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Relay for Life

It’s Saturday night, I’ve had about 2.5 hours of sleep in the past 39 hours and I finally got a shower so I’m not scaring myself. Because I was so busy during the event I took no pictures….I know!…..can you believe it?…but many good friends took pictures and I will be posting them as they trickle in to me. I can’t wait to share them with you, many are unforgettable.

By the time Relay finally started I was so excited that it was finally actually happening, but I was equally happy it was almost over. In the morning, driving away from the field, sore and exhausted, my heart filled with the most extraordinary memories, I was sad to see it gone and full of excitement for next year.

Friday morning we had friends dropping off all kinds of baked goods for the bake walk portion of our relay fundraiser. They were amazing…frankly I’m surprised some of them even made it out of the house, but we showed incredible control and got them all to the camp site. My friend Kathy brought a trailer that we packed to the gills with tents, chairs, coolers, a helium tank donated by our friends the Schallers, our auction Cracker Barrel rocking chair and as much of the stuff that we could imagine we’d require. That’s not including the hoards of stuff we had filling the Suburban.

After we made a trip to pick up the kids so they could be a part of the set up process, we hit the USF soccer field. **Future Relay Rule #1 When picking out the campsite, make sure to find out where the parking lot is in reference to the camp sites so that you are not carrying all your belongings….HEAVY belongings….across the length and width of a soccer field. Wow, one heck of a workout! It was hot, sunny and I felt like a work horse. We got the site set up and for the most part put together with the help of Kathy, our neighbor Greg and another dear friend Lisa Bedrosian.

We decided to make a run home because we still had lots of things to take up, namely baked items and item items that we were afraid would walk away if no one was there to watch the site. On our way we ended up getting stuck in terrible traffic….go figure for Friday night at 5:00 pm on a major highway. We did make it on time, but pretty much everyone else, my parents included, got stuck in the traffic mess made by a chemical spill on the highway.

Once everyone got there and we got tents set up, got the auction boxes ready to rock and roll and had mountains of cakes, cookies and brownies displayed to their maximum appeal, it was already time for the events to start. In fact, we were running so far behind that they started the Survivor lap before we were able to get Survivor t-shirts for Peyton and my mom. But, we made it to the track, Peyton in her stroller and my mom really wishing she’s found a bathroom first, and we walked.

—Ok….it’s officially Sunday afternoon because I was too tired to continue to write….I HAD to nap or it was possible that my eyeballs were going to fall out of my head.
So, I’ll start back where I left off….

It was perfect, hot and sweaty, rushed and stressed about the details not taken care of….it was perfect. That moment made me realize why I was there and why all these people were there. I was walking on that track with my mother, who survived breast cancer, and my daughter who in the fight of her life….for her life….and everything just fell away. I thanked God for the pure joy of that moment when I realized how truly blessed I am to be a part of the lives of these two brave people. All the stress that had really been building up in the face of preparation and wanting everything to be perfect for this day just rolled away and I was at peace with God’s purpose and will for this event. He provided a “This is why I brought you here” and I felt it with so much thanks that it was hard not to just start bawling through the walk….but I was in such a rush that I forgot to take any Kleenex and I refused to snot all the way around the track.

During the Survivor lap, all the team members line the track and applaud the walkers, and Peyton really grooved on that. She did a lot of waving and smiling and basking. It was wonderful to walk around near our camp site and see the faces of our friends and family giving extra loud encouragement and feeling the love that rolled over us in waves. **Relay Rule #2 Do Not forget to take your Kleenex during the Survivor lap.

We were well behind all the other Survivor walkers because of our slightly late start and for a while we were the only ones walking and Peyton looked up at me and said “Mommy, I think we’re winning!”

There is so much to tell you, so much that I could go on for hours and hours about all the fun and events and the wonderful people we met, but if you want to know the realness of all of it, you have to come out and participate next year. I can’t encourage you enough to get some of this goodness for yourself.

I do have to name some super special people who were involved in making this day happen for us, the ones who came, the ones who helped, the ones who baked, the ones who slept in tents, the ones who helped us bring this day to reality.

-The Greg, Theresa, Matthew and Carl Wynn
-Kathy, Mike, Savannah and Garrett Vida
-Kim, Bud, Lily and Jesse Kennedy
-Chris, Paige and Morgan Toth
-Monica, Scott, Corey, Chase and Carson Tappan
-JuLee Chaffee
-Wendy, Brian and Alyssa McPike
-The Brian Raulerson family
-Lisa, Josiah, Luke, Ester, Grace, Isaac, Daniel Bedrosian and all the Bedrosians that wanted to come but were with us in prayer
-Jonalynn and Dave Waldman
-The Poole family
-Paul and Amy Carlucci
-The Lehtola family
-Maryellen, Justin, Jacob and James Flint
-Jill, Wade, Kyle (bless his jogging little heart), Lauren and Brookie Bonilla
-Sarah, Ivan, Emily and Eden Feakes
-Jennifer, Justin and Meghan Fletcher
-My mom and Dad, Dale and Dixie Means
-My mother in law, Sharon Mayhew
-Doug, Angela, Bowen, Mason and Adelaine Powell

-ALL those who prayed for this event, those who brought us baked items that helped make our bake walk such a success (and our stomachs a little happier) and donated items that helped us raise almost 900 dollars for the night!!!

Team Peyton still has some money to turn in, but at this point we’ve raised over 4100$ at this point! What a blessing and success and I am just full of thanks to God and to all of you who donated online and helped make this possible. ***Relay Rule #3 Start Fundraising earlier so that we are able to stay in first place!

We had so much fun throughout the night. There was incredible energy in the event and all the people there were as wrapped up in the purpose of the night and that made for an amazing overall feeling.

Peyton was in a state of bliss with so much to do, friends to play with and endless opportunity to play. She got to take a ride around the track in a wagon decorated to look like a taxi cab, she got to smash many whipped cream pies into someone’s face (which she looooved apparently) and had her best friend Adelaine there to spend the night. It was so good that in the morning when we started to take down the tents, Adelaine started to cry because she didn’t want to leave! Peyton was hard core, she didn’t fall asleep until well after 1 AM. We met some lovely girls from the Tri-Delta sorority who were enamored of Peyton and Adelaine. The national charity that they support is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and these two little girls really brought home what they do work for. They invited us to be a part of a fundraising effort that they are doing later in the month as guests and I thought that was so sweet.

Rachael frolicked around all night, playing games and eating only who knows how many different forms of junk food. She had several friends there to run with throughout the night and took full advantage of the freedom to run wild and enjoy the night. She was a huge help in running the bake walk, bossing people around and loving every minute of it. She even walked a few laps. ***Relay Rule #4 Don’t bother bringing our own food when there is unlimited amounts of junk food at your disposal, and it’s all in the name of fundraising!

“Sport Nathaniel” came out and participated in much of the activity of the night. He played 5 games of volleyball with the college students, and they were awesome in letting him play. Never did they turn him away or play around him. In fact, he told me yesterday “I really think I was their strongest player”…bless all of them for being big enough of heart to know that winning was not as important as making a young boy’s desire to be involved the priority. He also had many of his friend there to play with throughout the night and a whole soccer field at their disposal…he didn’t finally drop into a tent until 4 AM when I made him go to bed.

All of the kids who were there got involved by selling helium balloons, we actually ran out of string before they were done. They were thrilled to be involved and it was so fun to watch the excitement in their faces as they came back with their quarters and dollars. **Relay Rule #5 No one can turn down anything sold to them by a child….next year the balloons are going for 100$

Because of all the generous help we had, Peter and I were able to have the time to enjoy some of the relay events too. Peter, Lisa Bedrosian, Carl and Greg Wynn got to participate in a poker tournament and Lisa came back with a winning poker bracelet!!! GO Lisa! I got a track ride in the Taxi Wagon as well….I felt reallllly bad for the guy who had to pull me, but hey, he earned his buck, right? I had Peter thrown into jail at the Moffit Cancer Center site, but he was almost immediately bailed out by some generous soul.

I can’t count the number of people who commented on the wall of cancer kids that we had displayed. Every time I got tired, I would look up at them and remember why we were there and get a burst of energy. I gave out tons of brochures for different pediatric cancer groups, encouraging people to get involved in other ways. Those faces, the stark reality of seeing Peyton and Adelaine’s sweet little faces roaming our campsite with such happiness and energy was touching to so many. I’m glad, because if Peyton’s going to have to have cancer, then we’re going to use it to make people aware, to pull at those heartstrings and make them want to do something. This is one of those great goods that God provides that can come out of a great bad that has happened.

We saw some of the USF students that volunteer at our clinic participating in different teams, they were excited to see Peyton and she didn’t recognize them out of their clinic shirts! Nikki Hawkins, one of our magazine cover kids and her family came out in support of our efforts and it meant a lot to see her out there. They have their own Relay event next weekend in Temple Terrace where she’s the honorary chairperson, but they came out to encourage us as well. This is what the cancer family does, we support each other!

There is so much more I could tell you about the night, but this would go on forever and I just want you all to know that it was everything I had prayed for and more. God had His powerful hand in orchestrating the night and I just give Him so much thanks and praise for giving us this chance to do His work. Our pastor Mark spoke today about every day heroes, the one who are able to do extraordinary things in ordinary circumstances, and I just think that God has given us this cancer as a chance to do extraordinary things.

Thank you thank you thank you to all those who participated and helped and donated! Be prepared because next year is just 356 days away! ***Relay Rule #6 Work towards doubling the number of people involved for next year and sharing the wealth of fun and memories!

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

ps…As pictures of Relay come in from all sources, I will be posting them to whatever post is handy….it will seem random, but hey, isn't life anyway??

This is the TEAM PEYTON Volleyball team who was, and let me just say this with extreme pride….UNDEFEATED!!! Yes, all those 20 something college students and our team of dads, moms and kids triumphed!

3 Comments on “Relay for Life”

  1. #1 Basi perkins
    on Apr 15th, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Mayhew Family,
    WOW! Great job and it sounds like you had a ton of fun, too!

  2. #2 The Greg
    on Apr 15th, 2007 at 8:36 pm


    I have the "Electric Slide" song still ringing in my head. "c rse d !" I was waving my right fist in the air, so I couldn't type, "curse you dj!"

    I want the UNDEFEATED Team Peyton Volleyball squad photo on the site!

    I am so tired, but I am afraid to put my head on the pillow. Thats when the voices come back. "It's Electric … boogie woogie woogie." AAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

  3. #3 Penny Hawkins
    on Apr 16th, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Way to go – TEAM PAYTON. I have posted some pictures – will try to email to your mom. Penny