Photo by Zoe Castle
“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month, ” Henry Van Dyke
“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush,” Doug Larson
10th Annual Seattle Dragonslayer for NW Sarcoma
As I secured a parking spot right near the entrance to Greenlake, I looked up at the cloud smeared sky and hoped the rain would hold off for a few hours. “Just a few,” I thought out loud and began to tug at one of the 20 cases of water bottles I’d volunteered to bring to the event. This year was different too as I was also involved in the set up and clean up of Dragonslayer event and received an “education” on just how much work went into putting on a fundraiser. The more help in the form of volunteer hours and donations you can collect to defray the cost of the actual fundraising event is the more money that can be channeled directly back into the charity.
It’s also important to make the event fun and meaningful for the people attending, so the tents went up providing beverages and snacks from healthy fruits to frosted chocolate studded muffins, face painting for the children, t-shirts with this year’s dragon emblazoned track shoes and registration area for participants, a dedication and tribute banner, D.J. booth appeared to announce the raffle and rev up the crowd and a Ginormous balloon arch was hoisted up over the front of the entire event to showcase our Dragonslayer Walk/ Run around Greenlake. We had over 1,300 participants- a record number.
Assigned to help out at the food tent, I worked with a wonderful volunteer Patty who is an adult sarcoma survivor and a physician. She brought her dragonslayer cookies, donated coffee and lots of baskets of muffins along with her family and their great ideas of how to serve and arrange the food so people could easily grab and go. I was eager to learn and amazed at how efficient the table was run.
Soon our D.J. was announcing the start of the Dragonslayer. We had an M.C., a young woman who had survived sarcoma. She spoke of how life was a gift and each day was never to be taken for granted. She thanked those who had supported her and how often caregivers have the hardest job, watching their loved ones suffer when there is so little they can do to help. I thought about the caregivers book I have nearly finished writing and know the big impact it will surely make. Her message was one of hope and encouragement when I had half expected to shed a few tears and feel sad. I felt surprised at how suddenly uplifted and empowered I felt. I looked over at the team that organized our event and smiled. Soon we were ready to start our walk and this giant amoebic crowd engulfed Greenlake in throngs. It was fun to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. Our good friend Jeanne joined us, she had been a part of Team Opie for years, and today I was grateful that she had decided team or no, to still come down and be a part of our celebration. We walked with our friends Dee and Kiyo and in memory of their son Josh and Team JD2. Josh had just passed away in July of 2012 at age eighteen. He is forever in our hearts as one of the most brave, loving and caring young men I have ever known.
I saw my friend Anita and her daughter Ava age 9 who is a Ewing’s sarcoma survivor she and team Ava came dressed as the Wizard of Oz. The night before they had had a fundraiser and raised over $800 for NW Sarcoma. I also saw our friends Suzanne and Marty who were walking on Team Prayin and Slayin for a young woman of 24 who lost her battle to sarcoma nearly 2 years ago, their daughter Lauren and our daughter Jennifer are closest of friends. Karen the social worker from Seattle Children’s Hospital and her family joined us,along with so many others. and so our community all together and as one to walk and make a presence known against Sarcoma cancer.
Back at the starting area we held our raffle and Chappie, the founder of NW Sarcoma Foundation spoke of how it is so important for patients to be their strongest most vocal advocates for their care. People must be vigilant even adamant, Chappie stressed, because the first treatment is the most important in attacking this terrible disease. He also spoke of hope and how together we can make a difference “please walk with us and not to walk away,” he said. I think we all heard him loud and clear. An award was given to the team who raised the most funds. It was named after a man who had lived passionately and had never let his cancer define him. His widow came on-stage and implored us to live our lives to make the most of each day. That would be my take away- So when the D.J. started playing line dance music and I saw my very gregarious, outgoing friend Jeanne take off to join the other dancers I decided “why the heck not”- and had some fun dancing up there too- two left feet and all- I had fun living in the moment because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring…. I do know this, hope and support can be there for all when we come together as a community.
“Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality,” Ralph Marston
Grapefruit Avocado Salad-
My daughter shared this delicious, light and easy to prepare salad with me. It goes great as a side salad, with brunch or topped with either chicken, fish or tofu for lunch. Serves 6. Enjoy!
3 ruby grapefruits peeled, sectioned, remove outer membrane, cut or tear into sections
1 large mango cubed
2 large avocados cubed
salt and pepper to taste
The grapefruit citrus keeps the avocado from browning and the salt and pepper add a bit of punch to the salad.
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