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Art meets athletics in celebration of African American achievement at St. Jude Spirit of the Dream

Artist Derek Fordjour, Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins honored for pioneering work and philanthropy

Memphis, Tennessee, Oct. 2, 2023

Derek Fordjour and Lionel Hollins smiling while holding their awards.

Artist Derek Fordjour and Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins were honored with the 2023 St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award for pioneering work and philanthropy.

Acclaimed artist Derek Fordjour and former National Basketball Association (NBA) player and Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins were honored at Graceland last weekend with the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award for their philanthropic support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

The evening, which hit a new fundraising record of more than $260,000, was a full circle moment for both honorees, who each have deep ties to St. Jude and its hometown, Memphis.

Fordjour, whose work is displayed in galleries worldwide, grew up playing on the grounds near the St. Jude campus adjacent to what was then St. Joseph Hospital, and was inspired by the art, mural and prints he saw at St. Jude. Later in life, he created and auctioned an original work of art with all proceeds donated to St. Jude.

Lionel Hollins, holding his award, and Tanya Frey on stage similing.

St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award recipient Lionel Hollins with Tanya Frey, Mid-South Territory Vice President for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

"When I think about honoring the dream of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, I think about his spirit of belief and faith,” said Fordjour. “That is what St. Jude does every day for the families who enter its doors. As supporters, we are offering hope and I am grateful to be a part of that story."

For Hollins, both Memphis and St. Jude have been central to his storied career as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, where he became the winningest coach in franchise history. He is also the founder of a mentoring program for underprivileged local youth and an ambassador for St. Jude.

"I’m privileged to use my gifts to give back to others and support the lifesaving mission at St. Jude,” said Hollins. “We are all blessed with talents, and it’s important that we use our gifts to help children reach their full potential and destinies."

St. Jude Spirit of the Dream celebrates the achievements of African Americans who have made significant contributions to Memphis and beyond while embodying the spirit of the St. Jude mission.

Derek Fordjour and Tanya Frey, presenting his award, on stage similing.

St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award recipient Derek Fordjour with Tanya Frey, Mid-South Territory Vice President for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“The mission and work of St. Jude reminds us there is a greater purpose that transcends borders and boundaries, language and land: Finding cures for some of the worst diseases that threaten kids’ lives,” said Tanya Frey, Mid-South Territory Vice President for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “Thanks to the dedication of our Spirit of the Dream honorees, St. Jude can tackle these challenges with determination and focus to help kids and families around the world.”

St. Jude patient Paishence and her mother spoke to the impact of donations. The evening also featured a performance from national recording artist and St. Jude supporter, Regina Belle, and was DJed by iHeart Media’s Stan Bell. Spotlighting Paishence, an aspiring DJ with her own Apple Music playlist, Bell invited her to join him at the turntable to rev up the crowd.

The event’s proceeds help ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live.

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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. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was considered largely incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and it won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Support the St. Jude mission by donating at stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Media Contact
Lillie Flenorl, Media Relations Advisor
(901) 930-7993
lillie.flenorl@alsac.stjude.org

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