In the 1950s, when Danny Thomas first began assembling the team that would raise the funds and awareness needed to build and then operate St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, he called upon the savviest in the business world to help realize his dream. But he also called on his friends in the entertainment world, including a young Elvis Presley, who had recently recorded and released the song “That’s Alright Mama,” turning the world on its ear.
Danny’s mission was to turn the medical world on its ear, taking on the fight against cancer and other diseases that threatened the lives of children. And those early supporters from Hollywood would be joined in the following decades by a growing host of celebrities, including musicians from Randy Owen of ALABAMA, who was instrumental in the start of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, which has raised over $700 million in 28 years, to today’s stars of pop, gospel and rock.
Music Gives for St. Jude Kids was started seven years ago by Danny’s grandson, musician Jason Thomas Gordon. Since then, the initiative has raised more than $1.8 million, including nearly $425,000 in donations from multi-platinum-selling rock band Goo Goo Dolls.
St. Jude supporters the Goo Goo Dolls tour the Teen Art Gallery on a visit to St. Jude. The band has raised nearly $425,000 for St. Jude.
This month saw the launch of the first-ever Music Gives to St. Jude Kids Day. On August 4, bands, fans and artists from across the country showed their support for St. Jude by hosting concerts, making donations and sharing our lifesaving message through social media. We are so very grateful to all the musicians who supported St. Jude for this event, including Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, Alabama Shakes and Jason Isbell, as well as our devoted St. Jude partner, concert producer Red Frog Events.
Additionally, St. Jude partner eBay worked with us on the inaugural Music Gives to St. Jude Kids auction, giving fans the opportunity to bid on autographed instruments and memorabilia from such favorites as Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper, Blink 182 and Weezer.
Leading up to this special day, we asked musical artists, St. Jude patients and their families, and music fans everywhere to promote the healing power of music on social media with the hashtag #MusicGivesMe _____. And your posts about what music gives you have been so inspiring: hope, happiness, even “everything.”
Memphis musicians perform at a benefit for St. Jude Children's Resarch Hospital in January 2016.
Emily is 17 years old and was diagnosed with the blood cancer acute promyelocitic leukemia. She says, “Music has been my everything my whole life. It’s always been something that, when I’m feeling down, I can sing with my sister, and it just gives me a feeling that everything is gonna be okay.”
Well, seeing the power of music gives me joy. I walk the hallways of St. Jude and see patients and siblings and their families with headphones on, lost in a world of their own and with a soundtrack to match. And when artists visit the campus, it is magical to watch our patients spontaneously dance and sing along.
“It gives me a sense of home,” Emily says.
It’s not too late to be part of the conversation; go to stjude.org/musicgives and get involved.
Our partner artists use their voices to lift us all up day-in and day-out, and we’re grateful to them for lending their voices to our mission. But when you add your voices as well, we all remember the uniting and healing power of music for the kids at St. Jude and people everywhere. And thank you for sharing what music gives you, and for your continued support of the kids of St. Jude.