You hear stories of relay participants and teams raising thousands and thousands of dollars, but how do they do it? They must be car salesmen or have supernatural people skills. Maybe they know all the “right people” with loaded pocketbooks. In the end, we all want to know how and use it reach the top fundraising spot at our relays.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…..I know the tricks they use and I’m going to share them with you! Every successful relayer posses six traits and once you learn them, you can harness their power for your relay.
To make it easy to understand and apply the traits to your relay skills and beyond, we’ll explore each one from the ground up. The best place to start is with the foundation, which is the definition. Next we’ll erect walls upon our foundation; examples of how to use each one during your relay season. The roof will be your contribution to this process, applying the traits in your everyday life. Let’s get out our tool belts and begin!
- Courageous: Merriam-Webster list the meaning of courageous as having courage or being brave. Their definition of courage is, “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”
There’s nothing easy about cancer and courage is a must at every turn. From the little boy undergoing treatment or a single mom preparing for another surgery, to a parent feeling helpless to kiss their child’s “boo-boo” and make it feel better or a child kissing his mom before she’s wheeled into surgery. Each and every one of those individuals demonstrate the definition of courageous, through the toughest life and death experiences.
It may be difficult and painful, but you can be brave for these individuals when the odds are insurmountable. If you won’t do it, who will? When you spend your free time raising money, attending meetings, forming a team, involving your community, holding fundraisers, walking the track for hours and hours in honor or memory, and praying for those touched by cancer, it takes courage. Every time you ask someone to donate or join the Relay for Life, you risk rejection. Every time you befriend a person or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it takes courage. To stand on your soapbox and let the world know what you support, it takes courage. The difference? Successful relayers go the extra mile, in spite of it all.
2. Caring: The English Oxford Dictionary list the meaning of caring as, “the work or practice of looking after those unable to care for themselves, especially on account of age or illness” or “displaying kindness and concern for others”.
Even if you haven’t had or known anyone with cancer, you can still help care for someone with this ugly disease. You could raise money to help find a cure and further research. You can offer your services at the relay for survivors, such as a free manicure, free haircut, etc. Leading up to the relay, you could use your small business to host a fundraiser or set out donation jars. If you’re an employee, you could ask your employer to allow donation jars or host a fundraiser for the employees. You could make meals for a family struggling or donate your time by mowing their lawn, raking leaves, babysitting, or dog walking. One of the best things you can do, is spend time with them. All of these are ways you can use caring to support a cancer patient and their family.
3. Innovative: Merriam-Webster list innovative as the use of or employing innovations. The meaning of innovation is, “the introduction of something new or a new idea, method, or device”.
One of the best ways you can use innovation as a relayer, is to find new and exciting ways to raise money. If you find traditional or common fundraising ideas aren’t working, it’s time to flip the script and find something that’s a hit. The term “thinking outside the box” applies here; you’re being innovative. A doggie prom or combing golfing with bingo….who knows what you could dream up? It could be the next big thing! So get your thinking cap on and see what your brain is really capable of creating.
4. Determined: The English Oxford Dictionary lists the meaning as, “having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it”.
If you’re determined, you ride failure and rejection like a rocket straight to success. If you’re first fundraiser was a bust, you find a new (possible innovative…see how I did that..wink..wink) idea and crush it. If someone tells you no, you don’t quit asking; you just keep asking until you hear a yes.
5. Passionate: Merriam-Webster list the definition as, “capable of, affected by, or expressing intense feeling” or “easily moved to anger”.
Does the thought of cancer make you mad? If so, you have the beginning stages of passion. It takes true passion to fight against a disease whose defeat may not be tomorrow and many more lives may be claimed in the process. It takes passion to fight on, after losing a loved one or seeing those close to you diagnosed. It takes passion to change the world, one victory at a time; exactly what a successful relayer possesses and employs to make an impact in every single move during relay season. It’s drives them to fundraise longer, participate on leadership team, help improve their event, and stand proud next to every survivor and patient as they walk past their campsite. Do you have passion?
6. Empathetic: In the English Oxford Dictionary the meaning is, “showing an ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.
You may not be able to walk in a survivor’s shoes, you can hold their hand and walk with them. You can feel their pain, struggles, triumphs, and victories. Attending just one luminary ceremony, a most awe-inspiring event, will flood you with empathy; seeing all the bags light the darkness, the loving words and names painstakingly decorating the front panels, and one lined up after another……it will bring you to tears, even if you know not a single soul who adorns one. You will forever be changed. You can feel the loss, you can feel the pain, you can feel the fight, and you can feel the victory.
As you can see, being a Relay for Life participant is more than raising money for a cure. It’s about being a team player and letting the cancer patient/survivor know they’re not alone. Someone is in their corner, standing by their side, and fighting their battle with them. Someone is there to lend a hand when the stumble and lift them up with each victory, no matter how small. Will you be that someone?
You now posses the building blocks of a successful relayer. Add each one to your arsenal to make yourself a force to be reckoned with, cancer doesn’t stand a chance!