What You Need to Know
What: Cody's Run 5k
When: 8:30 a.m. April 12
Where: 1524 Asp Ave., Norman
Register: At the event or online at codysrun.org
Proceeds: Organizers hope to raise at least $15,000 for the Emergency Endowment Fund to benefit patients at OU’s Stephenson Cancer Center
Once in a while, a remarkable person comes along who is able to make the most of life and affect others with simple kindness and character. Of those who knew Cody Ponder, they knew him to be just that — effortlessly kind and eager to help anyone in need. It is with love that the OU and Norman community come together to celebrate the life of a man who embodied the Sooner Spirit throughout his life and actions.
On April 12, 2015, the 3rd Annual Cody’s Run 5k kicks off early at 8:30 a.m. by the Couch and Walker Residence Halls. Participants are there to commemorate Ponder, an exceptional individual who left an impact on the campus of which he was deeply tied. The run is one way campus remembers Ponder who passed away from esophageal cancer in 2013.
An Oklahoman born and raised, Ponder embodied a sense of community involvement throughout his life. He attended OU in the fall 1996. During his time as a student, he immersed himself into campus life serving as the New Sooner Orientation chair and as an Adam’s resident advisor. Ponder also met his wife here, Johnnie-Margaret McConnell, who still serves the university as the director for the Center of Student Advancement.
He later returned to his old Sooner stomping grounds to serve as the Cleveland Area Rapid Transit’s grants specialist here on campus in 2006 and continued to give back to the community he loved.
Just ask anyone spent time with him. Jenn Doughty, OU Housing and Food Director of Operations, knew Ponder closely and remembers her friend.
“You will never met a nicer person,” says Doughty of Ponder.
She goes on to describe Ponder as a genuine and kind person, upbeat and positive even after his diagnosis. When asked if a picture of a smiling Ponder proudly displaying his “SCREW CANCER” after the first pitch of an OU Baseball game was representative of his personality, Doughty laughed.
“It absolutely representative of him, 100% of who he was. God bless, he was so funny,” she says.
Generosity was also a big part of Ponder, who is remembered for lending a hand wherever and whenever it was needed. It is in this spirit of giving that the Cody’s Run raises awareness and funds for those facing cancer.
Proceeds from this year’s race go to the Cody Ponder Emergency Endowment Fund established through The University of Oklahoma Foundation to benefit patients at OU’s Stephenson Cancer Center. The fund helps with the costs one would not necessarily associate with cancer treatment, such as transportation costs and the time spent away from work.
Overall, the run is really about two simple things: giving back and remembering a friend. Participants and donors keep those values alive. Several campus and Norman organizations have pitched in to ensure the race continues this year.
“It's beautiful to see all these people who knew Cody and loved him," Doughty said. "It’s like a family reunion."