The song "Flicker" by the rap duo Atmosphere has been on heavy rotation in my earbuds lately. The song is about how the main vocalist, Slug, dealt with the accidental death of his friend and fellow rapper,
Eyedea. It's sad, but also hopeful.
I often repeat the chorus when everything in my life looks bad. It goes, "One little flicker of light can raise the dark." And things have looked so dark for me lately. Family members have been sick, friends have struggled to find jobs and others just can't seem to fend off the bad news.
That's why I was glad to see someone who's been a light to many people in this community, Southwest Minnesota State University volleyball player Greta Geist, speak at the SMSU Relay for Life event on Friday night.
Doctors diagnosed Geist with Hodgkins Lymphoma in February of 2014. While she was declared cancer free a few months later, the disease reared its ugly head late last fall.
While Geist is currently going through an exhausting medical regimen, she's kept her spirits high. She spoke about her story on a stage set up in the R/A Facility, detailing the past year. Signs that said "Hope", "Remember", "Celebrate", and "Fight Back" flanked her as she talked.
"Being a good person is the most important thing," she said during her speech. Geist choked up a few times, but was all smiles walking laps with her teammates a few minutes later.
Events this past week reminded me of the importance of that goodness. My cousin, Amy Fogerty, posted on Facebook about her friend Mike Neufeldt, who died a few days ago from complications due to Muscular Dystrophy.
Neufeldt lived an active life as a Goodwill Ambassador for MDA. He also worked for Harley Davidson and wrote a book about Marquette University basketball.
"For all the obstacles that he had to overcome in his life, I never once heard in complain. He just lived his life to the fullest in order to help make life better for others, whether he actually knew the person or not," said Fogerty in a Facebook message.
Neufeldt brought light everyday. However, some days that darkness just creeps up you.
A few months ago my friend, and diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, Katie Spence got diagnosed with hemolytic anemia. It's a disorder where the body rapidly breaks down red blood cells. She got dozens of blood transfusions, biopsies, and other tests. It was an unexpected brush with death, but she's recovered.
In between tweets ragging on her Flyers, Spence now spends time advocating for donating blood. She acted like it was Christmas morning when a friend told her that he'd be donating next week. (There's a drive on Monday at Park Side Elementary.)
Geist's teammates all wore violet t-shirts with the letter "G" on them. They walked multiple laps with her. Teammate Sarah Parker walked with her arm around Geist. Stanger, the SMSU mascot, took a few laps with them as well.
Paper lanterns lined the track in the R/A Facility. People decorated them with hearts, ribbons, bible verses, and inspirational messages. Electric candles were placed in between them.
Even though all the lights were on in the gym, those little flickers of light seemed to provide just a little bit more comfort as everyone made their way.