It was completely dark as the first song began playing. Slowly, one at a time, tiny candles were lit. Candles placed inside bags which bore the names of people who have fought cancer. Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters.
Out of the darkness a figure appeared and stood alongside the track keeping watch over one of the bags. For some reason, the candle inside the bag would not stay illuminated so anytime a candle lighter would pass the figure would silently motion for the candle to be relit. It wasn't long before I could feel tears running down my face watching the determined vigil over this candle.
Relay participants were asked to walk silently in the darkness around the track observing the names on the bags. The figure didn't budge. With the sound of the flag flapping and the crickets chirping, the track was packed with people walking in complete silence. As I stepped off the track at our booth, the first lights were turned on and I caught a glimpse of the figure who had been standing guard over the bag. He was a teenager and he wore a purple shirt - one that meant: cancer survivor.
Out of all the things I could tell you about the Relay for Life Friday night. This one event is probably the thing that I will remember the longest and have the biggest impact on me.