Awakening A Relay Giant

Illinois Society eNews Relay 2013 April

A year and a day after he’d lost his mother to breast cancer, Carter stepped on the track at Willowbrook High School to be part of the Relay For Life of District 88. He was on a mission.

“Carter told me he wanted to walk as many laps as he could to honor his mom. He’d gotten per lap pledges, so he had added incentive to keep an accurate count,” recalls Courtney Manning, ID rep who oversaw the event. “As the night wore on – and people wore out – Carter kept up a steady pace.”

His final total: 230 laps, the equivalent of 23 miles. Not a runner, not even an athlete, Carter walked the miles with no training and lots of heart. Manning recognized his efforts by awarding Carter a Sword of Might – a glow stick trinket from the dollar store.

That was 2012. On March 16, 2013, two years to the day that he lost his mother, Carter returned to Relay, sword in hand.

“I was moved to tears,” says Manning. “I would have thought he’d have tossed it out, but he told me he kept it in his bedroom as a reminder of his mom.”

And it’s a reminder for us about the powerful healing component that Relay, and all our events, bring to people. Something to keep in mind as we pack the track this year.

“Everyone has a story. Not everyone wants to share it publicly, but I do try to get them to share it with me,” adds Manning, “and when they do, they feel like my family.”