In early spring this year, UVU freshmen track and field runners Taylor Charles and Wendy Peterson heard the news no one wants to hear.
One of their Orem High track coaches, Camie Jacobs, was diagnosed with cancer.
“I remember walking into the room,” Peterson said. “Our track team can be very noisy. When everyone found out, it was quiet. Everyone was holding hands.”
“She was a second mom.”
It was the coach’s upbeat personality, independent thinking, and great attitude that drew the kids in. Jacobs, along with her husband Andy, have been a big part of the lives of both runners.
“I really grew closer to the coaches my senior year,” Charles said. “I was more mature.”
Over the last three years, the relationship between Charles, Peterson and Jacobs has grown. Jacob’s ability to reach the runners has had a resonating effect and through the seasons, the bond between the runners and coach grew even stronger.
“She was a second mom,” Peterson said. “She was always there. You could talk to her about anything.”
“We had to do something.”
Within days of hearing the news, both runners started putting a plan in action. Their goal was to raise $1,000 to $2,000. After talking to several other coaches they decided to hold a 5k/1k run called Camie’s Run at Orem High.
“We had to do something,” Charles said. “They have done so much for us. We just wanted to show them how much they mean to us.”
Together Charles and Peterson spearheaded the run. After seeking corporate sponsorship with little results, they continued their efforts. After help arrived from the school and student government, the duo was ready to put their plan in action.
“This experience has help me appreciate how organization goes into things,” Peterson said.
“We printed over 300 shirts for pre-registration. We ran out.”
The run, which was held on June 4th, was more than Peterson and Charles could have imagined. Aside from a great showing from Orem, many of Jacbos’ collegiate teammates made the trip back to Utah to support her.
“We had people from Texas that came to the run,” Peterson said.
The preregistration event was a huge success. While the duo only expected a few runners to participate, they got a much more overwhelming response. The day of the race, runners showed up to run for Jacobs by the hundreds. There were so many participants, they ran out of running bibs to give the runners.
“We printed over 300 shirts for preregistration,” Charles said. “We ran out.”
Peterson’s mother also stepped in to help raise money for Jacobs, creating Camie’s Corner, a booth that sold discounted, handmade jewelry and other trinkets.
The duo raised nearly $10,000. All of it went toward Jacobs’ treatments.
“She’s still the same person.”
Peterson and Charles admit that while the cancer is not a good thing, it helped to unite the team. Jacobs is now working with Peterson and Charles to hold another charity run next year, with all proceeds going to someone in need.
“Having cancer hasn’t changed her,” said Peterson. “She’s still the same person.”
Even if she has changed everyone else.
For copmlete details on Camie’s Run including how to register to participate or make a donation, search for “Camie’s Run” on Facebook.