In spite of the humidity, swarming bugs and tired legs, more than 700 Bobcats and San Marcos residents turned out Friday night to raise money for cancer awareness.
Heather Hudson, psychology sophomore and co-chair of San Marcos Relay For Life, said the near $24,000 raised by individuals and organizations will go to the American Cancer Society. Hudson said the sponsoring organization, Students Against Cancer, has been looking forward to the relay for months.
“We try to get as much awareness as we can throughout the year, but this is the big one,” Hudson said.
The relay started at 7 p.m. with the Survivors Lap, an inspirational time dedicated to recognizing individuals who have overcome cancer. By 8 p.m., the track was filled with participants running, jogging and walking their way into what would be a long night.
Greek and student organizations were not the only groups participating in the relay.
Mandy Outon, interior design senior, recruited 25 close friends to take on the challenge with her. She said the group raised $1,600 dollars from donations.
“My mom passed away last April 6 with leukemia,” Outon said. “I thought it’d be a really nice tribute to her.”
Chi Beta Delta, a service sorority, raised more than $2,500, the third most funds raised by a team. Raegan Owen, pre-social work junior and Chi Beta Delta active, raised more than $1,000, the second most funds raised by an individual. Owen said a friend of her father had recently passed away from cancer, which was motivation to set a goal of $1,300.
“I sent out emails to my friends, family, professors, anybody whose email I could get my hands on,” Owen said. “It makes me feel good that I can raise money that's going towards something that touches everyone's lives.”
Smaller student organizations were represented as well. A group of five Honors Student Association members participated and raised more than $300. Katelynn Butler, English senior and HSA secretary, said the organization was proud to participate despite its small turnout.
“We're a small group, but we’re plucky, and we mean it,” Butler said. “We had a lot of donors from the Honors Program. [HSA] director Heather Galloway and associate director Diann McCabe both gave very meaningful donations.”
While students drifted off to sleep or socialized on the sidelines, Butler was one of the few still making laps at 3 a.m. She said the partying on the sidelines was misguided, but harmless.
“This may be a celebration of life, but it’s supposed to show the difficulty of this journey that so many people must take,” Butler said.