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Movement of support

Thousands of supporters made the lifesaving mission of St. Jude a reality during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and ALSAC President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac, Jr. reflects on their generosity.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month creates a remarkable wave of activity across the U.S. in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital throughout September.

In 65 cities, across 31 states and the District of Columbia, more than 41,000 of our incredible supporters raised funds and tremendous awareness by participating in St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer events.

They trained together. They encouraged one another. And they bonded in support of our mission as they walked and ran elbow-to-elbow.

Participants at the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in Chicago

Participants at the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in Chicago

I hear a lot of heartwarming, optimistic stories from these events from around the country every year. These events tend to surface the best in us. But no story touches me more than those of St. Jude patient families that participate as walkers and runners or as volunteers.

These events are for them, yet so many have taken ownership and use them as a way to fundraise, support and raise awareness by sharing their stories.

Participants like Bobby from New Hampshire who is captain of team PeaceLoveAlanna. This September marked his fifth year of involvement; this year’s fundraising goal, $75,000. Bobby organized the team in honor of his daughter, Alanna, who lost her battle with bone cancer at the age of 13. Bobby said St. Jude “gave her hope when there was none.” 

ccam walk run

Bobby, and supporters like him, give us hope as well. Hope there will be a day when no child dies in the dawn of life as our founder, Danny Thomas, boldly dreamed. Bobby and his 30-member team will help get us there. Events like the St. Jude Walk/Run will help get us there.

So will the upcoming St. Jude Thanks & Giving program, which begins in November, and the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend the month after. These initiatives help us raise the necessary funds and awareness for St. Jude to continue its groundbreaking work.

They ensure no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for anything because, at St. Jude, we believe all parents should worry about is helping their child live.

ccam walk run supporters

But these events also draw us closer in support of a singular mission regardless of where we live. Portland, Ore., is more than 2,200 miles away from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hardly “local” by conventional standards.

But for Courtney and Jason, whose 10-year-old daughter, Macey, underwent treatment at the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center to treat her brain tumor, St. Jude is home. As a way to say thank you, the couple launched the Portland St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer this month.

St. Jude patient Macey

St. Jude patient Macey

Here in Memphis, mothers of patients have taken up the banner and coordinated other patient moms to volunteer in support of the Walk/Run.

This year’s committee chair, Jenny, said of her involvement, “It was a hole I've been looking to fill for a long time. When a hospital such as St. Jude has given you your daughter back, continues to save others and will not stop until they find a cure, this is just a mission that you have to be a part of.”

Thank you, Jenny, from the bottom of my heart.

And thank you to Bobby, Courtney and Jason, and to all patient families and supporters across the country for what you’ve done this September, and throughout the year, to help end childhood cancer. Together.

Starting line at St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in Memphis

Starting line at St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in Memphis


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