Born and raised in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, Libby Ennenga vividly remembers seeing coverage on local TV and in the newspaper of the dream and realization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She recalls one day even asking her mom if she would ever have to go there. Her mom said she hoped not.
Today, St. Jude is an integral part of Libby’s life. As St. Jude Partners In Hope, she and her husband Larry have made monthly donations for 24 years to support the St. Jude mission.
“The very young and the very old deserve a protected place in society,” Larry said. “We felt St. Jude does more than an honorable job of doing that.”
Supporting their church and local missions has been a priority of the Ennengas for decades. Donating to St. Jude also was a natural, given that Libby grew up listening to founder Danny Thomas’ calls for support.
So in 1992, the Ennengas became Partners In Hope with a $50 a month pledge. Over the years, the Ennengas have faithfully kept their monthly commitments and made additional financial gifts when possible. To date, their total support through the Partners In Hope program is about $36,000. A few years ago Larry and Libby made another commitment and put St. Jude in their will.
The Cordova, Tennessee, couple was recognized by St. Jude for their many years of giving earlier this year with the St. Jude Partners In Hope Award. It's because of generous supporters, like the Ennengas, 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.
And becoming Partners In Hope was just the start for the Ennengas. After returning to the Memphis area in 1995, they began attending St. Jude scientific symposiums for supporters to learn about cures and treatments at the hospital, donated platelets at the St. Jude Blood Donor Center, enjoyed night outs at St. Jude galas, connected with other supporters at donor luncheons and joined friends and family at the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer.
For the Ennengas, St. Jude has become not just a place to support financially, but a mission they have personally embraced.
“Danny began St. Jude in good faith,” Libby said. “It was a prayerful thing between him and God. It was a promise, and whether or not he became famous, he was going to fulfill that promise.”