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Scorching temperatures were no match for the enthusiasm and dedication of participants in the recent St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run. The event, held August 4 – 7, raised more than $2.5 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
St. Jude patients, families, staff and supporters lined the drive in front of the Patient Care Center to cheer on the 175 runners, their families and the support teams who participated in the four-day, 465-mile relay to Peoria, Illinois. Runners included hospital staff as well as former patients. ALSAC CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr., also participated in a portion of the Memphis to Peoria Run.
David L. McKee, chief operating officer of ALSAC, told the runners and the teams who support their efforts that they can take special pride in the fundraising accomplishments of the run, now in its 29th year. The run leads up to Peoria’s annual St. Jude Telethon, now in its 33rd year. This year, the telethon toteboard total was more than $5.6 million, including the $2.5 million raised by the runners. The St. Jude Runs effort has raised more than $25 million to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
Prior to the start of the Memphis to Peoria run, McKee also made a special presentation to Sheriff Mike McCoy, co-founder of the run and a member of the ALSAC/St. Jude Boards of Directors and Governors. McKee gave McCoy a special shadowbox containing the ribbon, scissors and other memorabilia from the July 16 dedication of the new Jim and Trudy Maloof St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Clinic in Peoria. The clinic, the first of St. Jude’s six affiliate clinics, was established in 1972, and will now be housed in the new, state-of-the-art home of the Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
To the sound of cheering and the roar of their motorcycle escort, the runners left Memphis August 4, reaching Peoria on August 7 to kick off the telethon. The original Memphis to Peoria run, created by McCoy and Gene Pratt, now features about 1,500 additional participants in auxiliary fundraising runs to Peoria from 22 other cities in the region, from Chicago to St. Louis.