Relay For Life

Relay For Life I hear you say! Don’t you mean Race For Life?!

Nope, it’s Relay For Life. I know everyone has heard about Race For Life and most women have taken part or know someone who has done one of the races.

A few years back, I was part of a group called Telford Group of Friends and we helped raise money for Cancer Research. When you are part of a fundraising group, you are always looking for new ideas to help raise money and this is exactly how I came across Relay For Life.

Relay For Life is a 24 hour team event where at least 1 of your team are walking around a track at any one given time. This is to symbolise that cancer never sleeps. The idea is that you fundraise throughout the year with your team and then the event itself is celebration of all the hard work you have done. The teams can be from 1+ but the more people you have on your team, the easier the 24 hours is.

If you have taken part in Race then you will know of the great achievement you have when you cross the finish line – well image that when you have done 24 hours of walking, running, jogging, hopping (basically however you want to go around the track!)

Relay invite cancer survivors along as VIPs. A survivor can be someone who has just been diagnosed, are going through treatment, have been cancer free for years (and hopefully with many more to come) or they can be someone who has unfortunately been told that there is no more medical help than can be given to them – all of these people are or have survived cancer and Relay celebrate this. For starters, they can join the event for free (everyone has to sign up and pay a fee), they get a purple t-shirt through the post with survivor on – the reason for purple is that this is the colour for all cancers. The survivors also get to open the event with a lap of the track and all the other participants line the track and clap them along and then they go off for a meal. Now I’m not one for being able to talk to people straight away, so lucky you are able to take a friend or family member along with you for all of this (they also get their own t-shirt) and these people are called Care-Givers. They are someone who has helped you along your way in your cancer journey, whether that be just taking you to the hospital for appointments or being that ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

sam and andy survivors lap

So the event starts off like this – the survivors open up the event with their lap with their care givers and then each team gets announced on to the track. Some Relays have it that the survivors judge the teams and then they win a prize. Following on from this lap someone then has to be on the track from your team at any one point. Believe it or not though, it doesn’t get boring. There are laps done in fancy dress, there are cancer awareness laps and some relays even have a silent disco throughout the night.

For those who are not on the track, there are stalls put on by all the teams so generate the last bit of money for their teams, there’s live bands playing throughout and even more things to get involved in.

This all generally goes on until sunset, where all the teams are pulled for the track to gather together for the Candle of Hope ceremony. This is where we all reflect and remember those who we have lost along the way. Poems are read, survivors will make speeches and candles are lit. This is one of my favourite parts of the whole event. If you’re a softy like me then this will have you in tears. Everyone then takes to the track to walk together (usually in silence). The track is lit by candle bags which have been decorated and donated for loved ones – it really is a pretty sight to be seen.

The night quietens down from here until the Sunday morning where all the fun starts again.

You can find out more information here about Relay and where your nearest one is. If you don’t take part, go down on the day and you will see what I mean when I say it is a heart warming event.

The first year I did Relay was on a committee and we raised over £30,000 which wasn’t bad for our first year. The second year I took part which was really fun to take part in all of the games which the committee lay on for you.

Have you done a Relay For Life before? Which one did you take part in and what was your favourite bit?

Sam x

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Cancer… 5 Years On

July will always hold a special place in my heart as it is the month which I got told that I no longer have cancer!! I always treat the day as though it is my birthday (I got another chance at life so to speak so why not eh?!) so I did the normal thing of bringing in cakes for work and going out for a special meal in the evening with Andy.

Although I make a point of celebrating this day each year doesn’t mean that there is no worry throughout the year – any little twinge and alarm bells automatically start ringing, but I do have an amazing doctor behind me, who knows how worried I get and will see me at a drop of a hat. He is reassurance to my worry. I know the signs and the symptoms of cervical cancer, so I also have that as an advantage.

For me, my cancer journey has been an easy one compared to some, but it is still a life changing event for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to have cancer again, but I would much prefer to have it myself that see any one of my loved ones go through it and in a roundabout way, I’m glad I have cancer – here’s why:

  • My relationship with my Mum has never been the best – I’m jealous of those girls who have the most amazing relationships with their Mums – but the relationship I have with my Mum now has improved tenfold. For me this is a gift in itself and it was given to me by my cancer.
  • I would have been stuck in a unhappy marriage. My cancer opened my eyes to life and what is important in it. I finally found a pair of balls (after speaking with a friend of course!) and ditched him – I know I can put my hand on my heart and say this would have taken a lot longer to happen if I hadn’t been put through what I had been through.
  • Finally doing things for me. I never really did this as it was always about the ex and what he wanted to do. Now my new relationship, it’s a partnership. We are there for each other, but if I want to go out on a last minute drinking session with the girls then I can. I wouldn’t have dreamed about doing this before!

I want to tell people my story – I want young girls to know how important smear tests are and they can literally save your life. I want to be that person that girls can turn to and seek advise, which is why I’m always so open and honest about everything. I don’t want others to be turning to Google to find answers like what I did and scare yourself even more (let’s face it, it always tells you the worst even if you have broken a nail!). The unknown is a scary and dark place when you are by yourself – I want to be that candle and reassurance that everything is fine.

I’m now on yearly appointments and haven’t had a bad smear since before I was diagnosed and fingers crossed it will continue every year! The next battle I have now is having children – with everything my cervix has been through it straight down the IVF route for us – but I’ll save that story for another day!

I’m thankful for having cancer, it has completely changed me as a person and changed the way in which I view life and the people I choose to have in my life. I’m now a much more positive person than what I was 5 years ago!

Have you had cancer or a cancer scare before? How has it changed you as person?

Sam x

Mix Tape 2016

When I was younger it was all about doing mix tapes and if you ever had one from a boy then you knew they were pretty keen!

These days, CD are going out of fashion and its all about downloading the latest songs to your phone or iPods, so I thought I’d do a version of a modern mix tape and give you my top 11. Like I said mix tapes were normally given between people and it would be full of love songs, so these are for Andy – Love you kid ❤

  1. Elvis Presley – Only Fools Rush In 
  2. John Legend – All Of Me 
  3. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
  4. Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
  5. Bryan Adams – Everything I Do, I Do It For You
  6. One Direction – Little Things
  7. James Blunt – Bonfire Heart
  8. Little Mix – Secret Love Song
  9. Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You
  10. Lawson – Where My Love Goes
  11. Nathan Sykes – Over and Over Again

What would you have on your mix tape for your loved ones?

Sam x

Let’s Talk Baby Showers!

My brother and his wife are expecting their first child at the end of July and as my sister-in-law doesn’t have any sisters I felt it was my role to throw her, her very own baby shower.

I have been to a few in the past, but it it all seemed to be very Americanised! Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that the whole baby shower thing has come from America but I struggled to find games that were UK English.

I asked around a few of my friends to what they thought were good games from when they have been to showers and they came up with these:

  • Bingo! I can’t put into word how much of a fan my sister-in-law is of bingo! She loves it! And somehow, she always wins! So for me bingo was a must – the party would have been incomplete without it. Now I will hold my hands up, I couldn’t find anything that was UK English, so I had to go with American – sure I could have made it myself, but lazy bum here, only decided to do something about it the day before! This is the link of the website where I used the template from. It was dead easy to do, just print it off (comes in a set of 20) and away you go. The instructions tell you to play it when the Mum To Be is opening her gifts, but I decided to play it like normal bingo, but having the guests call out for 2 lines and then 4 lines (everyone has the same on each card but in different places).
  • The next game I chose was Baby Names. This is ideal for those who know what they are expecting and have decided on a name yet. The guests have 60 seconds to write a baby’s name for each letter of the alphabet. If there are expecting twins or they don’t know what they are having then you could always increase the time limit and get the guests to guess one boy and one girls name. After the game, you count up who had the most and there’s your winner. I wasn’t sure if my brother and sister-in-law had settled on a name as of yet, so I gave them all of the forms so they could take them away and see if there were any names they both liked! Here’s the template I made
  • I then wanted another game that was just quick and easy – so I did ‘How big is Mummy’s bump?’ Everyone had to write down on a piece of paper how big they thought the bump was (I did it in inches but you can do it in centimetres if you prefer). I then measured around the bump, around the belly button mark, and the person or people who guess nearest wins!

babyshower

I hope you have enjoyed this post – what sort of games have you played at baby showers?

Sam x

My First Blogging Event!

This weekend I went to my very first blogging event #bloggertikiparty which was hosted by the lovely KirstyLeanne! The venue itself was at Island Bar, Birmingham which was perfect for the tiki theme Kirsty had planned.

I was fortunate enough not to be going alone – I already knew Kirsty, but another of my best friend friends was there too, so it put me at ease that I wouldn’t be by myself – I’ve never been a fan of going places by myself! I didn’t need to worry though as all the other bloggers that were there were so lovely and certainly made me feel very welcome.

Being a newbie to blogging scene, I wasn’t too sure what to expect or knew how it worked, but some of the more experienced bloggers soon showed us the way.

Not only did Kirsty put together an amazing goodie bag which was literally full to the brim, but she had also organised for some really awesome brands to be there – a good mix of beauty, stationary and candles! This excited me so much – I love stationary, I hoard candles and I need to improve my beauty techniques!

I had so much fun talking with the brands and of course making new friends! I can’t wait for the next one and meeting the friends again that I made this weekend!

Here’s a peak of what I come away with – there’s something for everyone – sweets, stationary, beauty products and even the cutest bag that everything was packed in!

bloggertikiparty

My favourite thing was the little pineapple parcel from That Lame Company which had some postcards with quotes on and also the cutest little sticky notes!

thatlamecompany

Were you at #bloggertikiparty? What was your favourite thing in the goodie bag?

Sam x