When Chicago–based Red Frog Events committed to raising $25 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, it was for children like 3–year–old Apollos, who was diagnosed as an infant with a rare brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme.
Red Frog’s pledge helped fund the newly–opened St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center, which allows the hospital to provide the most advanced treatment for childhood brain tumors and other cancers.
Apollos won over the crowd of 930 St. Jude supporters attending the 21st annual St. Jude Four Stars of Chicago Restaurant Extravaganza on May 6, telling them, “thank you,” and “I love you,” for their support of the hospital.
Richard C. Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, presented an award to Red Frog co-CEOs Joe Reynolds and Ryan Kunkel for serving as the honorary chairs of the St. Jude Four Stars gala.
“One visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and you can’t help but feel committed to the important work they do while trying to emulate the heart with which they do it,” Reynolds said.
Witnessing the dedication of St. Jude staff inspired Red Frog to make their financial commitment, Kunkel said. “We’re nearing the $11 million mark on the way to our goal and eagerly look forward to continuing our support for the kids of St. Jude.”
Held at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, St. Jude Four Stars helped raise more than $725,000 for St. Jude this year. The event has raised nearly $9 million for the hospital since its inception in 1995.
Apollos’ mother, Tutau, told guests at the Chicago gala that St. Jude has been a blessing during Apollos’ battle with pediatric cancer, which has included surgery and chemotherapy.
“Everyone we met was so loving and compassionate,” Tutau said. “It helped me on this journey to see how happy Apollos was every day, to see how much he loved his doctors and nurses.”
Apollos is now finished with treatment and returns to St. Jude every four months for checkups. And his mother reports that he loves airplanes, especially watching them take off and land.