The sounds of legacy

 
 

ALSAC President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr. reflects on the 30-year history of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids®, and the astonishing $800 million its raised along the way with the help of country music stars like Randy Owen.

 
 
 

In 1989, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas asked country music legend Randy Owen for help. While great strides had been made in the treatment of childhood cancer, kids continued to die and treatments, when successful, left kids with life-long medical problems. Danny looked to the country music community to rally around the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

Randy delivered.

Country music legend Randy Owen visiting with a patient in 2015

Country music legend Randy Owen visiting with a St. Jude patient in 2015.

Over the span of those 30 years, Country Cares for St. Jude Kids has raised more than $800 million, and the awareness raised among fans everywhere is immeasurable.

During the weekend of Jan. 24 – 27, 2019, we welcome our country music partners, including Randy, back home to St. Jude for the annual Country Cares Seminar. It’s a chance for musicians and radio and industry representatives to meet with patients, families and staff to reconnect with our mission.

It’s also a chance for us to thank them for their steadfast dedication and compassion.

 
 
Country music artist Darius Rucker (left), with Randy Owen and ALSAC President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr. at the 2017 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Seminar

Country music artist Darius Rucker (left), with Randy Owen and ALSAC President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr., at the 2017 Country Cares Seminar.

It all goes back to the helping hand from Randy and the entire country music family.

But so much of what St. Jude has been able to accomplish over the years — raising the overall childhood cancer rate from 20% to 80%, and the survival rates of acute lymphoblastic leukemia from 4% to 94% — has been done because of people asking for, and offering, help.

Danny considered himself a “proud beggar” and asked his friends and colleagues to help him realize his dream, and we continue in that tradition, turning to our donors and volunteers to help raise the funds and awareness necessary for the lifesaving work being done by our researchers and doctors.

 
 
Country artists pose for a group photo with St. Jude patients during the Country Cares Seminar for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

Country artists pose for a group photo with St. Jude patients during the 2018 Country Cares Seminar.

Just as musicians tell a story through song, our radio partners take the St. Jude story to millions.

Many of our regular monthly donors — our St. Jude Partners In Hope — come to us through Country Cares radiothons, an annual estimated $35 million event with more than 200 stations across the country.

Over the years, these stations have shared thousands of St. Jude stories and as we begin 2019, I ask that you consider becoming a Partner In Hope — and becoming a part of the St. Jude story.

 
 
Country music star and St. Jude supporter Ashley McBryde

Country music star and St. Jude supporter Ashley McBryde

By doing so, you’ll also become an integral part of the future of St. Jude, one that promises to help raise the survival rates of the six most common forms of childhood cancer to 60% around the world by 2030 through St. Jude Global. It’s the sort of world-changing initiative that wouldn’t be possible without our Partners in Hope and our good friends and supporters in country music.

Grammy-nominated country music star Ashley McBryde, a supporter of St. Jude, said, “Giving back is good for the soul.”

I couldn’t agree more. So I thank Ashley and her peers, and all of you who give of yourselves so selflessly and who are there to lend a hand. St. Jude would not be possible without you.

 
 

You, too, can make a difference for St. Jude kids.

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