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After a year of friendly and creative fund raising among music fans, Country Fans Care for St. Jude KidsTM wrapped up in June by raising $123,000 for the life-saving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Running from June 2004 to June 2005, Country Fans Care is an annual fund-raising program that unites fans and fan clubs from across the world for one goal – to raise money for the world premier center for research and treatment of catastrophic childhood diseases.
Co-founded by Keith Urban and Fan Clubhouse president Sharon Eaves, Country Fans Care allows fans to show support for their favorite artist, while helping the kids of St. Jude. During the year, some fan club members participated by making donations to St. Jude in honor of their favorite artists’ birthdays. Other fans organized fund-raising auctions, and some club members designed and sold calendars featuring their beloved stars. One fan even rented a booth at a county fair for carnival games in an effort to raise money. In all, 34 fan clubs helped raise money for the program, including the clubs of Billy Ray Cyrus, Tracy Byrd, Andy Griggs, Bryan White, Trace Adkins, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Brooks & Dunn.
“Becoming involved with Country Fans Care has shown me just what small groups can accomplish by working together,” said Lee Jeddrey, an Andy Griggs fan. “It is such a good feeling to look at the combined totals of all the fan clubs and know that, together, we have made a difference for the children and their families. We helped relieve some of the worries they face. I am very thankful that we were given this opportunity to be part of what that wonderful organization (St. Jude) does for the kids.”
“Jeff (Bates) has taught his fans to give back, be thankful and cherish life, so this program fits right in,” said Jeff Bates fan and Fans Care participant Tammy Pickens. “We will continue to support St. Jude and do what we can to raise money for the children.”
This year’s Country Music Association Music Fest in Nashville served as the kick-off to the 2005-2006 Country Fans Care for St. Jude Kids program, and there are already 35 fan clubs signed on to participate. Individuals who might not be members of a fan club are also encouraged to get involved.
“The best things about the Country Fans Care program are that it is very simple for people to participate, and fans can help in a couple different ways,” said Teri Watson, ALSAC/St. Jude Radio and Entertainment Marketing director. “Clubs can support St. Jude by fund raising as a team, group or individually. It really is a turnkey program, and it’s obvious that the fans not only enjoy it, but also really care about helping our kids. In just a matter of three years, the money raised by Country Fans Care has more than doubled and that is terrific news for the families at St. Jude. We are honored to have such compassionate fans helping us.”
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. For more information, please visit www.countrycares.org.