American Cancer Society

Relay for Life 2011

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It’s 4:30AM on a beautiful night. Music is blasting, frisbees are flying. This is Relay for Life at the University of Louisville. 38 teams comprised of over 500 people gather to celebrate life and to raise money to fight cancer.
We walk all night to represent the fight cancer patients go through as they fight for their lives. At this point in the night we are all exhausted and count down the hours until this is all over. Knowing that we get to go home and relax in just a few hours if a relief. As I walk I think that if only cancer patients had it so ready. They don’t get to tag team someone else to fight for them. That don’t get to decide they’ve had enough and go home or fall asleep in a tent for a few hours break.
My walking had left me with a blister that may take a day or two to heal. That’s two days of hobbling around in pain, but then it’s over and done -a short-lived reminder of my own fight against cancer- if only cancer followed the same schedule.

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My Day in Frankfort

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Capitol building in Frankfort KY

I traveled to Frankfort recently to meet with the legislators who represent Kentucky. For those of us who’s lives are not steeped in politics and the logistics thereof, let me remind you that the “short session” is ongoing as I write.

What this means is that legislators meet at the capital in Frankfort, KY for a shortened amount of time and try to jam-pack just as much legislative action in as during a normal session.

Before going to Frankfort I had only a vague idea of what this means. On February 16, the picture cleared like the sky after a rainstorm.  I have never seen so much going on in one place, and despite myself, I am impressed.

Lobbying, I have come to believe, is a fierce sport. Organizations from all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky have what are known as “lobby days.” During these days groups will travel to the capital to meet with legislators and explain issues related to bills they want passed.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth in Frankfort for Immigrant Rights Lobby Day

On Tuesday the Boy Scouts of America, The Kentucky Humane Society and the American Lung Association all attended to lobby their legislators. From what I have heard, it was utter chaos, but still a successful day.

My own experience the next day did nothing to revise my opinion. While in Frankfort I saw groups from an alternative academy, a band, a choir, the League of Women Voters, the talented and gifted program from a school in Kentucky… the list goes on. This, keep in mind, is all on one day and in addition to the lobbyists who are at the capitol fighting for their causes every single day.

The cafeteria was packed and the legislators barely had time to meet between committee  meetings and appointments with constituents. We did manage to meet with several legislators. I admit to being intimidated by the prospect of speaking to the legislators about anything more than how to spell my name, but they were all very laid back, very kind and I could tell they knew and cared a lot about the issues facing our Commonwealth.

It amazed me that no matter what, no one ever stopped working. In the hallways, in the cafeteria and even walking from the annex to the capitol across the street – legislators and lobbyists alike are always on the go and always on their game.

The stairs leading to the gallery in the Kentucky Capitol building. A popular place to take pictures.

It was an interesting day and I learned quite a bit. It was a lot to take in on my very first day at the capital, but the next time I go I’ll be prepared and ready with my game face.