A combination of love of heritage, a passion for Corvettes and beating cancer led Jesse Geiger to what he says is his second calling: fundraising for St. Jude.
Geiger, 57, started Corvettes 4 St. Jude in 2003 after completing treatment for Ewing sarcoma — a bone cancer predominantly found in children between ages 10 and 20. In the 13 years since, Corvettes 4 St. Jude has raised more than $1 million for the hospital through the support of members of corvetteforum.com, and by auctioning donated Corvette parts, via the online forum, to benefit St. Jude.
Corvettes 4 St. Jude is part of Cruisin’ for St. Jude, a volunteer-led, nationwide fundraising program for motor sports enthusiasts, who join together to conduct leisure rides, shows and other activities to raise funds for St. Jude.
Each October, Geiger, who lives in Florida, and fellow Corvette enthusiasts drive their cars to St. Jude to present a check from the year’s fundraising; in 2015 it was a record $149,555. During the event, St. Jude patients are invited to sit in the Corvettes and listen to the revving of their engines.
“That’s one of the greatest parts,” said Geiger, who purchased his first Corvette in 1997. “You can’t really describe the pleasure you get from seeing the kids get a break like that from their treatment.”
Geiger said his mother was Lebanese, like St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, and a long-time St. Jude supporter. He followed in her footsteps, donating to St. Jude through various fundraisers before starting Corvettes 4 St. Jude, and he still keeps a cancelled check from one of her donations to St. Jude on his desk.
Geiger worked in law enforcement for 23 years, but had to retire after going through cancer treatment.
“When I couldn’t do that anymore, I felt like God gave me this as my second calling,” he said. “My plan is as long as I can, I will continue to raise funds for St. Jude.”