Pretty much everyone around the region has heard of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and there have been a lot of local fundraisers to support it, the most recognizable probably being the R-I school district’s annual Math-A-Thon in the elementary schools.
Some supporters, however, go above and beyond to help the hospital, which never sends a bill to its patients’ families. For them, it’s all about love and compassion for others.
Look at what Poplar Bluff’s St. Jude Heroes team has done for the last 10 years, raising about a half million dollars for the hospital through events like the annual Shootin’ for St. Jude Archery Tournament and youth fun runs, among others.
“I feel like it’s kind of my place to give back,” said team captain Miranda Fickert.
“To help kids that are sick and to know you are making a difference feels good,” Jennifer Thomas said after an event a year ago.
A lot of time and effort is spent by these volunteers and others, and sometimes even a lot of physical pain as well.
For instance, the annual St. Jude Marathon in Memphis is coming up soon, and there is a tremendous amount of support from the Poplar Bluff area heading that way.
The St. Jude Heroes team will be sending 14 people to participate in the run, plus several others from the region will make the trip on their own.
That’s a lot of caring people giving of their resources and suffering a lot of physical and emotional fatigue, all in the name of helping others. Certainly, it takes a great amount of dedication to make that trip, get up before dawn and run in the cold (and rain last year), but when your heart is in it, it’s what you do.
After last year’s marathon, Poplar Bluff’s Brittany Humphrey couldn’t hold back the tears as she described running through the hospital campus and seeing so many young patients and their families cheering her on.
My wife, also with teary eyes, shared a similar story. That, she said, gave her the drive to fight on and run harder.
“You just have to keep going,” Fickert said, describing the scene. “How do you not?”
That’s real inspiration, and it’s clear these folks aren’t in it for anything but a desire to help others, something we should all aspire to do.
Contact Paul Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org .