Minnesota for St. Jude is a digital experience, showcasing how Minnesotans support the mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: Finding cures. Saving children.®
During this event you will learn more about how your fellow Minnesotans have furthered our lifesaving mission by reading their stories. You will also have the opportunity to get involved by donating, becoming a partner in hope and sharing our mission on your social networks.
Together, we are #MNforStJude.
Do you want to join our influencer network? Then fill out the interest form located in our influencer toolkit. Afterwards you can download any of the content on that page and use it to share your #MNforStJude stories on your social media accounts.
By partnering with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and sponsoring this event, you will align your company name with the strong, nationally recognized St. Jude mission and brand, and instill pride in your employees, consumers, vendors and company executives.
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The aim of this campaign is to inspire, and nothing inspires us more than when Minnesotans band together to support St. Jude.
Here, we are featuring five stories of fellow Minnesotans that have gone above and beyond to do their part in ending childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. These stories feature a diverse group of people all brought together by their pride in Minnesota and their passion for St. Jude.
"Family is everything" is a phrase that holds especially true within Hispanic communities. In this story, mother and Univision host, Fernanda Almeida, walks us through what St. Jude means to her, her children and the larger Minnesota Hispanic community.
Family is the one of the strongest cultural focuses in Hispanic communities. As Fernanda Almeida, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital supporter and on-air host for Univision Minnesota says, the bond between the Minnesota Hispanic community and St. Jude is all about family.
“Cancer doesn’t see race, color, languages or age. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither does St. Jude. Supporting St. Jude is a way for us all to become one and fight to end childhood cancer. Univision helps bring awareness to our Hispanic community so that they know that there is help for everyone.”
Univision has been a St. Jude partner since 1997, hosting an annual telethon each year to fundraise and raise awareness for the hospital.
“The Univision partnership with St. Jude is a great way to bring our community together. We are the bond between St. Jude and the local Hispanic community, sharing the mission and stories of hope.”
As Fernanda shares the stories of St. Jude patient families with fellow Minnesotans, she can’t help but put herself in their shoes.
“As a mother, I know the pain that we go through as parents. Even when your children have a cold, you want to be the one that is sick. My heart aches for the kids and families that are battling life-threatening diseases. That’s why I support St. Jude — they are the hospital that families can turn to in their toughest times.”
Her two children, Gerardo and Carolina, now 13 and 11, have grown up attending the Univision Minnesota St. Jude telethons and hearing St. Jude patient stories.
“The empathy that my kids experience because of St. Jude gives them strength and motivation to do better and help more. They see the patient stories and understand why it’s important to continue to share the mission of the hospital. We’re a team against cancer. I’m grateful for everything that St. Jude does in our local community and around the world.”
We all have people we admire. In the case of Brodie Wisniewski, it was Ryan Dungey. This admiration sparked a love for motorcross, as well as a love for the mission of St. Jude. Because of his two passions, Brodie has inspired his community to join his fundraising for St. Jude.
It all started with a school report. Brodie Wisniewski, a third grader at the time, gave a presentation on his idol, Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey. And at the center of his poster was the St. Jude logo, a cause that the motocross champion has been supporting for years.
After Brodie’s mom shared the photo on social media, it was only a matter of time until St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — and Ryan Dungey — reached out to thank Brodie for spreading awareness of the fight to end childhood cancer.
Brodie followed the footsteps of his idol and began to raise money for St. Jude, traveling from Illinois to Minnesota to join Ryan for his annual St. Jude ride event.
“We were at the event and Ryan walked around the corner. I was star struck,” said Brodie. “We went over and talked with Ryan, and we just hit it off. Now whenever we see each other, we talk and share advice on fundraising and racing.”
Since that first ride event benefiting St. Jude five years ago, Brodie has raised nearly $100,000 for the hospital.
“I think of fundraising for the St. Jude as a competition. There’s another rider — Glen McGuire — that also raises a lot. We battle to see who can raise more. I know I’ve got to beat him.”
When Brodie and Glen first met, Glen was the top fundraiser for the ride, with Brodie in second. Brodie confidently told Glen that next year he would beat him the following year to which Glen replied "Game on."
“Brodie is just an amazing young man,” said Glen. “I think about what I was doing when I was his age, and I promise you that I was not spending a ton of my time raising money for a great cause like St. Jude. I have so much respect and admiration for him.”
The next year, Glen and Brodie battled it out for the top fundraiser seat for the ride event.
