Cherished moments

May 15, 2015


“It definitely changed my look on things: how short life can be and how easily something can be taken away and what you take for granted,” Rella said to me as we sat back in the library.

It was 5 o’clock on a Monday morning.  The sun was barely beginning to break through the night time barrier. Rella, who was still sleeping, was awoken by his dad in an alarming manner.

“Matt, wake up, wake up,” he said as Matt groggily opened his eyes. “Mom’s gone.  God took her.”

Everything seemed surreal, as if the world were no longer in a constant motion.  Matt walked downstairs to a living room filled with his entire family.  A sense of unity penetrated the room, despite the tears and sorrow.

“It didn’t really hit me right away.  I had realized what had happened but it felt like it wasn’t real,” Rella said.

The Rella family is not the only family who has been affected by cancer in the small town of Glen Rock.  Their loss has empowered them to continue fighting for a cure, which is what relay is truly about.

The present truly is a present.”

— Robert Panicucci

Relay for Life emphasizes cherishing moments with loved ones and honoring those who fought their battles with cancer.  For the Rella family, it’s honoring the woman who put everyone before her.  The woman who loved fashion and portrayed her creativity for all to see.  The woman who loved San Diego and the sound of the waves greeting the shore on the beach.

“It’s a disease that’s all around us and affects many aspects of our life including home, work, school and social.  The most important feeling that came along with all these losses is that life is short, and we need to value every moment we are given,” Panicucci said.  “The present truly is a present.  As a result, I never put off doings something I want to do to the future. I do it and live the lyrics of One Republic’s I’ve Lived.”

The Sunday morning after relay arrives.  Students and participants are scattered all over the field.  Although their bodies feel run down, the internal feeling of accomplishment warms their bodies.  As the closing ceremony begins, the sun rises, just as a triumphal cancer patients rises from his or her last round of treatment.

“If you’ve never been a part of Relay For Life please come down and join us for a few minutes, a few hours on May 16 at Alexander Hamilton Field,” Cheico said.  “I promise that it will change your life to see our opening lap packed with cancer survivors and you will be filled with hope by the amount of community members present.”

Relay for Life will take place this Saturday, May 16.

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