St. Jude Heroes come in all sizes

    St. Jude patient Ingram and sisters
    When St. Jude patient Ingram was diagnosed with a
    rare brain tumor, his big sisters sprang into action.

    Two years ago, Craig made up nicknames for his three children based on their most notable traits. The oldest became Madison the Compassionate for her overwhelming care and concern for others. The middle sister became Lindsey the Artisan for her great love and talent for art. And the baby of the family became Ingram the Conqueror for his fascination with building towers and knocking them down.

    Each child has lived up to their nickname as the family has faced their greatest challenge: Ingram’s diagnosis in April 2012 with anaplastic ependymoma, a rare and aggressive brain tumor. He was just 3 years old.

    In response to this challenge, Ingram’s sisters set the incredible goal of raising $100,000 as St. Jude Heroes running the Memphis Grizzlies House 5K this past December. The 5K is part of the annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, where many of the race's participants choose to run as St. Jude Heroes. St. Jude Heroes are race participants who choose to run in an endurance event and raise funds for St. Jude in addition to running the race.

    Madison, 10, and Lindsey, 8, spent all summer going from business to business telling people about the work of St. Jude and the story of their little brother. They met with individuals, groups, and even management teams of global corporations.

    Together, the girls raised more than $222,000. They were recognized the night before the event with the Heroes Among Us Award.

    "I'm glad you all know now what I’ve known for a long time: I live with heroes," Craig told the crowd as he recognized his wife, Ashley, and each of their children for their courage in the face of hardship. “Ingram is a brave, strong little man. He’s my hero, and I’m confident he will conquer ependymoma."

    As he recounted the grief he has felt during Ingram’s grueling treatment, Craig said he has learned why race participants who raise money for St. Jude are called St. Jude Heroes.

    "You are heroes to me, to my family, to Ingram, to everybody who ever hears, 'Your child has cancer',’" he said. "You are our heroes because you have given our son a better chance."

    The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend race has grown from 2,800 registrants in its first year to more than 18,500 registrants in 2012. Nearly 7,100 people ran as St. Jude Heroes in 2012.

    Community support for Madison and Lindsey was widespread, and included friends and family who did everything from selling jewelry to shaving their heads to help raise funds. "A lot of people have helped us do this," Craig said.

    Madison and Lindsey also made a video to raise support, which you can watch below. You too can be a hero for families like Ingram’s. Join Madison and Lindsey and run as a St. Jude Hero in an endurance event near you.

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