Todd Schutte doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty for a good cause. For that matter, he has no problem getting his face, arms, torso and legs dirty as well.
As a St. Jude Warrior Dash participant, he eagerly runs, jumps and crawls through the mud, and it’s all to raise money and support the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Schutte participated in his first Warrior Dash in 2012 with his sons, and has since participated in events in his hometown of Denver and in North Carolina. He also introduced Warrior Dash as a workplace team-building event for his employer, Bona, a company that makes hardwood floor products, which has chosen St. Jude as its three-year charity.
The 51-year-old has been a St. Jude donor for 20 years and last September he was the biggest fundraiser in Colorado for Warrior Dash, raising $2,600 on his own. He did so through posts on Facebook and direct emails, personalizing them with photos from the previous year’s competition. His fundraising efforts were recognized with a trip to Memphis to visit St. Jude.
“It gave me such a deeper understanding and a much better feel for what the program is all about,” he said of his visit. "I was really struck by how kid-centric everything is designed to be, from the registration desks to Kay Kafe and the meaning behind everyone eating together because everyone’s on the same team. And a real key for me was that St. Jude shares their research, because they believe they can get to cures faster by sharing what they find with everybody. I thought that was really awesome.”
Schutte was also impressed with the story of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, who, as a young and struggling entertainer, prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of lost causes, by asking "show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine." Founding St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was how Thomas made good on that promise, after becoming a successful entertainer. It’s the backstory to the mission that Schutte shares with future Warrior Dash participants at Bona, which last year raised just over $12,000 for St. Jude.
Schutte is ready to fight dirty against childhood cancer again this September when his Warrior Dash goal is to double the amount he raised last year for St. Jude.