Randy Owen poses with St. Jude patients

Randy Owen shares his thoughts about St. Jude and Country Cares

My first experience with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was when I met Danny Thomas in 1988. Danny told me about the hospital and the phenomenal advances being made there to wipe out childhood cancer and other childhood diseases. He explained that the hospital depended on public support to carry on this great cause, and he needed my help.

His devotion was inspiring. Soon after, I visited St. Jude, and it changed my life. I was amazed by the courage of the patients and their faith that St. Jude could help them. I became a true believer in the hospital's mission and wanted to do something to make a difference.

I asked people in country radio to band together to help St. Jude help kids. The results have been greater than I ever could have imagined. When I think of how far Country Cares for St. Jude Kids® has come, I am humbled by the generosity of the country music industry. So far, we have raised more than $200 million in cash and pledges to benefit the hospital.

Country Cares brings together country music artists, fans and radio stations to raise money through radiothons and public service announcements, as well as a variety of special events. We count on the loyal listeners who call in and make those pledges because it wouldn't be possible without them.

Just about everyone involved in country music has contributed to the Country Cares program. It is unprecedented for an entire industry to unite around one cause in such a powerful and lasting way as country music has done for St. Jude. The money they've raised makes miracles happen every day.

For me, it has always been about saving children with life-threatening diseases, and the country music industry has embraced that same cause. I am so thankful that St. Jude came into my life. Helping the kids at St. Jude is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.