Herman Price has always been my reason to Relay
I took some of my very first steps in the hospital in Greenville.
My papa, Herman Price, was diagnosed with leukemia in October 1988, 10 months after I was born. He hadn’t been in the hospital very long when I learned to walk.
Doctors wouldn’t allow a 10-month-old into his hospital room. Instead, he put on a hospital mask and came to see me take a few steps in the lobby.
He fought the cancer off and on for eight years, but died in June 1996.
I don’t have many memories of Papa. I can’t really remember anything before I was 5, and after that, my memories are of him going in and out of the hospital.
But I remember very vividly the day he died.
Looking back, it must have been obvious to the adults that he wasn’t going to make it much longer. I’d been left with my mom’s parents, and Mom and Daddy were in Greenville.
I was on summer break, out playing in the yard. My grandma called me over to tell me Papa died that day in the hospital.
I know I didn’t fully understand it, but what I remember feeling was sadness for Daddy. I was sad because his daddy died.
I felt the same way at Papa’s funeral. I watched the faces of his friends and family, and found nothing but sadness for the battle lost.
But his battle affects us to this day through our involvement in and support of Relay For Life. I can’t remember what it was like when Relay wasn’t a part of my life.
Granny has a photo of Papa in a wheelchair on the track at Bertie County High School. The photo shows him participating in Relay the year before he died.
My mom and stepfather, who ran an obstetrics and gynecology office in my hometown, started a team in honor of all their patients who survived and in memory of those who didn’t.
My senior year in high school, I led a group for Hertford County’s first all-student team. After months of planning and fundraising, my friends and I hurried to Relay after our senior prom and walked the “prom lap” in glamorous attire.
If you’ve never been out to a Relay main event, don’t miss your chance next week. Relay For Life of East Lincoln starts Friday, April 27, at 6 p.m. on the football field of East Lincoln High School.
The event will run through the night, ending around 8 a.m. All night teams will play games, serve food and drinks, hold raffles, walk themed laps and compete to raise the most money to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The competitions and games make it more fun, but that’s not the reason to join. We’re there to “celebrate birthdays” – to work to make sure loved ones have as many birthdays as possible by helping to fund cancer research.
It’s an amazing night of celebration and remembrance. From the survivors’ lap to the luminary ceremony, you won’t know whether to cheer or cry. You’ll do both.