Friday, May 21, 2010

Relay for Life: I Am Walking with a Purpose

Tomorrow, Plainfield will be participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life annual event at Hub Stine Field (Woodland Avenue and Randolph Road). I will be relaying as part of the New Democrats for Plainfield Club Team, along with many other residents. I will be walking on behalf of three individuals who lost their lives to cancer. 

My dad, Richard Williams, lost his life to renal cancer back in 1985 at the age of 54. He suffered tremendously, albeit briefly. To honor his battle, as well as the struggle of my family and his other loved ones to carry on is spite of such a great loss, I will be walking for him. Although my dad died 25 years ago, and treatments for the type of cancer he had have improved since then, renal cancer is still devastating and deadly. I miss him every single day of my life. 

My dad was a jazz musician, a trumpet player, who played in a number of bands--he was a member of Mingus's innovative band in the early 1960s, as well as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band, and those of Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Yusef Lateef, and others. He made over 500 recordings--but only one under his own name, titled New Horn in Town, considered a classic by jazz buffs. 

I treasure the fact that his legacy lives on today. I have captured video of his playing days in vintage clips on YouTube, and many recordings he played on are available for download. In addition, just the other day, as I was out canvassing for my political campaign, I met a jazz musician in the Second Ward who had played with Lionel Hampton for ten years--he knew my dad! I have provided a link to the Wikipedia entry on my dad: Richard Williams, Jazz Trumpeter

I will also be walking for Al McWilliams and Jo-Ann Sloane, two dear friends who were very well known to Plainfield, and who were loved and are missed by us all. I will be walking and remembering Al the friend, husband, father, and Jo-Ann--friend, sister, aunt,  daughter.

In addition to the walk, I have partnered with GreenFaith, a non-profit interfaith organization whose mission is to inspire, educate, and mobilize people of diverse backgrounds for environmental leadership.  GreenFaith has a strong environmental justice focus as well, believing that "all people deserve a healthy environment, regardless of their race or income." Partnering with other groups and organizations that focus on sustainability is part of what GreenFaith does. 

President Obama has asked us all to do what we can to lower our carbon footprint, and toward that end, we will be giving away FREE energy-efficient light bulbs under our tent on behalf of GreenFaith. These 60-watt light bulbs last for nine years and use four times less energy than standard light bulbs, so I hope you will stop by our tent to pick up your free light bulbs. These bulbs are one way to help the city--Plainfield can show its commitment to sustainability! We will have light bulbs for everyone who stops by, and those in attendance will also be invited to sign up for a free energy audit of their homes. Here is a link to GreenFaith's web site so that you can learn more about them. GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners for the Environment

I hope to see you all at the Relay--we all know that "cancer never sleeps," but all work hard to put it to rest permanently!

All best,


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