Thank you for joining us for the eighth annual St. Jude Spirit of the Dream presented by W&T Contracting Corporation, where guests celebrated the achievements of African Americans who have made significant contributions to Memphis and beyond while embodying the spirit of the St. Jude mission. This special evening featured a performance by Regina Belle, exclusive auction packages and the presentation of the Spirit of the Dream awards. We honored international artist Derek Fordjour and former National Basketball Association (NBA) player and Memphis Grizzlies coach and philanthropist, Lionel Hollins.
All proceeds benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food – so they can focus on helping their child live.
St. Jude provides comprehensive care and health equality for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. We tailor treatment for each child's unique needs, improving outcomes for some of the world’s sickest children.
Thank you to our honorees
Born in Memphis in 1974 to parents of Ghanaian heritage, Fordjour described growing up and playing on the grounds near the St. Jude campus adjacent to St. Joseph Hospital, where his dad was an oral surgeon. It was during those days as a small child that he said he was drawn to the campus art, murals and prints that encouraged him to dream. The hometown-kid-made-good is still being inspired by St. Jude — in 2020 he created an original work of art that was sold at auction, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to St. Jude. Fordjour graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and earned a Master’s Degree in Art Education from Harvard University and an MFA in painting from Hunter College. He was appointed The Alex Katz Chair at Cooper Union and served as a Core Critic at Yale University School of Art. Fordjour is based in New York City and has been written about as “one of the art world’s most coveted newcomers,” with his work featured in institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, LACMA, and the Guggenheim Museum.
Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, Hollins was raised by his grandmother and began his illustrious career as a 1975 NBA Draft pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. He earned a spot on the 1976 All-Rookie First team and went on to win an NBA Championship in 1977. With over 40 years of coaching experience, he has coached on all levels and is a well-respected coach and developer of players on and off the court. During his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, he became the winningest coach in franchise history with an improved record each season. Hollins mentored youth at Grizzlies Prep and the Nexus Leadership Program, and created Lionel Hollins Charities (LHC) to further his passion for giving back. Through the charity he raised funds to provide backpacks, supplies and uniforms to underprivileged students, set up a mentoring program, donated bikes and books to children and helped start a community garden to promote healthy eating habits. He is an ambassador for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and has raised thousands of dollars for the organization.
Past honorees include:
Dr. Rudolph Jackson, one of the first Black doctors at St. Jude.
The city of Memphis, honored in its bicentennial year for its continued dedication to St. Jude patients.
Dr. Sian Proctor, an accomplished civilian astronaut, pilot, advocate for women of color in the space industry, entrepreneur, and professor of American geology.
Dr. Patricia Adams-Graves, professor in the hematology/oncology division at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Emily Greer, (St. Jude Legacy Award) a 30-year executive leader, most recently as Chief Administrative Officer for ALSAC.
Thank you to Regina Belle
Thank you to our committee
Hugh Balthrop • Reggie Crenshaw • Chris Dennis • Jason Farmer • James Harvey Jr. • Angela Irwin • Lee Rankin • Brad Robinson • Larry Robinson • Evan Stephens • Dr. Bianca J. Sweeten
Thank you to our sponsors
Magnolia Underground Construction
Dean & Associates
Gipson Mechanical Contractors Inc.
G&J Contractors, LLC
Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. – Memphis Alumni Chapter
Lee Rankin Group
Bank of America
The A C Wharton Group
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Finding cures. Saving children.® Everywhere.
St. Jude cares for some of the world’s sickest children regardless of their race, ethnicity, beliefs, or ability to pay. Our patients receive the customized care they need to treat childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, no matter what barriers they may face.
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped raise the survival rate for children with cancer in the United States, where more than 4 out of 5 children survive cancer. In many developing countries, however, fewer than 1 out of 5 children diagnosed with cancer will survive. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer, no matter where they live.
One red blood cell transfusion
Children undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases often need transfusions.
One hour of physical therapy
Physical therapy is provided to patients because children with life-threatening diseases like cancer may develop developmental, cognitive or physical impairments as a result of their illnesses and their treatments.
Parent necessities for 20 patient families
Parents who bring their children to St. Jude often leave home in a hurry and forget to pack day-to-day necessities such as shampoos, razors, deodorant, toothbrushes and lotion. At Tri Delta Place, our short-term housing facility, parents can obtain these essentials free of charge.
An ultrasound study for a St. Jude patient
An ultrasound study is among the diagnostic imaging tests that doctors use to diagnose and monitor disease and treatment.
Daily room rate of the ICU
The Intensive Care Unit at St. Jude has twice been recognized with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence given by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. In 2009, the St. Jude ICU became Tennessee’s first ICU to win the honor.
Support St. Jude patients and their families
Your donation will be used to provide breakthrough research, treatment and cures as you join St. Jude in its livesaving mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®
* Your donation will be used to provide breakthrough research, treatment and cures. Items listed here are representative of services and supplies that are part of the treatment and care of children at St. Jude. The cost of each item or service is an approximation, and will vary based on actual costs incurred and individual patient needs. Your donation will be used for the general operating needs of St. Jude, where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.