Susan Cathcart named ALSAC Volunteer of the Year


Volunteer of the Year: Susan Cathcart

Susan Cathcart (center) was presented the Volunteer
of the Year Award by Marlo and Tony Thomas during the
Thomas Family Brunch segment of the ALSAC Convention.

 

Every year, Susan and Fred Cathcart invite a few friends over in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to watch the Super Bowl, eat good food and help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital fight childhood cancer.

And in 12 years, the Cathcarts have raised more than $875,000 for St. Jude. The event is Susan and her husband's way of giving back to the hospital where their daughter, Donna, was treated in 1993 for a brain tumor. St. Jude did everything it could to save Donna, Susan says, but the little girl lost her battle in November of that same year.

"We couldn't not give back because (St. Jude) had treated us so well and had done so much to save her life," Susan says. "After she passed away in November, we had to find a way to give back."

It was this determined spirit that garnered Susan recognition as the 2005 St. Jude Volunteer of the Year. "I was very, very honored by it," Susan says. "I know there are so many deserving people out there, so many people that work so hard for St. Jude every day—behind the scenes—that get no recognition for it. It was a great honor for me."

Susan is quick to give credit for the Super Bowl event's success to her husband as well as the dedicated committee members who help coordinate the St. Jude Super Bowl S'travaganza. But that is just the beginning of what Susan does for St. Jude.

In addition to her duties at the S'travaganza, Susan also helps organize the Country Cares radiothon in Jonesboro at station KFIN with Liberty Bank of Arkansas providing the volunteers to answer the phones. She assists as needed in the Math-A-Thon programs held at Jonesboro Elementary schools, sharing her story to inspire teachers and collecting money. And this October, Susan is spearheading a campaign to get local stores involved in the St. Jude Halloween pinup program. "We've never had that in Jonesboro and we don't really have a fall St. Jude fund-raiser," she says.

The opportunity to give back to the hospital has not only benefited the hospital. It has benefited Susan and her husband, as well. "We were lucky the hospital was there when we needed it," she says. "We are just thrilled to have the opportunity to give back. It is very comforting for us that we can at least give back a little bit of what they gave to us. And it's helped us a lot."

Her goal, if she had to set one, would be to raise enough money to operate the hospital for a single day, which is more than $1 million. And more than likely, she, her husband and the volunteers that put on the Super Bowl S'travaganza will reach that mark with next year's event. But that will not be when Susan and her husband stop "giving back" to St. Jude.

"We haven't cured the kids yet," Susan says. "When we cure all the kids, that will be our goal."

 

July 2005