‘I never thought, never doubted that I was going to get better’: Light the Night hero excited to inspire others

The event is happening on Saturday, October 14th at Hemisfair Park.

The annual Light the Night walk is happening this Saturday.

Hemisfair Park will be illuminated with colorful lanterns as people rally together for research, advocacy, and support for blood cancer patients.

Every year, we hear from honored heroes like 17-year-old Mark Maguire.

“Let’s go, Yankees,” Maguire said at the end of our interview.

We know we’re in Astros country here, but when the legendary Maguire is shouting out baseball teams, we’ve got to let him have his time.

And this kid is a legend.

“At the Henry B. González Convention Center, that’s where we held, where we held regionals. And last year we got first place exhibition there,” Maguire said, telling us about his team’s regional competition last year.

Maguire is a senior at Ronald Reagan High School. He’s on their armed drill team for the JROTC program.

“I love going out there and doing what I love and getting better, seeing myself get better every day,” Maguire said.

The drill team family and his biological family have been by his side through it all, including his journey with leukemia.

“It has its toll. You know, I was 12 years old at the time,” Maguire said. “It was four years of chemo.”

Meeting him today, you’d never imagine what he’s endured.

Maguire’s medical teams at Methodist Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Cancer and Blood Clinic helped get him to where he is now, which is over a year into remission.

“I never thought I was going to die. I was just like, like I can do this, I can get through this,” Maguire said.

This year, Maguire and his mom Karen will be sharing his story at the annual Light the Night event at Hemisfair Park on Saturday.

He’ll be holding up his white lantern, proudly showing that he is a survivor.

“To me, it means someone that stuck it through and they, you know they went down and just went right back up. They fell down. And they dusted themselves off and started all over again,” Maguire said.

KSAT, along with our community partners, is sponsoring this year’s Light the Night event that supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Join us as we pay tribute to survivors and those who have passed away from blood cancers and help raise money for those currently fighting the disease.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.