Why do we Relay?

20 Jul

In a little over a month thousands will gather at the Harrogate City Park, circling the field for 24 hours. Because cancer never sleeps, neither will we.

The Claiborne County Relay for Life, set for August 26, is the culmination of a year’s worth of fundraising for most teams. It’s a time where we, as a community, reflect on how cancer has touched our lives. It gives us a chance to celebrate our survivors, memorialize our loved ones who have lost their battles with the disease and raise funds to further the fight. It is a time when the question “why do you Relay” is asked repeatedly. 

You’d be hard pressed to find someone on the LMU campus whose life hadn’t been touched by the disease. In the last year alone, cancer has claimed two of our own faculty members and a handful in our community remain locked in battle with the deadly disease. It’s the reason Lincoln Memorial University has chosen the American Cancer Society as one of the few causes it supports annually.

Judy Edds. She was a lot of things in her brave life. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, colleague, instructor, caretaker and nurse. In her career as a nurse she comforted the sick, mended the broken and was compassionate to all her patients. For her students, she was a great teacher who was always available for extra help. For those of us who were lucky enough to work alongside of her, she was a beacon of courage. Her passion for LMU and her students helped her fight the disease for years, yes years. She was in front of a classroom teaching less than a month before she ultimately lost her heroic battle. A battle she waged on many fronts. She visited Vanderbilt shortly before her death looking for hope in new treatments. In the end her body wasn’t as strong as her spirit, however her legacy lives on in the cherished memories we have and the bright students she taught. Why do we Relay? We Relay for Judy.

 

Wayne Wells. Looking through the lens of video camera, Wayne told stories every day. Standing in front of a classroom he gave his students the tools they needed to tell their own stories. He gave them the vision to see things from every angle and find the most interesting view to show. Wayne spent years honing his craft at LMU’s Sigmon Communications Center where he served as operations director. A call to teach sent him back to the classroom himself, as he earned graduate degrees that would qualify him to join the faculty. He was relatively new to the faculty when cancer struck, yet had already moved up to department head of the Broadcast Communications program. Like Judy, Wayne fought with all his might and continued to be dedicated to his students. He was a champion for his pupils, pushing them to take internships and gain experience in the field. He is remembered for his easy smile, sly sense of humor and warm personality. Why do we Relay? We Relay for Wayne.

Besides the University sponsorship of Relay for Life, LMU is always well represented at the event. Usually there are at least two teams from the University community that participate. The faculty, staff and undergraduate student team, The Relay Railsplitters were the first team in Claiborne County to raise over $1,000 this year. The team goal is to eclipse last year’s tally of $5,000. The J. Frank White Academy has traditionally fielded a team as well.

Why do we Relay? We Relay for Judy, Wayne and the entire LMU community.

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