I should be in Frankfort today with Austin. Today is the American Cancer Society Lobby Day, a day where we can meet our legislators and remind them how important it is to find the cure for cancer.
Austin attended with me last year, passionate about raising the cigarette tax. We watched cigarettes take two of my grandparents and Austin feared it would take his two Mamaws. Thankfully, they both quit smoking this past year and Austin was here to see that. However, he understood how dangerous cigarettes were and wanted a smoke-free Kentucky, a smoke-free world.
I didn't know how well he would handle himself in Frankfort but he was a star. He didn't hesitate in shaking hands and telling his story last year to anyone who would listen. I know he had big plans for this year's event. He was a freshman this year and a member of OC Drug Free, as well as an ambassador for Together We Care. He wanted to see several go up with him this to ask for increase in the cigarette tax. I'm sad he didn't get to be here for the increase, but I know he is watching over us and is aware and proud.
Austin was born into Relay For Life so he didn't have much of a choice to be involved; however, he was passionate about it and stayed involved in every way he could. He asked to be Team Captain for our family team when he was only 9. The local paper, The Times-News, picked up the story and here is part of what they wrote:
"Nine-year old Austin Blair could be riding his bike and hanging out with his friends everyday after school. Instead, he is knocking on doors, writing letters and asking local businesses to help support Relay For Life, an event set aside each year to raise money for cancer.
'People in my family have had it and a lot people die by it,' Austin said, 'I just want to help find a cure.' And for this year's third annual Ohio Co Relay For Life, Austin has been named Team Captain.
Last year, Austin raised $250 for Relay but has set his goal for $500 this year. Austin said he's preparing himself so he can stay awake for the overnight event. 'I already have a habit of staying up late,' he said, 'But I try to practice staying up later on the weekends.'"
Austin went on to be Top Youth Fundraiser that year, raising $1004.05 on his own. He continued to be our Team Captain each year. This year, we have kept the team going in his memory. You can visit our family page at: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/Austinslegacy
Relay won't be the same this year, just as Lobby Day wasn't. I couldn't attend Lobby Day because it was just too hard, too many memories too soon of him not being there. I don't know how our family will do at the Ohio Co Relay event but we'll try and do our best. We'll try to be there, if only for awhile, to remember our son and his passion. Someday we'll find that cure. Someday we'll make him proud. I know we have a little more help on our side, from above now, helping us see it through.