This was the first time I had ever participated in such an event. I was given a purple t-shirt to wear with the word "SURVIVOR" in large white letters on the back. As soon as I arrived at the stadium people greeted me and congratulated me. It felt like we were family. I registered at the survivors table and was given a bag full of gifts.
The Boy Scouts presented the colors, a local high school student sang the national anthem, and Mark prayed to begin the event. All the survivors lined up at the 50 yard line to be recognized. I won the prize for "Most Recently Diagnosed" and was given a sash to wear, as if I were Miss America! And then, with the song "I'm a Survivor" blaring over the speakers, we made our way around the track. It was a surreal moment. I was walking with the cancer survivors. It was hard to believe, especially since I still have a hard time believing I actually had cancer! People were standing around the track with balloons, cheering for us as we walked by. Luminaries lined the track in memory of those who have gone before us, and in honor of those who fought the battle and won.
So many thoughts and emotions filled my heart and my head, but mostly I felt incredibly grateful. So grateful for God's faithfulness and his goodness. So grateful for amazing friends who have loved and supported me. So grateful for my family. So grateful to be alive.