Mike Burger was on Christmas break from his teaching job when Marlo Thomas appeared on his TV in an advertisement for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As soon as the ad was over he signed up as a St. Jude Partner In Hope, donating $19 per month. That was in 2001.
He has donated faithfully every month since then, but his donation has changed a bit. Today, Mike, age 67, donates $150 per month in the monthly donor program of more than 750,000 donors that raised nearly $189 million last year for St. Jude. In July, he was recognized as the 2015 Partner In Hope of the Year.
He called the award the greatest honor of his life, aside from being a father and grandfather. He is also using the honor as motivation to do more for St. Jude.
“If I can spread the word and make more people aware of what goes on at St. Jude, maybe I can start to live up to that honor,” Mike said.
Now retired from teaching students with learning disabilities and hearing impairments, Mike has made 10 visits to St. Jude and frequently brings friends along to introduce them to the St. Jude mission. On every visit, he tries to donate blood or platelets at the St. Jude Blood Donor Center, and he has purchased a brick that is dedicated to his parents on the Pathway to Hope. Friends who accompanied him on a recent visit donated an iPad to the hospital, which is now being used by Chaplain Services.
“I’m just a drop in the ocean, but I want to make my little drop ripple as far as possible,” he said.