A volunteer for life

2017 Volunteer of the Year Award winner Eddie Ramos has devoted countless hours to continuing the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

 

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas once said, “Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others.”

By that measure, some of the most successful people are the thousands of volunteers around the country who take time away from career and family to devote themselves to the kids of St. Jude.

One such volunteer is Eddie Ramos, 56, of the New York City office of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. When he lost his mother in 1998 to breast and pancreatic cancer, he says he promised he would do charity work in her honor.

Eddie Ramos at a Dinners Gala Golf event

Backing up that promise is a strong work ethic honed since the age of 7, when Eddie came to New York from Puerto Rico. His father was superintendent of a building, and a tenant with two dachshunds hired Eddie to walk them for $5 per week. As an adult, Eddie put that work ethic to use volunteering for a number of charities. When a fortuitous meeting with a St. Jude representative led him to the New York offices of ALSAC, Eddie found a home.

One of the first things he did was to help ALSAC move from one office to another. “I helped them pack, I helped them unpack, and I never left.” That was 16 years ago.

I didn’t really know a lot about St. Jude, but I saw the commercials. Once I got involved and coming into the office more, I realized it’s a really good organization.
Eddie Ramos

 

He helps the ALSAC event teams set up and break down events, saying, “I’m usually the first there and the last to leave.” He helps around the office by answering phones and sorting mail, and the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer event is his favorite event for which to volunteer.

“Eddie is a real superhero for the kids of St. Jude,” said Fatima Hameed, volunteer coordinator for the New York City office of ALSAC. “He helps selflessly with the utmost kindness, dedication and passion for the kids. He has supported us in every way possible, and we love him.”

Eddie visited St. Jude in 2011 with the Promesa y Esperanza® radio program that he’s worked with since the New York program began.

“It totally changes your whole view of what St. Jude is,” he said about that visit. “There’s no sadness, even though kids are suffering; it’s a happy place with the way the walls are painted.”

Eddie Ramon at a St. Jude event in New York.

Eddie Ramos (left) at a St. Jude event in New York.

Two years later, he returned to Memphis for a different reason — to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award. Eddie’s dedication today is as strong as it was then, and his work ethic, now so devoted to St. Jude, remains as it was when, as a 7-year-old, he first walked those dogs around the block.

“I have a lot of awards I’ve gotten in the past,” Eddie said. “But the one I’m most appreciative of, and the one that I love the most, is that St. Jude Volunteer of the Year Award I got.”

 

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