Published June 3, 2004
”Cancer has touched the lives of many over the years, and every day we hear of more cases of cancer among our families, friends and colleagues,” said Ann Blasick, young adult ministry (YAM) program coordinator whose mother passed away from cancer two years ago. On May 7, Blasick joined 17 other young adults from the archdiocese in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event, which raises money to help find a cure for cancer.
In the early spring, the YAM office sent out a call to action, asking for people to lead the charge to build a YAM Relay For Life team. Kim Englehardt volunteered to tackle the project and serve as the team captain. “I felt compelled to lead the team’s efforts because I wanted to do my part to help find a cure. No one should have to experience the emotional suffering or physical pain associated with cancer,” said Englehardt, a member of St. Ann’s parish in Marietta.
Members of the YAM Team spent a night under the stars at Chamblee High School walking continuously around the track from 7 p.m. Friday night to 7 a.m. Saturday morning sporting safari hats to go along with the team’s theme of “Safari For Life, Hunting For A Cure.” Easily recognizable, the campsite reflected a jungle complete with parrots, monkeys and palm trees.
Though the evening was full of many special moments, perhaps the most touching was the luminary ceremony. As the stadium lights shut off at 10 p.m., hundreds of luminaries were lit around the track and in the stands to spell the word ‘Hope.’ These lights provided an unbelievable glow, and each radiated with tremendous love. Three hundred Relay For Life participants stood in the center of the football field, and one by one lit their candles in memory and honor of their loved ones who have passed on or who are suffering with cancer until all were glowing brightly. “The ceremony made each person pause to realize that every candle represented a life touched by cancer,” said Blasick.
“I sincerely believe one of the most moving pieces of the entire relay event was the luminary ceremony. It gave team members and all participants an opportunity to silently reflect in a very special way on those who we have lost to cancer or who are suffering with this tragic disease right now,” said Englehardt.
The YAM Team raised more than $3,100 for the American Cancer Society. Though the luminaries at this year’s event have just extinguished, the young adults of the archdiocese are already planning to participate in next year’s Relay For Life. If you have an interest in contributing time, money or supplies to next year’s YAM Team, please contact Ann Blasick at email@example.com.
Relay For Life Team
Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta
Rend Auro, Ann Blasick, Dawn Gagne, Louie Hlad, Mark Kazmirski, Rachel Lister, Matt Motyka, and Richard Welling
Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta
St. Ann Church, Marietta
Matt Barba, Kim Englehardt, Kelly Evers, and Frances Gibson
St. Monica Church, Duluth
St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell
St. Vincent DePaul Church, Dallas
Special Thanks to YAM Team Sponsors…
Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits
J. H. Patterson Funeral Home on Peachtree Road.