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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patient Von announces Round 2 selection during 2021 NFL Draft

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Von team up for Indianapolis Colts announcement

Cleveland, Ohio, Apr. 29, 2021

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® patient Von, a virtual guest of the National Football League (NFL), will announce the Indianapolis Colts’ Round 2 pick with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the 2021 NFL Draft, beginning on Thursday, April 29. This annual appearance by a St. Jude patient, virtual for the second year, features a recorded message from Von passing to the live selection by Commissioner Goodell as they team up to raise awareness and support of the St. Jude mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®

Von, 9, an Indianapolis native and Colts fan, is no stranger to the NFL or Rich Eisen’s annual Run Rich Run campaign. In March 2020, Von appeared as a guest at the NFL Combine, where he served as timer and official motivator for Eisen and participating executives and athletes during their annual 40-yard dash to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Von became a patient of St. Jude in January 2019 after having a recurrence of anaplastic ependymoma, a brain cancer. At St. Jude, he had brain surgery to remove the tumor and proton therapy to successfully eradicate the cancer.

"The once-in-a-lifetime experience the NFL provides for kids like Von during the NFL Draft also creates the global awareness needed to ensure St. Jude can continue developing groundbreaking research and treatment for pediatric life-threatening diseases,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “We are thankful for our dedicated friends at the NFL, for our friend Rich Eisen, for NFL fans, and for all who participate in Run Rich Run in support of our kids. Their generosity ensures families never receive a bill from St. Jude so all they have to focus on is helping their child live.”

St. Jude patient Von with NFL stars Rich Eisen, Jerry Rice and George Vittle

St. Jude patient Von with George Vittle, Rich Eisen and Jerry Rice in March 2020

St. Jude and the NFL’s partnership spans more than nine years, which includes the NFL PLAY 60 program and Run Rich Run. These fundraising programs help patients and families cope with serious illnesses through play therapy, peer interaction and more. The combined efforts are instrumental in creating support and awareness for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude and providing patients with unique experiences at various NFL events. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.

The NFL Draft kicks off virtually at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 29, and will air live on the NFL Network, ESPN, ABC and online at

To learn more about St. Jude and the NFL, visit

About 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. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, 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. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Media Contacts:

Kurt Rossler
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
(901) 578-6752