What began in 2005 as a fun 40-yard-dash by NFL broadcaster Rich Eisen during NFL Scouting Combine downtime has since become the philanthropic phenomenon known as Run Rich Run, now entering its seventh year as a fundraiser benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. Today, Eisen’s efforts were celebrated on GameDay Live as Eisen was surprised on-air with the St. Jude Ambassador of the Year award.
Personalized video messages from some very special St. Jude patients who have participated alongside Eisen through the years aired during the presentation of his award, which is given to celebrities and influencers who dedicate their time and effort to fundraise and raise global awareness of the St. Jude mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®
Over the last six years, Eisen championed Run Rich Run, raising more than $4.2 million for treatment and research for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. This included a record $1.7 million in 2021, an especially challenging year due to the cancelation of the NFL Scouting Combine. Eisen laced up and put his best foot forward, surpassing his goals like a true champion for the St. Jude kids. More about Run Rich Run is available on St. Jude Inspire.
“The gratitude that everyone at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has for Rich Eisen’s selfless dedication and genuine love for St. Jude kids is beyond words,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “I’m proud to call Rich the St. Jude Ambassador of the Year, but I’m even more proud to call him a friend. He is part of the St. Jude family and we look forward to many more years of chanting “Run Rich Run!” and raising funds to support the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”
Childhood cancer is a multi-trillion-dollar, multi-year problem. Fundraising campaigns like Run Rich Run and the fans who support it fuel the overarching $11.5 billion, six-year St. Jude strategic plan, which includes tripling its global investment to impact the more than 400,000 kids with cancer around the world each year.
St. Jude patients share special messages with Rich Eisen during broadcast
Eisen has fostered relationships with many St. Jude patient families over the years. Several shared their thoughts during today’s broadcast, including cheering from patients Mabry and Azalea.
Von, 9, served as official timer and motivator during the 2020 “Run Rich Run” event in Indianapolis. “Mr. Eisen, thank you for all you do for me and for all the kids at St. Jude,” said Von. “You’re the greatest!”
Bailey, 16, was the on-site interviewer during the 2018 event. “I will always remember it,” said Bailey. “Thank you for all the things you do for the kids at St. Jude.”
Jake, 23, a St. Jude patient since the age of two, is now an aspiring sports broadcaster and has been a guest on The Rich Eisen Show and the NFL Network. “Rich, with every yard you run and every dollar you raise, it makes an impact at St. Jude,” said Jake. “I love the NFL and I love St. Jude. Seeing my two biggest passions come together yearly, truly warms my heart. Thank you, Rich, for everything.”
St. Jude-NFL History
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 nearly 60 years ago. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all they should worry about is helping their child live.
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 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. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital