Thinking Aloud: Relay events fine way to remember, help

It was a belly laugh that could fill a room, one easily noticed through the roar of a crowded restaurant.

This was an infectious laugh, and it was unmistakably his. It would erupt at the punch line of a clever joke, in the midst of a conversation with an old friend and, more times than not, as he neared the end of one of his wonderful stories. He was famous for those wonderful stories, but his laugh was as distinctive as a fingerprint; it was his and his alone.

Cancer silenced his laugh in 1997 after nearly a decade of battling the dreaded disease. Even still, a day does not pass that I do not think of my father; he was so much a part of who we were because of how he lived and shared. And now, cancer is a part of who we are because it took my father from his family and friends. He was a special man taken from us much too soon.

We all know too well the pain that losing a loved one brings, but there is hope. Hope to work past the grief of loss and hope for a cure.

The American Cancer Society and the countless hero-volunteers associated with that fine organization are working toward a day when fewer families and friends suffer through the loss of someone dear to them. They are making strides with fewer and fewer deaths from the disease each of the last few years.

And you and those you live and work with can help by taking part in a local Relay for Life event. Already, $51,420 has been raised through the Oak Mountain Relay for Life held at Heardmont Park in March, and three more local relays are planned for May.

For those that may not know, Relay for Life is an event designed to raise money to help the American Cancer Society fund research that is saving lives, to celebrate those who have beaten the disease and to remember those lives cut short. It is so much more than a walk around the track.

I will be walking next week in a Relay for Life event with our young daughter, Caroline. She and I will make the laps together in the memory of the grandfather she never got to meet. She has a belly laugh just like her grandfather.

Please help us walk for a cure.

Local Relay for Life events:

-North Shelby County May 4, Helena Intermediate School

-South Shelby County May 4, Columbiana Sports Complex

-West Shelby County May 18, Oliver Park in Caler