Why do I Relay? Wow, where does one start? I suppose I kinda drifted into Relaying without properly knowing what I was doing or who I was helping, but knowing that I was helping someone who is a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a friend or a stranger.
I was contacted by Siobhan, one of the committee members, a few years back and asked to volunteer by stewarding in the car park in Pairc Charman and I have done so for 2 years before Covid. My wife, Eleanor, is also part of it as she’s a member of Bride Street Folk Group who perform at Relay and bring so much comfort to everyone with their beautiful singing throughout the evening, but especially at the Candle of Hope Ceremony, which I have yet to witness in person. I’ve heard it’s just breathtaking and the most heartwarming part of Relay as its everyone coming together for one common cause.
I lost my Mother to cancer in 1994. She was only 52 years old, which is way too young and still heartbreaking. We have also had cancer touch our close family and friends in the last 2 years, some having to go it alone for treatment because of Covid and it was a tough time for everyone, but thankfully they have come through the other side. It was then that my eyes were opened to some of the services provided by the Irish Cancer Society, which incidentally could not happen without funds raised at events such as Relay for Life.
The service I’m referring to is the Volunteer Driver Service where a Volunteer Driver collects the patient at their front door, brings them to their chemotherapy appointment, waits for them and brings them home when they’re finished. Those drivers are a guiding light to many and you’ve no idea how thankful we were to have them.
While Covid hit us all hard it also kicked a lot of love and support into peoples lives and one that was particularly evident to me was Virtual Relay for Life. This is where people came together to Relay in their gardens, on the streets, in workplaces and in housing estates across County Wexford, it was just amazing. With the fantastic help of my good neighbour Marsie Cullen we set out to Relay here in our own Community in Antelope Road. It was a great success and we were blown away by the support from everyone in our neighbourhood. It brought our community closer together in the fight against cancer and also helped raise much needed funds.
Thankfully Relay is back to an ‘in person’ event this year and will return to Pairc Charman after a 2 year break. I’m looking forward to being part of it again and hopefully I’ll finally get to witness the Candle of Hope Ceremony. I’m also hoping that many of my friends and neighbours who Relayed virtually with myself and Marsie will come out to Pairc Charman, not only to support this great event but to witness the magic that is Relay for Life!