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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Silver Taps: Lorena Maria Casares

Provided

Provided

October 31, 2001 — June 17, 2023

selfless, life-long learner; an inspiration to Aggies everywhere
Lorena brought light to the world and inspired others without knowing it.
Molecular and cellular biology senior Lorena Casares had her sights on becoming the first Aggie in her family before she became ill with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare, genetic cancer. Her Aggie story is immortalized by the hundreds of Aggies who supported her walk of life through her GoFundMe last year. Today, she is remembered for her friendliness, her love for learning and her ability to inspire others.
Growing up in the McAllen area, Lorena brought fond memories of her creative wits to her sister, Raquel Casares, and father, Jose Casares. As a kid, Lorena loved to take her stuffed animals apart and deliver funny one-liners, Raquel said.
“When I was in middle school and she was in elementary school, she had these witty comebacks for everything my friends said,” Raquel said. “All her stuffed animals had missing pieces or parts from other stuffed animals. She liked creating little Frankensteins.”
Lorena’s father served as a corpsman in the Marines, working as a translator due to his proficiency in five languages. Lorena had a strong desire to learn and took after her veteran father, flooding him with inquiries on a daily basis, Jose said.
“I would pick her up from elementary school every day, and she would come with a brand new topic,” Jose said. “She’d ask me a question and be appalled if I knew the answer. She would be shocked if someone else knew something she didn’t know. Her goal in life was to know more than me. She asked one day, ‘Were you in the NSA?’ I said, ‘No, I was a corpsman.’ Lorena responded, ‘That’s exactly what an NSA agent would say.’”
Everyone who met her had something good to say about her, even if they only met her briefly. Her positive spirit instantly warmed any room, biology senior Estefany Chavez said.
“Wherever she went, she was always smiling,” Chavez said. “Even when she was battling cancer, she was always super positive. It always helped me through my struggles because if Lorena could be positive then, I could be positive too.”
Lorena supported everyone she met with genuine love and cheerfulness, Raquel said.
“She was everyone’s biggest cheerleader,” Raquel said. “That’s what I miss the most. I don’t have my cheerleader.”
Lorena took medical leave from the university following her diagnosis, leaving her three classes shy of earning her Aggie ring. After talking with her family, Lorena utilized some credits she earned in high school to earn her Aggie ring and returned to College Station to pick it up and dunk with her roommates. Chavez said Lorena valued A&M’s education and missed taking classes.
“Dr. Fletcher’s class was the last class we took together,” Chavez said. “She loved getting an education. She said, ‘When I get better, I want to attend medical school.’ She still had that drive while receiving treatment.”
In addition to learning, Lorena spent much of her time creating artwork, beautiful artwork at that. Psychology senior Autumn Lee said Lorena’s drawings floored her.
“Lorena was very passionate about art … She did a lot of stained glasswork, drawing and painting,” Lee said. “Before I ever met Lorena, I looked through her sketchbook she left at a friend’s house, and I was wowed with how beautiful her artwork was.”
Lorena’s friends agreed that the Core Values she embodied the most were Loyalty and Selfless Service. Economics and psychology senior Jasmine Cobb said Lorena serves as an inspiration for those who hear her story.
“She always was looking to make the world more accommodable for those who don’t have as many opportunities to succeed,” Cobb said. “She came from a pretty underprivileged background. Not only was she fighting for equity, she was using all the resources at her disposal to do all that she could to continue this fight. That is what she is known for. She is a constant inspiration for me to want to change the world and bring positivity to this world.”
Lorena lived to learn, strived to create positive change and inspired everyone she touched to do the same. Everything she did was to change the world for the better, Lee said.
“She was a great person … a person that I saw would make a difference,” Lee said. “Some people you meet and you know they have a purpose that is outside of what is right here, right now. She was one of those people.”

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