Birdies for St. Jude

 

An Ohio teenager combined his favorite sport, his philanthropic spirit and his homework to raise nearly $17,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during his senior year.

Justin Perdue, 18, attends The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio, where every senior must create and complete a Senior Independent Project that takes a comprehensive look at a subject of interest to the student. Because he has grown up in a philanthropic family, Justin posed this question: Why do people donate to charity?

An avid golfer, Justin traveled to Memphis last summer to compete in the Bubba Conlee Golf Tournament and visited St. Jude with his mother, Phyllis Walsh Perdue. “When I read the plaque and saw that the mission was to help families that have children with cancer and not expect them to have to pay for it, that’s pretty incredible,” he said.

 

That visit inspired Justin to make St. Jude the beneficiary of his Senior Independent Project. He asked friends and family for pledges to St. Jude for each birdie he made during his senior golf season. Seventy-six people committed to donating and providing survey responses for his project. Their pledges ranged from $1 to $25 per birdie; Justin scored 47 birdies, totaling $16,900.

When I read the plaque and saw that the mission was to help families that have children with cancer and not expect them to have to pay for it, that’s pretty incredible.

Justin, student, 18 years old

“I was pretty shocked when I added it all up,” he said. “If you had told me I was going to get $17,000, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”

Justin is attending the FedEx St. Jude Classic and getting a full hospital tour.

And he is very excited about sharing the St. Jude story with his classmates through his senior project. “When they see it . . . they’ll know how special this organization is and just how incredible it is.”

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