I’m running as a “hero” for St. Jude this year at the Memphis Marathon in December. Below is the email I sent out to friends and families soliciting their support for this great hospital
Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears... Wait that's not right.
Friends, Family, and everyone else... Still not right.
TO ALL THE AWESOME PEOPLE I KNOW (nailed it!),
I am running the St. Jude marathon again this year. This year, however, I am running as a hero for St. Jude and committed to raising $5,000 for the hospital. I'm not the best wordsmith, but I'm going to attempt to explain why I'm doing this...
I first ran in the St. Jude race 2 years ago, and can't begin to describe to you the overwhelming emotions that was over you as you run through the St. Jude campus. The children have gotten out in advance of the race and drawn all sorts of pictures and written messages on the asphalt in chalk. The patients, their families, and many of the staff are out there yelling and encouraging each runner as they go by. It quite literally brought tears to my eyes the first year I ran the race. At the time I was only a few months into running, and trying to complete a half marathon. I followed a run/walk/run pattern on runs prior to this race, but it hit me as I was running through the campus that these kids don't have the opportunity to stop and take a break whenever things get too tough. They have to stay the course and remain strong throughout their treatment. It actually inspired me at the time to run further than I had ever run before without stopping and taking a walk break. Add to this hearing a former St. Jude patient sing the national anthem at the start of the race. Last year seeing a family around mile 25 of the marathon with a huge professionally printed banner with a picture of their child and dates of birth and date of losing their fight with cancer which was only a month earlier than the race. I'm getting teary eyed just sitting here thinking about these moments again... All of these things inspire me to not only run the race again, but to raise money for the hospital that does so much for so many and asks for nothing in return from those it helps.
Danny Thomas said that "No child should die in the dawn of life." and trying to ensure that doesn't happen has always been the mission of St. Jude. It costs $1.7 million per day to run the hospital, and no family is ever asked to pay anything for the treatment their child receives at St. Jude. During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar donated has supported the research or treatment at St. Jude. The overall goal for fund raising for this race is a mere $5 million. Not even enough to keep the hospital open for a full 3 days. But every little bit helps. With every single donation they receive, they can continue their research and providing the life saving treatments to their patients.
I recently read a story about Danny Thomas. He had a dream one night where he walked through the hospital and was turning off the lights. He walked out the front door and locked the doors behind him. They had cured childhood cancer and there was no more need for the hospital. Unfortunately this was just a dream, but every day they get closer to making it a reality. In the 1960s the survival rate for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, was less than 10%. Today with the help of research at St. Jude that survival rate is now well over 90%.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of St. Jude opening it's doors. Please consider making a donation to help them continue their half century of work in curing childhood cancer. You can donate online at the link below, or if you'd like send me an email and I'll give you my address to mail a check.
To donate online: http://heroes.stjude.org/bgswanson