One of the great joys of my work is to learn, nearly every day, about the innovative ways our supporters raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Whether it is video gamers hosting game-a-thons through our St. Jude PLAY LIVE program, entire communities like Minden, La., and Peoria, Ill., uniting in numerous ways to defeat childhood cancer, or radio stations energizing their listeners to support the kids of St. Jude, these efforts inspire us all. We are deeply grateful for how people connect their passions with our lifesaving mission and enable St. Jude to continue leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Just a few weeks ago, NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen continued his support in an annual tradition that engages football fans with St. Jude in a unique way. At the NFL Draft Scouting Combine, Rich participates in its signature event by running the 40-yard dash in the suit and tie he wears on the air.
This year, Rich again made St. Jude the beneficiary of his #RunRichRun tradition, and fans from all over the country not only responded with donations, but generated conversations by sending videos of themselves running for St. Jude in their work clothes.
During last month’s Super Bowl Week in Houston, it was a distinct honor to present Rich with the Pat Summerall Award at our annual Legends for Charity dinner, in recognition of his broadcast achievements and dedication to St. Jude. Some of the biggest names in sports media gather every year for this wonderful event, but the voice that most galvanized supporters belonged to St. Jude patient Austin, who appears well on his way to fulfilling his own dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.
Another remarkable young man who has shared his cancer journey over the last few years with many thousands of supporters is Adam, and I could not be more pleased to tell you about a special party St. Jude recently held for him.
Adam has been so gracious to tell his story at many St. Jude events, saying that he speaks for fellow patients who are too young or weakened by disease to speak for themselves.
Adam also has served as one of the inspirational voices for our St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in September, and the fundraising team he leads, Adam's Army, has now raised $350,000, through that event and many others.
At the end of February, friends, family and St. Jude staff joined Adam for a moment he and his parents prayed would happen — an end of chemotherapy party to celebrate the completion of his treatment.
Because of an allergic reaction to the most common drug used for his leukemia, Adam required special medicine that cost millions of dollars. But St. Jude doctors never hesitated, because the donations of our generous supporters allow them to do whatever it takes to save a child. Adam is now cancer free and in college.
That public support also helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about his helping their child get better.
I thank each and every one of you for your commitment and dedication to St. Jude, and your ongoing support, through events big and small, to further our incredible mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®