* The Purple Shirt

I have always loved the color purple. When I finally got my own room as a teenager, I wanted everything in the room to be purple! Then I went away to college and my beloved ECU’s colors are purple and gold. The elementary school where I worked as a media coordinator up until my retirement last year had as its’ school colors, you guessed it, purple and gold. It seems purple just always has a way of showing up in my life. Thus, the Relay for Life purple shirt.

In case you are not familiar with this event, Relay for Life is an annual fundraiser by the American Cancer Society. Participants in the event work throughout the year to raise funds for their relay team by holding yard sales, selling items like t-shirts and various other fundraising activities. All the money raised goes towards cancer research. Many teams are organizing and gearing up their fundraising this time of year. This effort culminates in a Relay for Life event where cancer survivors, caregivers and others who support this cause get together to celebrate the victories and mourn the losses associated with cancer over the past year. Of course, what would a good fundraiser be if there wasn’t a t-shirt involved!

Many teams create their own t-shirt to coincide with the theme for that years Relay for Life event. If team members raise a certain amount of money, they receive an official Relay for Life t-shirt. I must admit, I have quite a few of these shirts in my drawer from the relay’s I’ve participated in over the past 10 years but the shirt that means the most is my purple Relay for Life shirt.  Purple shirts are given to cancer survivors so they can be worn during the first lap around the track known as the “Survivor Lap”.

So when you see someone wearing a purple Relay for Life shirt, please give them a smile or a hug and know they proudly wear it as a survivor. For me, I’ll keep collecting those shirts for as many years as I can. Maybe I’ll make a purple quilt with them!


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