More than 1,300 St. Jude Heroes® are stepping up to lend their support for the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the 21st annual St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville.
This year marks a decade of partnership between St. Jude and the fitness event that is a staple for Music City. Since the partnership began in 2012, tens of thousands of St. Jude Heroes have raised more than $12 million through the event.
St. Jude Heroes are a group of fitness enthusiasts united by a common goal: to fundraise during training and participate in fitness events to help further lifesaving research and treatment for St. Jude kids. That goal takes on new importance and urgency now as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital embarks on a six-year $11.5 billion strategic plan, the largest financial investment in its nearly 60-year history that will have a profound impact on kids here and around the world facing cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
“Whether by running, cheering, performing or fundraising, participants at the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville are uniting around the common goal of ensuring that no child dies of cancer,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Dedicated individuals like our St. Jude Heroes are making a difference for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases by supporting the groundbreaking research and treatment happening at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital every day.”
Evansville, Indiana, native Sue Ellen Henderson will be among the St. Jude Heroes hitting the pavement on the Nashville course this year. First inspired to run by a friend’s thoughtful thank-you note after a race, Henderson went on to complete several half-marathon events, all while fundraising for St. Jude. While Henderson has no direct patient family or staff connection to St. Jude, a visit to its Memphis, Tennessee, campus in 2015 deepened her commitment as a St. Jude Hero. In her decade of fundraising, Henderson has raised more than $400,000.
“For over 20 years, Nashville has been the heart and soul of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series,” said Elizabeth O'Brien, Managing Director of North America for The IRONMAN Group, owners of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series. “We are grateful for the continued relationship with the Nashville community and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We look forward to creating an unforgettable return to the Music City with one of the biggest events of the year.”
As the name suggests, music is at the heart of St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville, which is part of the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series that includes Seattle among other cities around the globe. In Nashville, participants will experience Music City by taking in iconic landmarks such as Broadway, Music Row, The Gulch and more. On-course entertainment will feature live bands and DJs serenading participants as they stream by, adding to the lively atmosphere. The night before the race, St. Jude Heroes will be treated to entertainment performed by local singer-songwriters during a private pasta party to recognize their fundraising achievements.
The country music industry has embraced St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for decades. Alabama lead singer Randy Owen, who began Country Cares for St. Jude Kids more than 30 years ago, was the first to bring together the country music industry and St. Jude. Following in Owen’s generous footsteps are a succession of artists, songwriters, music industry influencers and others who have embraced the St. Jude mission.
Music happens within the walls of St. Jude, too, where certified music therapists empower patients by helping improve a child’s motor skills or by giving them a creative outlet for expression to help them cope with disease and its treatment.
Registration for the 2021 St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville is still open. To sign up or support a St. Jude Hero, visit stjude.org/RnRNashville.
Registration is also open for the 2022 St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville, which takes place April 23.
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.
About The IRONMAN Group
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf®, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events including Haute Route®, and gravel racing like Gravel Epic®, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/about-ironman-group.
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital