At the Marlow/Rush Springs Relay For Life, there was dancing and music along with reverence and hope for those whose lives were ended by cancer and those who struggle to survive it.
In Redbud Park, children ran around and played while adults sat in lawn chair groups to visit.
A d.j. provided music on the park stage, prompting some to jump up for impromptu group dances in what can only be described as a celebration of being alive on a beautiful Friday evening.
A lighted luminary circle of paper sacks bearing the names of cancer survivors and victims created a focal point for the gathering.
Mallary Muller, 15, who will be a ninth grader at Rush Springs High School this year, tended to the circle with great care as evening fell on the park grounds.
“I love doing this,” she said.
The circle, she said, is a solace to those who have lost friends and loved ones. “It helps them think and go, ‘Oh, I know there’s in a better place now,’” she said.
The name on one sack was special. middle-aged Marlow man she had known since she was three-years-old. He was a close friend of her family’s, Muller said, and died this year after battling two different kinds of cancer since he was 23.
“He was very important to me.”
She recalled seeing him when his cancer had reached an advanced stage and again after he had passed away.
“He looked so much better then. I knew he was with Jesus,” Muller said.