“It was great competition,” Glen reflected. “One week I would be ahead and the next week I'd check the board and see that Brodie was back in front. A few days before my flight to Minnesota for the event, I checked the board, and I had a comfortable lead. The last thing I did before leaving for the airport was to check the board one last time. And there it was, somehow at the last minute he went roaring into the lead! He got me! And that's how it went for the next few years. I beat him that first year, but he beat me every year afterward”
Amidst the friendly competition, Brodie and Glen both stated that they really were on the same team with a goal of ending childhood cancer.
“The more we push each other to raise more money, the more we help the children” commented Glen. “And that's what it's all about.”
To achieve his leader board status, Brodie and his family fundraise with their community year-round to raise awareness and funds for the kids of St. Jude.
One way Brodie has encouraged all the kids at his school to get involved is by asking them to “bury the motorcycle” through penny wars. Brodie placed a toy motorcycle into a jar and asked his classmates to drop change in the jar covering the motorcycle with donations for St. Jude.
“Every penny counts. No matter what someone can give, it all matters. When you donate, that’s helping a St. Jude family, who doesn’t have to worry about hospital bills. They can focus on saving their kid’s life. Our donations make that possible.”
On that occasion, Brodie and his classmates raised over $500, one penny at a time.
“I like that I’m able to help out the kids of St. Jude. I wake up every day and do all sorts of average things. They wake up in the hospital. I’m grateful for what I have, and I love going to the St. Jude events. We get to meet people that are part of the St. Jude community and get to help spread awareness for the mission.”
Brodie’s parents, Angie and Joe, share Brodie’s passion for St. Jude and activate their employers and network of family and friends to continue to support Brodie’s commitment.
“It’s really cool to have my parents’ support. It shows that they care — and I knew that they would. If I was a patient at St. Jude, they’d want people to donate to help me.”
The family traveled to Memphis, home of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, last year to celebrate Christmas and Brodie’s birthday. Instead of toys, Brodie asked for donations to the hospital and purchased toys for the patients.
“Being at St. Jude was an eye-opener. Walking up to the hospital seeing what the money I have raised is doing, it gives me even more motivation. I can’t wait to one day tour the hospital.”
Brodie hopes to continue to follow in Ryan Dungey’s footsteps of one day going pro in motocross. Until then, he will continue to practice and share the story of St. Jude.
“A lot of the motocross community really cares about St. Jude. Never be afraid to ask for donations, especially if you are new to fundraising. Because every penny counts.”
It's impossible to understate the importance of community. Communities bring us together and grant us a shared purpose. This holds specially true for St. Jude volunteer Chad Johnson, who has been a long time member of the motorcross community in Minnesota and who has dedicated himself to working for St. Jude.
“You are capable of accomplishing more than you know. You have to believe.” – Ryan Dungey, Supercross Champion
With the rev of an engine, inspiration is shared across the motocross community. From kid riders to amateurs to professionals, it’s a community that supports one another and has grown to support the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
For Minnesota volunteer, Chad Johnson, this community is what has driven him to want to do more for the kids of St. Jude.
“This is where my St. Jude journey started, with the inspiration of one of my favorite riders, Ryan Dungey,” said Chad. “St. Jude has become something special and meaningful to me.”
After learning about the children’s hospital and research center, a cause that is dear to his motocross idol and Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey, Chad joined the fight against childhood cancer and participated in his first St. Jude event in 2012.
“Every year of Ryan Dungey’s St. Jude Minnesota Ride, there are a big group from the motocross and Minnesota cycling community that participate and raise money for the hospital,” said Chad. “The community that I met through the St. Jude events helped me get into cycling and find new ways to raise funds for St. Jude. The more I learned about St. Jude, I knew that it was a great mission that I needed to continue to support.”
At many of the fundraising events, Chad noted that often kids are among the top fundraisers for the hospital.
“It’s awesome to see kids supporting kids. I see the incredible amount that these kids are raising for the hospital, and it brings everything full circle. They want to help others – and I share their passion in wanted to go the extra mile to make a difference.”
Chad’s dedication to the mission of St. Jude was evident on day one.
“Chad’s ability and willingness to help St. Jude in every way that he can was super powerful from day one,” said Matthew O’Shea, Senior Regional Development Director at St. Jude. “As an organization, it’s volunteers like Chad, who really bring our mission to life in our communities and amplify our founder, Danny Thomas’, dream to that no child shall die in the dawn of life.”
