I wasn't surprised when I opened my mailbox yesterday, and the letter was there.
I knew what was in the envelope before I opened it, because I've gotten that letter at this time every year for the past few years.
"You are invited!
(date in June)
to Celebrate a World with...."
I am happy to report that, once again, I am not eligible to attend. The rest of the invite reads:
"..to Celebrate a World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays". Why wouldn't I want to attend?
But first, I need to back up a little.
For several years, I participated in the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay for Life, when my employer had a team. The Relay is a walk where you participate as a team. One person must be on the track at all times, for about 18 consecutive hours, so many team members (I never did) camp out on the track. There are giveaways, entertainment, and a lot of high school and college students have a good time as they try to stay awake all night. They cook dinner - coffee is provided - and breakfast.
Of course, as a team member, you are expected to fundraise for the ACS. I would usually donate an afghan to our team to raffle, too.
Many people in my life have been impacted by cancer. Three of my friends (the first one when I was 13) have died from cancer. Several others are survivors. Two dear friends are currently under treatment.
When you register for the Relay for Life, you indicate if you are a cancer survivor or not. Survivors get a participating T-Shirt of a different color than people who have never been diagnosed. I always registered as a person who has not had cancer. I have never received a cancer diagnosis.
I was been a caregiver for someone with cancer, but it wasn't for a long period of time, and that person is no longer in active treatment. One day, that person may be living up here, and I will pass the invite on to her.
Survivors of cancer are invited to attend a free dinner at the Relay, where they are honored. A caregiver of their choice can also attend at no charge.
Somehow, I am on the ACS's list as a cancer survivor. For over five years, I've been getting this invitation letter, long before someone I am a long distance caregiver for received a cancer diagnosis. I've sometimes passed the letter along (the invite is not personalized) to a local cancer survivor in my life, and I will do the same this year. And, I suppose, I could contact our ACS chapter and ask them to take my name off their survivors list. But I'm not going to.
In a way, this invitation reminds me of how fortunate I am to not be able to attend this dinner. I am grateful for their mistake.
What are you grateful for today?