Why I Relay
The Reason I Relay
Oh, I guess it was about 17 years ago when I received a call from my Lead Mechanic Tim Jones. Tim told me that a close friend Ron Lasosha, a coworker was in intensive care at Grady hospital. Ron was a single parent with 3 small children ranging in ages from 6 to 10 years old. Ron was having a dad’s night out riding his Harley with friends when he skidded through some sand and crashed.
When I arrived at Grady, Ron was in an induced coma and was not expected to make it. His mom soon arrived from Cincinnati, we prayed for Ron and I went home. As I drove home, all I could think about was how I could help Ron and his mom? He was in ICU, and his kids were at the babysitters without a key. His mom was here in a city where she didn’t know anyone, with little financial resources.
The next day, I got the craziest idea. Let’s have a cook out fundraiser for Ron, two burgers, chips, and a drink for 5 dollars. I did say it was seventeen years ago. It was a huge success and thus Base Maintenance Volunteer Group, D.A.W.G. was formed. By the way, Ron is doing fine.
In the early years, most of my fundraising was for car accidents, home fires, and children needing special surgeries. And maybe once a year, I would get a request for a cancer patient, who had reached his insurance maximum coverage, which usually meant they were terminal.
In 2005, I met Jeff Matthews, who lost his father, his brother, and his sister to cancer. He invited me to the Fayette County Relay for Life. Oh my God, I didn’t know so many people were impacted by cancer. I honestly did not know. Mechanics who worked beside me for many years were battling cancer or had battled cancer, or was a caregiver to someone with cancer. The director of maintenance’s wife was battling cancer. Once I found that out, I understood why he was so stressed. Tech Ops is so big, it is easy to lose someone. For example, a coworker goes away for 6 to 8 weeks, it is a natural assumption that they transferred, went on vacation, or were in training. When they returned, you asked,” Where have you been? And they would reply, “I’ve been out taking chemo for my stage 4 cancer.” That’s when your mouth drops open. Until we ask, we just don’t know.
Each year at Relay, I am taken back by the people who have beaten cancer and those who have lost their battle. We have a saying at church, the church is about people. I would like to change that to, Relay is about people. This is why I Relay.