Revving engines and blowing horns created an air of excitement at St. Jude in October with the culmination of the 12th annual Corvettes 4 St. Jude fundraiser.
The event, which raises money for St. Jude throughout the year, raised $102,406 in 2014 — the most in its history. Since 2003, the group of Corvette enthusiasts has raised a total of $854,000 for the hospital.
Corvettes 4 St. Jude is part of the Cruisin’ for St. Jude program, which gives people an opportunity to combine their interest in motorsports and motorized vehicles with raising funds to support St. Jude.
About 80 people — and 40 Corvettes — visited the campus on October 13 to present their donation and let patients and their families check out the cars that made the trip. Event organizer Robert Briggs said participants came from Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Chicago and Pennsylvania this year.
In addition to the privately–owned Corvettes, CRP Racing transported a racing Corvette from North Carolina that proved a big attraction for the kids.
Bad weather kept the turnout down for this year’s visit; as many as 100 Corvettes have visited in previous years.
Briggs said plans already are underway for 2015, with a goal of raising $150,000 and breaking the $1 million mark in total funds raised through Corvettes 4 St. Jude. The group is ahead of schedule, planning events, recruiting new donors and increasing participation.
“We’re off to a little bit of a start, so I think it’s going to be good,” Briggs said.
Corvettes 4 St. Jude was founded in 2003 by Jesse Geiger, a Corvette enthusiast and cancer survivor living in Florida. He felt a calling to help the hospital after watching a St. Jude television special hosted by St. Jude National Outreach Director Marlo Thomas.
Geiger was a member of an online forum for fellow Corvette lovers, Corvetteforum.com, and turned to that group for support in launching his new effort. The response he received — and that the group continues to convey — has been nothing short of spectacular. Members hold various car shows and events throughout the year in their regions, such as the Space City Corvette Club in Houston that has an annual Corvettes & Crawfish car show. Chicago Cars for St. Jude is another group that has stepped up in recent years to become instrumental to Corvettes 4 St. Jude’s overall success.
Briggs began helping Geiger with the fundraiser in 2006 and took over the majority of the fundraising in the past few years. But he said the pair has talked quite a bit about 2015 and Geiger plans to be more involved next year.
Briggs said one reason he and the rest of his fellow Corvette lovers stay so passionate about supporting St. Jude is the response of families to their visits.
“St. Jude is the only place where we get that interaction, not only with the kids, but the parents who come up to you and say how much they appreciate what we do.”