I spent a lot of time in recent years thinking of cancer, which is strange because most of the men in my family seem to drop dead of heart attacks. You’d think I’d spend all my time making sure everyone around me updates their CPR training.
Five years ago, after allegations that I was a pretty good writer, I was approached about doing public information work for the Noble County Relay For Life.
Hopefully it was unrelated, but not long after I was sent to my urologist, Dr. Finger, after an unusually high reading on a routine test. He spoke those most dreaded of all medical sentences: “Drop your pants and bend over”.
Thus his nickname.
The thing is, I’ve engaged in that odd business known as volunteer firefighting, and back in the day – okay, decades ago – we usually did it without breathing protection. This is where the term “leather lungs” comes from, but it turns out inhaling all that smoke and poisonous gasses increases the odds for all sorts of cancers, including my favorite: prostate. It’s just that “leather prostate” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Then came four years of waiting, tests, and more waiting. This winter a newer, more accurate test declared me to be normal, at least physically. This assumes future tests and routine digital ickiness don’t change the results.
But I became the NCRFL promotions chair before my diagnosis, and I’m not running out now. First of all, “Promotions Chair” sounds kind of cool, even though they didn’t actually give me a chair. Second, all I really do is write up some press releases and send them out, but I still get to call myself Promotions Chair.
Just for fun, I thought I’d use my position to brainstorm ideas for this year’s event, and I have until The Relay Committee and Team meeting on March 21st to come up with something.
Something they’ll agree to, that is. The Relay has a lot of activities as well as themed laps around the West Noble track and football field, so I tried to mix them up and think outside the oval. For instance, when I saw such things as the silent auction, tug of war, children’s games, and concerts, I came up with:
Fireball Frisbee. Just like regular Frisbee, only the flying saucers are on fire. Since the Relay is an all-night event, Fireball Frisbee would look really cool at 4 a.m., and since the emergency services usually has a high presence at these events, first aid would be a cinch.
Helicopter rides. This is a great fund raising idea that would start at midnight and go on until 5 a.m. I know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t area homeowners be upset? Yes, and that’s where the fund raising comes in: The more they pay, the quieter it is.
Pin the Blame on the Politician. It’s harder than it looks.
As for the theme laps, there are always fun themes in addition to the Victory Lap, but I thought I’d punch it up a bit. For instance:
Taser Lap. Everyone would walk fast in this one. Or else.
Fire Walk Lap. Fire walking is totally safe, if done properly, or so I’ve been told. The fire could be started with flaming Frisbees. However, it was pointed out to me that a layer of superheated coals on top of an asphalt track might not end well.
Nudist Walk. This is meant to replace Strip Tap Dancing, which was judged to be less than family oriented. Nudist groups are famous for being family oriented, or so I used to hear from the old nudist magazines that I swear I never read.
The Nudist Walk was shot down not only because some people don’t want to have skin in that game, but because the Relay is on May 18th and 19th this year. For people walking outside in Indiana, mid-May could mean frostbite or sunburn, maybe on the same day. There are some areas where you don’t want frostbite and sunburn.
Maybe I’d better just stick to reporting on the ideas of others. Besides, three and a half million people take part in five thousand Relays in this country alone. I suppose somebody in California’s already doing the Nudist Lap, Hawaii has a Fire Walk Lap, and they’re doing a Taser Lap in downtown Chicago.
In the end, what the Noble County Relay For Life is all about is in this year’s theme, “Colors of Hope”. This time of year, green is my color of hope. I’m talking the greens of spring, but the green of cash going toward cancer research and patient support is what we’re walking for.
Register online on the Noble County Relay For Life website at: http://www.relayforlife.org/noblecountyin
For more information contact Melissa Stephens at email@example.com or by phone at 260-471-3911, or Carla Fiandt at the Community State Bank in Albion, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 260-636-3744.
The Whitley County Relay For Life is June 1, with information online at: