one of the largest and is highly recognized.
This year I had the opportunity and honor to teach two yoga classes for participants, one in the evening and a sunrise one for those that camped out. The event is so large that visitors are encouraged to park at a local elementary school and shuttle to Pottstgrove High School. I left my house with plenty of time to get the event and park and spend some time walking around. Teams set up camps with tents, tables, chairs and sales to help their team fund raising efforts. I arrived with plenty of time to browse. There were food vendors as well as teams selling food. I got tomato pie for lunch and spent some time with the team Friends on Earth and Friends Above. Several members of the team are friends and fellow yogis. They were selling bracelets. Each bracelet represented every kind of cancer. I bought a black and white one to honor my Mom who passed away of Lung Cancer last March.
Yoga was held under the main tent in front of the stage. I had 30 minutes to teach and focused on gentle stretches for the legs, hips and low back. The Sunday morning class was the same. I was most happy with all the kids that showed up, and kids of all ages. There were young kids, and A LOT of teens both boys and girls. Kids are fearless and always willing to give something new a try. I enjoyed being able to teach yoga at such an amazing event. The class wasn’t quiet, or meditative, but I like to think helpful none the less.
After my evening class I went home, got my boys and we went back for the Luminary Ceremony. The ceremony is to honor loved ones lost and those who have won their battle. We purchased a luminary in honor of my Mom and were able to light the candle ourselves. The candles are set up on the bleachers and spell the word hope. Candles also surround the track. There is a reflections garden next to the bleachers. Several Survivors share their story; we watched an interpretive dance and a symbolic reading of the dinner table. The most powerful part of the evening was the silent walk. Every person at the event (and there were thousands) walked around the track in silence following a drum beat.
This was the first and won’t be last Relay for Life for me. I’ve heard say it is a life changing event and I agree.