Un-bearably cute: In the past 15 years, the sale of huggable animals has helped Signet Jewelers raise $66 million for St. Jude.

St. Jude Thanks and Giving: Holidays with Heart

St. Jude celebrates 15 years of Thanks and Giving.

By Grace Korzekwa

With the creation of their first plush, named Cubby, longtime partner Signet Jewelers gave customers a reason to remember St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during the holiday season.

Through 15 years of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign, Cubby’s family of adorable plush has grown. There are Aiden and Kip and Travis and many more — two new additions each year, each tested for huggability. These bears and puppies have helped Signet celebrate special moments with its customers and raise $66 million for St. Jude since the partnership began.

 “Signet is honored to support the work of St. Jude through its Thanks and Giving campaign,” said Gina Drosos, CEO of Signet Jewelers, parent company of Kay Jewelers ®, Jared The Galeria of Jewelry ®, Zales ® and Piercing Pagoda ®. “Since joining the Thanks and Giving campaign when it began 15 years ago, Signet team members across the country have felt a tremendous sense of pride each year toward supporting such a worthy cause around the holidays.”

Just as the winter holidays wouldn’t be complete without the latest holiday plush, St. Jude Thanks and Giving wouldn’t work without its corporate partners.

“When Tony, Terre and I came up with the idea for Thanks and Giving, we wanted to provide America’s most beloved companies and their customers with an easy way to support the children of St. Jude,” says Marlo Thomas, the hospital’s national outreach director. “Year after year, our partners continue to amaze us with their tireless commitment to the lifesaving mission of St. Jude. As a result of their support, we are able to stay dedicated to our father’s founding promise that ‘no child should die in the dawn of life.’ There’s more work to be done, and we won’t stop until no child dies of cancer.”

Patient tosses pizza dough

Raising dough

St. Jude patient Isabelle Richard tosses pizza dough, with advice from Domino’s employees.

Domino’s chooses St. Jude again

After their first campaign with St. Jude in 2004, Domino’s franchisees voted to make the hospital their national charity of choice. Since then, Domino’s has integrated St. Jude into every step of its growth as a business, including the design of its pizza boxes. Tim McIntyre, Domino’s executive vice president of Communications, Legislative Affairs and Investor Relations, fostered the company’s relationship with St. Jude from Day One. He even ran a half marathon for St. Jude.

Thanks and Giving was an incredible, inspirational idea, and it captured our imaginations here at Domino’s — even if we didn’t quite know how to approach it at first,” McIntyre says. “We went from raising just over $350,000 the first year to $9 million last year. It’s rewarding for all of us to be part of something greater than ourselves.”

Patient Ben and brother Joshua in front of Paddington 2 poster

2 fun

Ben Krizhanovskiy (left) and his brother Joshua arrive for the premiere of Paddington 2.

From cash register to big screens

Holiday shoppers at Marshalls have supported the hospital for 15 years, one cash register add-on at a time. Through St. Jude Thanks and Giving, the retailer has raised more than $11 million for the hospital since 2004.

Regal Entertainment Group, the second-largest theater chain in the country, has used its 7,000-plus screens to bring a special St. Jude message to moviegoers every holiday season for 15 years. And there’s another special gift Regal gives the children of St. Jude: an exclusive movie screening. Recently, patients walked a red carpet at St. Jude to watch the premiere of Paddington 2, complete with popcorn and candy, ahead of the theatrical release.

Marlo Thomas poses with patients Nikalis and Bridget

Thanks for giving

Marlo Thomas, national outreach director, celebrates St. Jude Thanks and Giving with Nikalis Kelly (left) and Bridget Korn.

More love for St. Jude

These committed companies are among more than 60 brands that are part of St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign this year, including Best Buy, Kmart, HomeGoods, Ann Taylor, Williams Sonoma, Chili’s, AutoZone, New York & Company and many more.

In addition to generous corporate partners, St. Jude Thanks and Giving features celebrities who donate their time and voices to share the hospital’s mission. This year, watch for ads that include Jennifer Aniston, Luis Fonsi, Jon Hamm, Michael Strahan and Sofía Vergara, who join Marlo Thomas alongside St. Jude patients.

From Promise, Autumn 2018

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