At a check presentation and awards ceremony yesterday, organizers of the eighth annual Patrick Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament presented a record $2.5 million to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
This event continues to be the highest grossing golf tournament for St. Jude nationwide. Last year, attendees raised $2.2 million. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $9.8 million for St. Jude.
Because of generous donors, events like this help ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Among the guests were more than 75 of Warburton's celebrity friends, including rock legends and songwriters, who enjoyed a weekend of golf and one-of-a-kind music events at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa and Classic Club, as well as racing at the BMW Performance Center.
"All kids deserve a chance to live long, healthy lives, so I am thankful for the generous donors, hardworking volunteers, local community, and guests who attended from all over the country to show their support for St. Jude families," said Warburton, acclaimed actor and tournament host.
Warburton perhaps is best known for playing Puddy on Seinfeld, starring on the syndicated sitcom Rules of Engagement, being the voice of Joe on Family Guy and acting in numerous movies and TV series, including Ted and Ted 2, The Tick, Disney's The Emperor's New Groove and Planes: Fire & Rescue, and DreamWorks' Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Warburton can now be seen on Netflix's top-rated Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events — where he plays narrator Snicket and co-stars with Neil Patrick Harris.
The Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament is also referred to as the "St. Jude Week in the Desert" due to the number of activities planned for guests. The week kicked off with an inaugural radiothon sponsored by Alpha Media.
Sell-out events included the Thursday night Songwriters Night, featuring some of Nashville's top songwriters telling the "stories behind the stories" of country's greatest hits. Participating songwriters included Kelley Lovelace (All American Girl,recorded by Carrie Underwood), Tim Nichols (Live Like You Were Dying, recorded by Tim McGraw), Jimmy Yeary (I Drive Your Truck, recorded by Lee Brice) and Jessi Alexander (The Climb, recorded by Miley Cyrus).
During the day Friday, the BMW Performance Driving Center West in Thermal hosted The Rush, which included celebrity race and driving experiences for participants, such as timed autocross, drag racing and performance driving.
The Friday night Rheneypalooza Jam gathered rock-and-roll artists for a variety show of classics that rocked the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort for more than four hours. Performers included Robin Meade of HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade, Skunk Baxter (Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers), Tom Johnston (The Doobie Brothers), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Steve Augeri (former lead singer of Journey), Richard Marx, Kevin Griffin, (Better Than Ezra), Emerson Hart (Tonic), Richard Page (Mister Mister), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Wally Palmer (The Romantics), Wayne Nelson (Little River Band), John Elefante (former lead singer of Kansas), and surprise guest, Stephen Stills.
The Saturday Soiree began with red carpet appearances by the actors, athletes and musicians in attendance. Guests heard from a patient family and celebrated a night of giving for the kids of St. Jude. The evening raised a phenomenal $1,046,100 in the Live and Silent Auctions and Give to Live fundraising efforts. The Soiree culminated with music by the band Sixwire from the TV show Nashville, as well as surprise performances by celebrities such as actors Christian Kane, Kevin Rahm and Kunal Nayyar.
Golfers took to the links at the Classic Club on Saturday and Sunday for tournament play. Each foursome included a celebrity.
"We keep hearing there is no event quite like this, which is why it sells out earlier and earlier each year. It's the perfect blend of celebrities, musicians, golf and unique events," said Clarke Rheney, tournament chairman and the 2017 National Volunteer of the Year for St. Jude. "What we raised this weekend is about what it costs to operate St. Jude for a day. Since this event's inception eight years ago, we've contributed nearly $10 million to help the real stars of this tournament — St. Jude kids."
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers, and treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since we opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs we make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org or following St. Jude on facebook.com/stjude and twitter.com/stjude.