Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said of St. Jude supporters, “Those who work for the good are as those who do the good.”
Summertime is awards season at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, and over the past two months, we’ve had the privilege of honoring some of the individuals and companies who work tirelessly for the good.
These ceremonies are some of my favorite events all year, as they bring together longtime corporate partners such as AutoZone (St. Jude Corporate Partner of the Year) and Domino’s (St. Jude Corporate Pioneer of the Year) with dedicated volunteers like Nina Buschemi.
Nina was honored as St. Jude Hero of the Year for participating in the St. Jude Walk/Run in her hometown of New York City, the St. Jude Rock 'N' Roll Nashville 5K and the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend®. Nina is 82 years old. She began participating in St. Jude events, which includes volunteering at fitness events around the country, after retiring as an early childhood educator for 53 years.
Nina works for the good so St. Jude doctors and researchers can focus their energy on doing the good Danny Thomas set in motion in the 1950s — Finding cures. Saving children.® That she takes the time from her days, from her well-deserved retirement, to help kids she may never even meet means so much to all of us at ALSAC and St. Jude.
Likewise with our corporate partners because their contributions are not as simple as a check written by a CEO. They involve customers and employees and vendors. Varsity Brands (Spirit of St. Jude Award) launched their first payroll giving campaign across all business units last year and more than $50,000 was pledged. International Paper/Hammermill (St. Jude Organizational Support Award) fielded a marathon team — Hammermill Heroes — and the more than 200 runners raised nearly $74,000.
St. Jude patients are remarkably resilient. I believe that resilience, in part, comes from their knowing supporters like you, all across the country — from Miami to Seattle, from Boston to San Diego — are running their race with them.
Cities like Seattle are beacons of light for kids, not just from that region, like Tiara, but from around the world. During my weekend there for the St. Jude Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon, I found the people to be caring, endearing and tenacious when speaking about St. Jude. Together, we know the children of the world are counting on us.
The night of the awards ceremony, Nina was embraced by Susan and Fred Cathcart (St. Jude Volunteers of the Year). The Cathcarts’ daughter was a St. Jude patient and passed away at the age of 9. To honor her memory, they started St. Jude S’travaganza and, over 26 years, have raised more than $5 million for St. Jude.
But on that night, it wasn’t only about the amount of funds raised, it was about connections. We celebrated the unity the St. Jude mission can foster across communities and around the world.
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a retired schoolteacher, your impact makes the work of saving kids’ lives around the world possible. I thank you for that and for all you do.
Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.
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