We spent Friday evening in Euless at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraiser event. The stormtroopers were asked to help out with a photo-taking booth. A high-school boy won a life-size Yoda in a Blockbuster drawing a few years ago. He decided to use his Yoda, along with his dad's photography equipment to raise money for cancer research. For $5 people could take a picture with Yoda and the stormtroopers.
The event kicked off with a survivor's lap around the track. Anyone there who had had cancer walked the track together. I was surprised by the emotional response this elicited. It's pretty overwhelming to see a mass of people who have come together to celebrate being cancer survivors.
Next, all the participants of the event who were there to raise money did a lap around the track. This included the 501st Legion members who came in costume.
We set up a table for stamping kids' hands with the cool Star Wars stamps Beth sent to me. I only gave kids the options of Yoda, Chewbacca, a stormtrooper, or Darth Vader. My Rebel-loving side was disappointed to see that most kids chose Vader or the stormtrooper. Why does everyone love the bad guys?!
The kids running the booth called their group "A New Hope." It was a fitting title for a Star Wars booth trying to raise money to give others hope.
During the evening, all lights were extinguished so that only the luminaries were visible. Bags with candles were set up all around the track in honor or memory of those who have had cancer. During this time, they asked everyone to walk a lap around the track in silence in memory of those who had lost their lives to cancer. Again, I was surprised at how emotional this wound up being. I thought about my grandfather who died from lung cancer over 2 decades ago. I said a prayer of thanks to God for saving my mother-in-law's life when she had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Up in the bleachers, luminaries were set to spell out the word hope.
When I looked up a few minutes later, the word had changed.
Here are the kids who worked hard to raise money for cancer research. They raised over $450 that night!
I decided to do my part by paying to take a picture with the stormtroopers and Leia.