Chad continues to volunteer and participate in numerous St. Jude and Ryan Dungey Foundation events across Minnesota. The Ryan Dungey Foundation, founded in 2021, is dedicated to creating opportunities for the next generation of children and supporting the fight against childhood cancer.
“I have the time to give back and it’s always been in me to give back and help others in need. I have met so many cool Minnesotans that also support St. Jude and really love the Minnesota for St. Jude community.”
If you've ever tried learning a new language, you'll know it's easy to have things get lost in translation. This is the challenge that Minnesota advisory council member, Boua Xiong, continues to face as she brings awareness of childhood cancer and other life—threatening diseases to the Asian communities in Minnesota.
In many Asian cultures, there is no word for cancer. Boua Xiong, St. Jude volunteer and Minnesota advisory council member, has been sharing her experience with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the Asian community in Minnesota, educating family and friends about an incredible resource that is helping families in Minnesota and globally.
“I’m part of a community that may not know about St. Jude, and I have the power to share the incredible mission of the hospital,” said Boua. “When I’m talking to my family or friends, I’m able to help educate them about childhood cancer, how St. Jude is fighting to save the lives of children, and that there is a wonderful organization that is there for you.”
Boua connected with St. Jude during her time at Best Buy, a national partner of St. Jude, and the Thanks and Giving campaign that takes place during the holiday season.
“Best Buy has a culture that loves St. Jude,” said Boua. “Working on the Thanks and Giving campaign, I learned about the hospital’s mission and saw firsthand the actual impact of every dollar donated. During the busiest time of year for Best Buy, the St. Jude partnership served as a bright spot. It’s not just about selling televisions. It’s helping make families’ holiday wishes come true.”
Boua now works in the med-tech community and “see[s] how health impacts everybody. Everyone touches health at some point.”
That includes the most vulnerable among us: children fighting cancer.
“It’s different to be on the [St. Jude] campus. I saw founder Danny Thomas’ footprints everywhere. Seeing patients who are going through the most devasting thing in their lives but because of the care they are receiving, I felt inspired. St. Jude is a place that carries a lot of hope.”
“I share the mission of St. Jude because it is a true impact — it’s the real deal.”
“When people ask me what I do in my spare time, it’s inspiring to tell people that I help St. Jude. The hospital has a global reach but an incredible local impact. It is 100% my duty to tell the [hospital’s impact] and I’m happy to share about St. Jude in any way that I can.”
“St. Jude has no boundaries. It helps families here in Minnesota and around the world. St. Jude needs your help. This is your opportunity to support an organization with no strings attached. One that is so important when families are going through the worst news in their lives. St Jude gives help.”
Fame, a Minneapolis-based brand experience agency has been supporting St. Jude for nearly 17 years, playing a key role in activating the hospital’s holiday fundraiser — St. Jude Thanks and Giving.
CEO, Lynne Robertson said: “It’s been so rewarding to watch how the Thanks and Giving campaign has grown over the years... being part of that galvanization of that campaign and watching it spread domestically and globally. It’s an honor to partner with the St. Jude team, who is so incredibly committed and enthusiastic about the work of the hospital.”
A passion for St. Jude is at the roots of the agency’s foundation.
“Our work and volunteerism with St. Jude has a huge impact on our culture. Any time that you are doing work for a higher good, it elevates your own personal achievement and our culture. There’s no greater purpose in life than to participate in something that has a lifesaving impact for individuals and families.”
Each year, the Fame team and their families participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run Twin Cities, taking place in September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“It’s a badge of honor for the Fame team to be in the top five St. Jude Walk/Run Twin Cities teams each year,” said Lynne. “As a mom, you can’t help but project how you might feel if you are ever in [the position of St. Jude families]. St. Jude is a huge part of our family commitment. We have been walking together for 17 years.”
Lynne serves on the St. Jude Minnesota advisory council, aiming to increase awareness of the mission of St. Jude throughout Minnesota and beyond.
“The first time I went to St. Jude, it changed my life. I was overwhelmed with empathy for the children and families. By the end of the tour, you are inspired, hopeful that there is a place like St. Jude. I want to do all that I can to bring awareness to the mission.”
For Lynne, the dedication of sharing research and St. Jude protocols with other hospitals in Minnesota and globally, is one of the critical messages that she amplifies.
“Research builds on research, and so many children treated for cancer today have been helped by protocols or research from St. Jude. Even though the child might be here in Minnesota, the treatment they receive is often informed by what St. Jude has learned and shared with the greater medical community. That’s why it matters locally.”