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Drumming up hope

Read the fun and creative ways one radio station raised nearly $840,000 for St. Jude.

From left to right: Sotirios Gatsiopolous, drummer of Stumble Monkey; Tim Elliot, Drummer of the Sean Curtis Band; Don Stahl, drummer of The Symbols; and Brandon Barrios, owner of Music Go Round in Fort Collins

For radio DJ Shawn Patrick, an annual trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is indescribable.

“I can’t come up with the words to say what the experience is like, because it is so different than everything else I have experienced,” Patrick said. “I can’t explain it. It is such a special place.”

Patrick, 29, is on air at KXBG Big 97.9 in Loveland, Colorado, and has visited St. Jude the past two years during the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids® seminar, when hundreds of radio partners travel to Memphis, Tennessee, to learn about the lifesaving mission of St. JudeFinding cures. Saving children

While Patrick has worked at Big 97.9 for only two years, the station’s support of St. Jude began in 1999. Since then, the station and its listeners have raised nearly $840,000 through Country Cares radiothons and other fundraising events to help ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

“We’re one of the smaller markets that does the radiothon that successfully,” Patrick said. “And that just shows the support that northern Colorado has for St. Jude.”

Patrick and Big 97.9 have created other fun events to support St. Jude through their radiothon as well, including a 72-hour drumming event called Drumming Up Hope, a fishing event named Lures for Laney, and a 1980s-themed party. One of the station’s DJs also rode a Ferris wheel for 979 minutes over several days to raise funds.

Drum set from Drumming Up Hope event
Participants in the Drumming Up Hope event

Participants at the 2016 Drumming Up Hope event with Big 97.9.

“I truly feel deep in my heart that St. Jude will be the place that someday says childhood cancer is beatable, and that they are the place that will cure childhood cancer,” Patrick said. “I believe that wholeheartedly after walking through there, hearing the stories, and seeing that there is hope.”

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90%, and won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

You, too, can help give hope to kids who are fighting life-threatening illnesses.

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