Memphis is one of my most favorite cities that I’ve ever trveled to.  It is so rich with history, life, culture, and music.  Beale Street on a Friday or Saturday night is something that everyone should experience at least once in their life.  Not to mention . . . Elvis and Graceland.  I am a huge Elvis fan.  I’ve been to Graceland twice, and have cried at his grave in the Memorial Garden.  But there is more to Memphis than music, nightlife, civil rights history, and the world headquarters of FedEx.  There is a hospital in Memphis that makes miracles. Memphis, Tennessee is home to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital I got this from Wikipedia for you:

“St. Jude was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas, with help from Dr. Lemuel Diggs and close friend, Miami Florida auto magnate Anthony Abraham., on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life”.[1] This idea resulted from a promise that Danny Thomas, aMaronite, had made to a saint years before the hospital was founded. Thomas was a comedian, who was struggling to get a break in his career and living paycheck to paycheck. When his first child was about to be born, he attended Mass in Detroit and put his last $7 in the offering bin. He prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus for a means to provide for his family, and about a week later, he obtained a gig that paid 10 times what he had put in the offering bin. After that time, Thomas believed in the power of prayer. He promised St. Jude Thaddeus that if he made him successful, he would one day build him a shrine. Years later, Danny Thomas became an extremely successful comedian and built St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus to honor his promise.[2] In 1957, Thomas founded the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), which helped him realize his dream . . . St. Jude opened its doors in 1962.”

He made a promise and he kept it and countless children have been saved “in the dawn of life” from the horror of childhood cancer.

The radio station I work for does a 2-day radiothon for St. Jude every September.  The hospital exists primarily on donations.  No patient is ever asked to pay a penny for the treatments their child receives.  The hospital doesn’t even have a billing department.  St. Jude Children Research Hospital exists, not to make money, but to save the lives of our children.  That takes a lot of money to do, so St. Jude does a lot of fundraising all throughout the year.  Hence, the radiothon that my radio station does every September.  For two days we throw all regular programming out the window and we hear stories of children that have been saved by St. Jude, and children who sadly did not win their fight.  We talk to children from the town my station is in who have been affected by St. Jude.  We put two of our sales people on the air who are a St. Jude dad and a St. Jude aunt.  We laugh.  We cry.  We help St. Jude fight for and save our babies, our sons, our daughters.  The radiothon makes for a long two days.  It’s emotionally draining.  It’s a rollercoaster of happiness when somebody become a partner in hope and sadness when he hear the story of a child that lost their fight.  This past September the toll got so heavy on my heart while I was in the studio that I sank to the floor and hung my head in my hands and just wept, wept hard.  It all paid off though at the end of the two days when our St. Jude rep, who courageously cheerleaded and kept us going for those two days, gave us the grand total dollar amount that we raised.  That one moment makes the whole radiothon, the sad stories, the crying on the air, the heartbreak, the mental and emotional exhaustion, worth it.

This coming weekend I am going to Memphis for the Country Cares weekend at St. Jude.  It’s basically a media weekend for radio, TV, and print outlets that fundraise for St. Jude.  There are seminars, a hospital tour, and patient stories.  I look forward to going, not because Memphis is one of my favorite cities, but because I will finally be able to see in person the hospital that I fundraise all year for with the radio station.  I know there will be tears.  I know I will learn how to better execute the radiothon.  I know I will stand in awe of the place that makes miracles everyday.  I care about St. Jude though and want to give them as much as my heart can.  They save our children in the dawn of their lives.  The fight each and everyday to cure childhood cancer.

I’ve been blessed to have a relatively healthy son, but I know that should my beautiful boy need them then St. Jude would be there for him.  That is why I love St. Jude.  That is why I do the radiothon.  That is why I cry on the air and fundraise.  I do it so that St. Jude will always be there for my son, your son, your daughter, your niece or nephew, your grandchildren, your coworkers children, every child . . . Because you never know which one of those children may grow up to find the cure for cancer that will enable St. Jude to shut it’s doors forever.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I will fundraise for St. Jude until childhood cancer is gone.

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