My Road to Purple Addiction

My name is Anne-Marie Going, I have a total of 7 years experience in Relay For Life, and I have a serious case of purple addiction! I started as being the team captain of our local bank's team in a small little town called Bethlehem, Eastern Free State, South-Africa. I was then asked by our local CANSA Bethlehem Office (Cancer Association of South-Africa) to join the RFL Committee as a team recruitment chair. As it happened, two years later, I became a full-time RFL Coordinator for CANSA Bethlehem. I organized in 2013, 7 Relays of which 4 were novice Relays. I raised a total of R 743 654 (over $63,000 USD) that year for CANSA, recruited 108 teams and 560 survivors. I then joined our Sustainability Group in CANSA, working currently as a Sustainability Unit Manager under Maria Scholtz, driving and keeping our National Projects sustainable in our country of which Relay For Life is our flagship project.

Writing my short paragraph of my experience in Relay, I do realize that my purple addiction or passion as you would call it for Relay For Life grew as the years went by. It was not a instant feeling for the cause but definitely a "Now I get what the fuss is about" instant feeling that grew into a burning desire to create as much awareness as possible in my country and wherever I go, ensuring that everyone will walk with me into finding a cure that will keep cancer away from all of us. Relay For Life is the one place that gives all of us the full range of human emotions. We go from excitement, being together at this amazing event, to celebrating our survivors. That lovely goose-bumps-heart-out-of-chess pride for our brave survivors walking the track.... Clapping hands,cheering and crying becomes a almost natural reaction. Then we go to a soft, compassionate emotion for our caregviers, showing utter respect for what they have to endure, doing it all, no questions asked. We cry our hearts out at the luminaria ceremony, remembering loved ones lost, letting go and finding closure, knowing that it is okay to do so. We get angry and determine to fight back against this horrible disease that has taken too many lives already. In between we laugh and have loads of fun.

Those intimate stories we share around the track during the early morning hours are just the best medicine for any heavy heart. I love Relay, I treasure it and it is a must for each and every person. You will never be the same afterwards. How awesome is it to have a place of Hope, a place of Healing, a place where Caregivers and Cancer survivors can relate. People that gather at any Relay For Life can see and feel that they are not alone in this fight. That we are a unity, standing together and not going anywhere. It is a place where we get to build relationships. Where else can we find this? It is a statement we are making as a global community, walking for 12 or 24 hours around the track whilst we celebrate, remember and fight back.

At Relay For Life, we stand together for a greater purpose than ourselves. I have 3 children at home, ages 10, 7 and 3. I Relay and will continue my purple addiction for my children, so that they do not ever have to hear the words: "You have cancer". I do not want them to fight. I want to create as much awareness about cancer and its dangers so that it cancer can be detected early, to raise funds so that we can do more research on cancer and to support those going through the battle. What better place to do this, than at your local Relay For Life? My name is Anne-Marie Going and I am a proud Relayer. Will you join me on the track this year?

Curious who the people are behind these posts? Learn more about our Global Relay For Life Blog Team here!