By Katelyn Robertson, Correspondent
In true Texas style, chilly weather and some rain made their way back into town last weekend, prompting many to stay inside. The opposite was true for the almost 60 runners that made their way to Yettie Polk park on May 11 to brave the elements and run five kilometers, all for a good cause.
Saturday’s Stem Cell for Life 5K was organized by local resident Jeremy Vasquez, who has a personal connection to the cause: his father, Robert Vasquez suffers from scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the connective tissue of the skin.
Stem cell research has proven to increase survival chances and quality of life for those with scleroderma, but treatments can be costly.
That’s why Jeremy turned to the community for help.
All proceeds from Saturday’s race went toward Robert’s stem cell treatments, and to promote scleroderma awareness.
“I just want to thank everyone for coming out,” Jeremy told the crowd gathered Saturday. “My dad would love this.”
About 40 runners registered online, with close to 20 more registering on race day. Some walked, some pushed strollers, some went for personal best times, but all seemed to be happy to help support the cause.
Goya Foods sponsored the event and were on hand with samples and giveaways.
“Goya helped out so much,” Vasquez said. “I’m just so happy and thankful for everyone that came out and had a part in this.”
Raffle prizes were also donated, and lucky participants went home with tickets to an Astros baseball game, complete with a parking pass and two nights in a hotel, and a Goya ice chest.
After the race, local band Rare Dog provided entertainment, and Los 3 Potrillos Grilling Team sold chicken and sausage plates.
Although the fastest runner finished the run in just over 18 minutes, the event lasted into the afternoon, with people enjoying the great food and entertainment.
For more information on how to help raise awareness for scleroderma, visit www.scleroderma.org.