Friday, April 30, 2010

Why I Relay By: Nikki Schaefer

Mrs. Nikki Schaefer is the first guest writer on the blog.  She is my neighbor and participated in relay with us for the first time last year.  It was a blast!

I am truly the luckiest person to have such awesome friends.  I don't know what I would do without them!

 I knew this girl in high school……we didn’t run in the same crowd, nor were we the same age. I only knew her through a mutual friend….she was a cheerleader, a nice and friendly girl - I didn’t know much else other than her name, Eliza Mondy. Of course, I graduated and moved on about my life and didn’t see her again. My sister went to high school a few years later and was a cheerleader - guess who was her coach?? The same girl from high school that I knew, or lack there-of would be a better phrase. Once again, I didn’t get to know her much at all…just the occasional hello at games and parades, etc.

One day several years ago I saw a girl outside her house, down the street from mine, guess who it was - that beautiful, blond, cheerleader from high school. I saw that she had three small children about the same age as my own. Why the heck didn’t I go down and say hello?? Fear, embarrassment, judgment, I honestly have no idea what was stopping me. Let me just say, I soon became regretful that I didn’t go down and say hello. I often saw them outside and never stopped. One day I noticed she had shaved all of her long blond hair. I immediately knew why she had done that….I was sick to my stomach. I had heard from another neighbor that she had breast cancer. She had three small children and was too young to have breast cancer, right? At this point I felt like it was the worst possible time to stop by and say hello. “Would she think I was being nosy? Would she be mad at me for not coming over before? Would it be too awkward for both of us? What would I say?” Maybe I was ashamed for not greeting my neighbor in the beginning, maybe I was embarrassed for not being a mature adult, or maybe I didn’t know what to say. Every day that I would see her outside I felt terrible. It was only when my daughter noticed a girl down the street that she could play with one summer day. I said ok….and I let her take me down there…pathetic, right, letting my daughter introduce me to her new friend. I had so many questions for Eliza, but knew it wasn’t the right time to ask them. Instead we caught up on the past years and talked about our kids and families. I knew it would all work out one day – and it sure did!

Eliza has quickly become one of my closest friends and I love her with all my heart. Our daughters are best friends and our husbands have so much in common….it just works. I often regret that I didn’t go visit my neighbor sooner….I would have loved to be a part of her life and vice versa a LONG time ago. I feel badly, like what kind of “friend” I was not being….I wish I was able to help her during her fight with breast cancer. Enough with the depressing - woulda, shoulda and coulda… forward!! I look forward to so many more awesome memories with the Brock family!! Relay is just one of the wonderful things I can do to help celebrate the journey that Eliza has taken. Every time that I read her blog I tear up, just thinking how much courage she has makes me so proud to call her my friend. What an inspirational woman she is, an amazing friend, wife and mother! She does so much for everybody in her life and gives so much of herself….selflessly. Eliza is truly an amazing individual….and that is why I relay! To celebrate the survivors, honor those we have lost and help prevent the loss of other lives to cancer.

To read more about why Nikki does Relay and to donate to Nikki's Relay for Life Efforts Please click here.

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