Monday, June 7, 2010

'Amazing People' Monday

The Monday after Relay, and my inbox has a stream of flowing correspondence that begins with this message titled: "Amazing people."

"To all of you who gave of your time, your heart, your hands, your spirit,

"I just wanted to send a heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped in so many different ways to make this year's Relay such an amazing successful one. This was a year with many exciting events happening at once and none of it could have happened without all of you. I wish I could point out everything every one of you did that made this event so awe inspiring, but the list would go on and on. ...

"I am proud to have been able to be part of this amazing year and I am truly a better person for having met all of you. As a survivor and a co-chair this year, I thank you and honor you from the bottom of my heart.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

That message was sent to Relay team captains and organizers and supporters by Cindy Dawson, one of this year's co-chairs.

Year after year, the organizing committee of the Pottstown Relay for Life treats me and staff writer Brandie Kessler as celebrities for The Mercury coverage of this event. But as I tell them -- year after year -- we're just doing our jobs reporting on the most incredible event in the Pottstown area.

This year was special in several ways. The first is that this year we live-streamed the event, sending video to our Web site at several intervals throughout the day.
Donned in our matching Mercury News Team shirts created by photo supervisor John Strickler, Brandie and I along with John and online editor Eileen Faust comprised a video team reporting on events.

I had the privilege of interviewing Geoff Manthorne from Ace of Cakes alongside the track and then later learned we didn't have the microphone plugged in properly and the words didn't take! That's how we learn.

These are the new directions our business is headed into -- we're a media company now, not a newspaper -- and the experience of live-streaming Relay and capturing the excitement in voice and movement proved the excitement.

But back to what made this Relay special ...

There was something palpable in the air this year that was all about the community of cancer survivors, caregivers, and supporters.

Maybe it was the lines of volunteers signing up to give their time (and their blood!) so that scientists can study what causes cancer.

Maybe it was the Ace of Cakes bringing some glitz to Relay that got people more excitable than usual.

Maybe it was the tears that opened the event and the smiles that prolonged it.

Maybe it was the love on the faces of Grand Marshal Bonnie Goodhart's husband and children as they watched her talk about what Relay means.

Maybe the reason is in that message line in my Monday morning inbox: "Amazing people."

The Pottstown Relay for Life is all about people -- and they truly are amazing.

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