Welcome to St. Jude Sundays. This month I’m dedicating my Sundays to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month as I train and fundraise for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon this December.
“How did you get involved with St. Jude?” the stranger asked, glancing up at my hat bearing the St. Jude logo that I always wear with my morning uniform of a running skirt, performance T, and running shoes.
“I took a trip to Memphis this past spring,” I replied. “I expected to be sad being in a place that treats childhood cancer but it was one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever visited.”
I have to admit that when the invitation to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital came last spring, I wasn’t sure if I should accept because well, cancer, and not only cancer but childhood cancer.
Turning down an organization whose mission is “Finding cures. Saving children®” seemed so incredibly selfish. I accepted, knowing that it would be a powerful journey that I was sure to learn a lot from. Little did I know how much my visit would change me.
In the days leading up to my trip to Memphis, I braced myself that it would be an emotional journey and packed extra tissues to have on hand throughout my trip because the facts don’t lie.
This year parents of nearly 16,000 children in the United States will be told, “Your child has cancer.” 1 in 5 of those children won’t survive.
The statistics are powerful and heartbreaking but despite them, St. Jude is a place that gives families hope. Not only is St. Jude one of the most highly rated nonprofits and a leader in the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, it is a place that is dedicated to letting families focus on helping their child live by taking care of the big things down to the smallest details.
St. Jude provides takes care of all costs related to treatment, travel, housing, or food. Families never receive a dime for medical care, long or short term housing in Memphis, and have access to the most amazing cafeteria with seemingly endless options as well as the ability to enjoy dinner in the comfort of their living space. Kids go to school at St. Jude while receiving treatment. While we were there, seniors were walking the red carpet towards awaiting limos that were going to whisk them away to prom. Yes, high school St. Jude experience the magic of prom thanks to generous donors who provide dresses for the girls, tuxes for the boys, as well as hair, makeup, and an incredibly memorable evening at Domino’s Event Center, a space dedicated last August honoring the $35 million pledge that the company made to St. Jude.
But even with corporate donors, St. Jude has huge operating costs to ensure that families can focus on helping their child live and that’s where I come in.
During my trip, I heard how St. Jude Founder, Danny Thomas, always preferred to get $1 from a million people, rather than a million dollars from one person. It’s the collective effort of so many that keeps St. Jude running so this December I’m running my first ever half marathon as a St. Jude Hero for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon on December 3.
What it Means to Be a St. Jude Hero
As a St. Jude Hero, I have committed to fundraising $2,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while training for my half marathon because fundraising is the best way to support the kids of St. Jude. The St. Jude Memphis Marathon is the single largest one-day fundraising event for St. Jude and I’m excited to join this year’s race for my first half marathon wearing my special St. Jude Hero race singlet. I know my commitment helps St. Jude push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened in 1962.
How You Can Help Me and St. Jude
The longest distance I’ve ever run is a 5K so it’s a big deal for me to ramp up and tackle 13.1. miles this December but I am confident that I will cross the finish line having raised $2,500 in support of St. Jude! Here’s how you can help:
- Make a tax deductible donation support my St. Jude Memphis Marathon Race. I am thrilled to be less than $550 away from my $2,500 goal and every dollar helps- even $1, like Danny Thomas used to say! I know with your help, I can meet my fundraising goal to help the kids of St. Jude.
- Cheer me on via social media! I’m always posting training updates via my Instagram photos. I’m also going to be sharing information about St. Jude on the Tech Savvy Mama Facebook page every Sunday until race day in December.
- Rally friends, family and community members to register for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer on Sept. 17, 24 and 25. Registration is $10 for adults and children ages 6 and older. Visit stjude.org/walkrun to find an event near you.
- Learn more about how you can help at stjude.org/together.
- Join @StJude on social media and use the hashtag #StJude to show your support.
This month I’m sharing my St. Jude moment with you not only because it’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month but because of the stranger that just happened to notice the St. Jude logo on my running cap. I realize each time I tell my story, people want to help. Maybe you’re not ready to run a race but maybe you are ready to do the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer near you. Maybe you’ll click through and read more about St. Jude. Maybe you’ll donate.
That’s what my stranger did. When I had finished telling him about St. Jude, he took pulled $20 out of his pocket and handed it to me.
“For the kids of St. Jude,” he said before walking away, leaving me to my run.
Thank you, stranger. And thank you for reading this post, learning about St. Jude, and doing what you can to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
I visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a blog ambassador but am not compensated for my role and am personally covering my race expenses for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon.