Sextus Shannon lives by a motto: “If I can help somebody as I pass along through this world, then my living won’t be in vain.”
One of the ways he chooses to help is to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
For 26 years, Shannon has coordinated the annual Plantersville Bike-A-Thon in his hometown of Plantersville, Mississippi. In May, the town of 1,200 residents raised $20,048 for St. Jude through the event’s activities. There were about 100 riders and walkers along the one-and-a-half mile course, and roughly 400 supporters who turned out to enjoy a festival-like atmosphere that included music, food and bake sales.
Those parents don’t have to worry about that part of the burden [medical bills]. All they have to worry about is their children. It just touches my heart.
Since its inception, the Plantersville Bike-A-Thon has raised more than $100,000 for St. Jude.
“It has gone on so long that now everyone looks forward to it,” said Shannon, 63, who has spent his entire life in the small community. “It’s pretty much all that happens in Plantersville.”
Shannon credits his upbringing in a home with five siblings and four cousins for learning the importance of sharing and giving back to others.
His commitment to St. Jude stems from the fact that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
“Those parents don’t have to worry about that part of the burden [medical bills],” Shannon said. “All they have to worry about is their children. It just touches my heart.”
Shannon emphasizes the bike-a-thon’s success is a true community effort, saying he could not coordinate the event by himself.
“I don’t take credit for anything,” he said. “I thank God that he gave me the heart and the mind to reach out to help. That’s what we are here for. We all need to help somebody.”