I chose to interview my mom, Loretta Seeholzer, because she has had a lot of different experiences with Relay For Life.
Q: What is your connection to Relay For Life? A: "My connection to Relay For Life was through one of my best friends, Kris Sims, who moved to Canal Winchester. It was on her bucket list to create a Relay For Life there because her mother had died of breast cancer. So when she became chair-person for the Canal Relay For Life, she asked for support, so at that point three of the neighbors and myself, decided to go to her event, which was 18 hours at the Canal Winchester High School stadium. It was the first time I had ever been to a Relay event and it was the most moving experience I had ever witnessed; it was so many people that felt so deeply about a cause that it inspired me to do more. The first few years we were just a part of her team and we would pack you two girls and myself and go to the event that started at 6 pm. You girls were little at that time, you were probably about 4 years old, which makes your sister about 7, and we brought tents, blankets, sleeping bags, and anything else we needed to spend the night, and if the kids didn't last then we would come home. They thought it was the most fun event because there were games, fun themed laps, there was a DJ there who played all night, and there was a concession stand. I became involved in this event to support Kris, and I have been involved ever since."
Q: What is the most difficult situation with this event that you have had to face, and how did you tackle it? A: "It typically depends on the event, but for me personally it wasn't going to the event itself, it was when we started to plan it ourselves, when we had our own team that it became more difficult. Trying to get sponsors was very difficult, I was amazed at the amount of companies we reached out to to ask for a sponsorship that said no. We tackled this situation by continuing to try, to persevere through and hope for a company or person to say 'yes, I'll donate,' and that was the most exciting and relieving feeling."
Q: What kind of impact has Relay For Life had on you? A: "When we start planning Relay For Life, it is consuming, almost. I think about it almost every day, tactics to raise money, people to ask, organizations that might sponsor; I am in a completely different mindset when planning this event. I have many friends and family members that have been diagnosed with, or have lost their lives to cancer, so this event is very important to me. When I tell people that I participate and plan this 18 hour event, they say, 'man that's a long day,' and my response to them is: if someone can live with cancer 24 hours a day for however long it takes for them to be cancer-free, I can stay up 18 hours and walk and stay awake for them."
Q: How has this experience changed you as a person? A: "I am much more aware of the impact cancer has when someone you love is diagnosed. In my opinion, you never say 'I have cancer,' you say 'my family and I have cancer,' because it is not just the person fighting, it is truly a group effort and encompasses an entire family. In participating and planning this event, I feel like I am contributing and doing my part to try to rid the world of the ugly disease that has taken so much from so many people."
Q: What are some of the accomplishments you have achieved through Relay For Life? A: "In one year I have been able to collect over $4,000 individually. As a team, we have raised enough money to give us the title of a Silver Level Team from 2013 to 2015, and Gold Level Team from 2016 to 2017. These titles are awarded to teams who raise over $3,500 to achieve Silver Level, and teams who raise over $5,000 are given the title of Gold Level. This gives me a sense of accomplishment, a feeling that I am doing something good to help cure cancer."
Q: What kinds of relationships have you formed through this organization? A: "I have become friends with people I never thought I would be friends with. People that know me say that it is fun to watch my determination because I am very passionate about getting donations, trying to get people to come to the event to truly experience it, and especially about helping the event come together. I talk to people about Relay For Life with the hope that I will inspire them to do something themselves."