ATO walks for funds, member’s mother

April 30, 2009

by David Awalt

Alpha Tau Omega hosted the Pamela H. Watson Ovarian Cancer Walk Saturday at Tech’s track, raising money and awareness for ovarian cancer.

The walk was in remembrance of Pamela Watson, the mother of Chanse Watson, a junior electrical engineering major at Tech.

Watson’s mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer August 2007.

Watson, who pledged ATO about a month after his mother’s death, said the walk was a huge success.

“We really wanted to do an event to commemorate my mom,” he said. “We had about 120 people turn out and so far we’ve raised over $8,000 to donate to ovarian cancer research.”

Participants and supporters met at the track field Saturday morning.

All participants in the walk were encouraged to walk at least nine laps around the track because Watson said that number was a recurring trend in his mother’s life.

Watson said he was touched to see all the people come out to support a cause that was so real to him.

“It was amazing to see all these people come out, especially people my age,” he said. “A lot of people think fraternities are all about partying, but this shows a different side.”

Watson said this entire experience really showed him how strong the bond between fraternity brothers can be.

“I kind of broke down in front of my brothers last Tuesday and they dropped what they were doing and called an emergency meeting,” he said.

“I was able to tell them things I’ve never told anybody before. They’ve been there for me a lot and it feels really great for me to be able say they’re my family. That’s what brotherhood is all about.”

But Watson said while this event was great, he still wishes his mother were still with him.

“When she died it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through,” he said. “I’d rather see her in person than see her name on a banner. Our goal is make people aware of [ovarian cancer]. I know if my mom [had been] aware of it she’d probably still be here.”

Ryan Machen, ATO president and junior electrical engineering and technologies major, said he was excited to see so many people come out to support such a meaningful cause.

“We were trying to promote awareness for ovarian cancer research,” Machen said.

Watson said his goal for collected donations was $10,000, to which he said those interested may still contribute.

He also said he is very hopeful the event will continue in the future.

“We plan on doing this every year,” Watson said. “It’s been one of the toughest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done.”