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Family, friends use “selfie” to remember lost loved one, support others battling cancer

NORMAN, Okla. – Last year, the University of Oklahoma lost a staff member to esophageal cancer and now, family and friends are turning to the power of the ‘selfie’ to help others battling the same disease.

Cody Ponder was loved by many and known for his infectious smile and stand out humor.

Kayleigh Damphousse said, “He was just a generous man, his smile was illuminating, he was just a good guy.”

Sheppard McConnell said, “Cody was a brother that I never had.”

Cody’s wife of 15 years, Johnnie-Margaret McConnell, says she misses her husband every day.

Through a 5K called ‘Cody’s Run,’ she hopes to keep his legacy alive.

The run was organized to educate people about cancer and raise funds for the Cody Ponder Emergency Endowment Fund, which benefits patients at OU’s Stephenson Cancer Center.

McConnell said, “What Cody was always aiming to do through work and transportation was to provide people with services, with resources so they could live a better life.”

On Saturday, April 19, hundreds of runners and walkers will take to OU’s campus to support Ponder and his fund.

Right now, more than 200 participants have signed up and $10,000 has been raised in sponsorships, which is already exceeding expectations.

Organizers are encouraging participants to take ‘selfies’ with a cardboard cutout of Ponder to promote the event.

Johnnie-Margaret McConnell said, “He would absolutely love this. He would be giggling about it. ‘Well of course I’m there and I’m all over campus. Where would you think I’d be?”

Sheppard McConnell said, “I do miss him and I just hope he enjoys it. I know he’s laughing at us for all these selfies because I detest selfies, but he would love every bit of this.”

Cody’s Run will take place Saturday, April 19 at 8 a.m. at the OU campus, near the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

For more information about registration, visit the event’s Facebook page.