A magical partner for St. Jude

Carnival names a St. Jude survivor as godmother to its newest cruise ship and pledges $3 million to support the hospital’s work.

by Amanda McGee Robbins

former patient Lindsey Wilkerson

When the Carnival Magic cruise ship set sail on her inaugural voyage May 1, the ship carried some special St. Jude VIPs—former patient Lindsey Wilkerson and her family.

To honor the patients and the mission of St. Jude, Carnival chose Wilkerson to be godmother of the new ship. She officially named the Carnival Magic during a shipboard ceremony prior to its first voyage from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain.

“Lindsey embodies the spirit of the tremendously talented, compassionate and dedicated individuals at St. Jude who are true heroes in every sense of the word. Lindsey’s selection as godmother is a tribute to the special children of St. Jude, as well as an acknowledgement of the groundbreaking efforts the organization has made in the fight against childhood cancer,” says Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

Wilkerson’s selection continues a dedicated partnership with Carnival that began last year when the cruise line launched its Care to Play: Carnival for St. Jude Kids program. Guests aboard all ships in Carnival’s fleet can participate in fun activities to help raise awareness and funds for St. Jude and the fight against catastrophic childhood diseases.

Carnival made a $50,000 donation to St. Jude in Wilkerson’s honor during the naming ceremony and has set a goal to raise $3 million in three years for St. Jude through Care to Play.

“On behalf of all of the children of St. Jude, I’m so honored to serve as godmother to the beautiful Carnival Magic and celebrate this exciting opportunity,” Wilkerson says. “I am alive today because of the world-class research and treatment at St. Jude. The generous support of Carnival and their guests will help St. Jude continue to provide hope to children stricken with catastrophic illnesses.”

Wilkerson was 10 when doctors discovered that she had cancer. Her treatment was successful, and she has continued to inspire others with her story of hope. In 2004, she began working for ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude, supporting volunteers across the country as a volunteer specialist. She also serves as a tour guide at the hospital, as president of the St. Jude Women’s Club and as a member of the hospital’s Family Advisory Council.

“Carnival has been very creative in developing entertaining fundraising opportunities for guests through its Care to Play program,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC. “We were so excited when we heard that they selected as godmother of the ship one of our former patients, Lindsey, whose story touched not only our friends at Carnival, but so many others who have had the pleasure of meeting her. She is a true inspiration to us all.”

Learn more about the partnership between Carnival and St. Jude and donate to the Care to Play program at www.carnival.com/stjude.

Promise magazine, Summer 2011

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