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My First Experience at Relay for Life to Help Those Fighting Cancer

Walking the Track

Route of Paso Robles Relay For Life Walk

Route of Paso Robles Relay For Life Walk

In June, 2011, I participated in our local Relay for Life in Paso Robles, California for the very first time. A very close friend had died the previous year of the colon cancer she had been fighting courageously for many years. She had tried every treatment that might be effective and was waiting for something new to try when she lost her fight. It was Sandy’s death that motivated me to walk.

I rarely walk without my cameras — just in case I might see something interesting to photograph. The walk was in a part of Paso Robles I’d never seen before, so I was sure there would be some photo opportunities in a new place while I was having a new experience. I had already planned that I would take a video of what I saw during my first lap around the track. The picture above shows where we were expected to walk. What you cannot see in the picture are the speakers, and these definitely qualify as loud speakers. They were so loud I could hear the music from the far end of the large parking lot (really a grassy field) across the street from our event.

North County Tea Party Patriots Booth at Paso Robles Relay for Life, 2011

North County Tea Party Patriots Booth at Paso Robles Relay for Life, 2011

As I made my way in and around the track looking for my booth, I had to pass the speakers on the way. Since this was a 24-hour event, I was already feeling sorry for the homeowners in the surrounding neighborhood as they would try to sleep that night. I finally found my team’s booth, got my bracelet, and went to the clubhouse to get some BBQ chicken available for the walkers.

I had planned to do my walking from 8-10 because I’m sensitive to the sun, which would be going down  as I walked. Unfortunately, I’m also very sensitive to loud sounds, and what was blaring from the speakers did not meet the standards for what I consider music. (I’m 67.) When I asked my team leader why they had to play rap, he said it wasn’t rap, just rock. Maybe so, but it sure wasn’t Elvis. Dennis said it had been even louder before and they had talked them into turning it down a tad. Even so, I was not the only one who held my ears when I had to pass within a yard of the speakers as I walked around.

Walking to the “Music”

I couldn’t turn it off in the video or the walk.

This is the video I took during my first lap. Please note those black speaker boxes one has to pass on the left, above one’s head. Please also note the lake off to the left. I kept looking longingly at it as I walked that first lap, thinking a walk around the lake would be much more to my liking. After all, walking was walking, and I did want to retain my hearing. You will hear a portion of what I heard as I walked.

I Did Not Walk Just for Fun

I had lost too many people I loved to cancer.

I wanted to help if I could. I hated to ask my friends for money, but I was amazed how willing they were to give. We had all lost people we loved. If you know someone with cancer, consider participating in Relay for Life and other awareness and use the pink poster below to let your friends know you will be walking. It might help you raise the money you need to participate. You can customize it and see similar posters on the Zazzle site.

You might consider giving one of these posters to a friend who is still fighting cancer to encourage him or her. If you scroll down the product page after clicking, you are likely to see other products, such as greeting cards, shirts or mugs, with the same design.

 What Cancer Cannot Do Poster Custom I Can Do the Walk Poster Hope is the Thing With Feathers Poster Hope for a Cure Poster

Walking round the Lake

This was a bit better

When I got back around to our team booth, I asked Dennis if there was any rule against my walking around the lake instead of around the track and he said not yet. So when I got halfway around again, I headed down to the lake, which was much quieter — the average volume someone who actually might want to hear the music might use. Here is a portion of my lake walk where I was trying to catch some birds in flight. You could actually hear them over the music.

How it All Ended

The Luminaria

I did two walks around the lake, which took 45 of my minutes for that hour, and I’d already put in about five minutes on the first lap around the official track. I walked another ten minutes and was beginning to wonder how I’d get through another hour of straight walking when I was saved by the announcer for the event. I didn’t know it when I signed up for my time slot, but the luminaria ceremony was scheduled for 9 PM. They asked everyone to clear the track and come to the amphitheater by the lake, since it was about dark. I was lucky enough to find a vacant chair which no one came to claim. We heard some speeches and heard some better (in my opinion) music, some of it live, and then, at almost 10 PM, everyone, signed up to walk or not, was asked to walk one lap while thinking of someone we know who was either fighting cancer or who had lost the fight. The luminaria you see in the picture and video around the center of the track were all in memory of specific people. As we walked, the speakers played a vocal version of “Amazing Grace.” This was followed by a bagpipe version. When I got back around the track, my time was up, and I left.

Late last night I uploaded the videos you just saw. This is what I found in my inbox this morning:

Your video, Relay for Life, 8 PM June 25, River Oaks, Paso Robles, may have content that is owned or licensed by UMPG Publishing.

No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

– The YouTube Team

Would you like to guess what this refers to? Yep. The music that came across loud and clear. It seems that my video will now have to carry ads because of the music I never wanted in the first place except, maybe, to show you how loud it was and give you a flavor of the event as a whole. I’m glad I participated because I was able to raise money for cancer research. But if I do it again, I’m going to wear those silencing “earmuffs “worn by shooters to tone down the sound and save my ears.

 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs, NRR 31 dB, One Size Fits Most, Black X5A (Pack of 1)

Leave a Comment


  1. Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. Definitely the second video with the birds is more to my taste, too! We are the same age! Looks like a beautiful spot to walk.

  3. a Very touching post. thank you

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Meet The Author

Barbara Radisavljevic

I'm a small business owner and parts of that business include blogging, content writing, and affiliate selling. My two Zazzle stores are another part of it. I've been writing online since I started at the now-defunct Squidoo in 2009. My favorite topics are books, nature, writing sites, faith, family, and my local area and its events. I have been married for over fifty years and am bereaved of both of my children.

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