Volunteers present $208,000 to St. Jude!
12/7/2006 10:48:39 AM
Memphis, TN - At Christmas we all become very aware of the idea of giving. Christmas shopping becomes a drudgery for some, a joy for others as we struggle to find just the right gift for the special people in our lives. Our giving becomes an expression of our love and appreciation for those that make our lives more enjoyable, in fact, worth the living.
Yesterday, Executive Field Representative Jimmy Phillips and I were privileged to take part in presenting your gift to the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a gift from our coon hunting family to some wonderful kids that find themselves in very difficult circumstances this Christmas. We joined Nelda Pritchard, Kelly Deere, Johnny Gulledge, and Carol Mooney as they presented a check in the amount of $208,000, their largest ever, from the Decatur County Coon Hunt to the children of St. Jude.
The simple joy of seeing a child’s face on Christmas morning becomes one of life’s dearest treasures. So should the knowledge that your gifts to the Decatur County Benefit Coon Hunt, known throughout the coonhound world as the St. Jude Hunt are making a difference in the lives of these kids and their families. Being a part of this wonderful expression of love and caring should bring you great joy in this Christmas season as well. For all that came to the St. Jude Hunt this year, for those that paid an entry fee, bought a bracelet or an item in the auction, or dropped your change in the buckets, you made a difference to the children at St. Jude.
(At left, a portrait of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas)Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with Dave McKee, the Chief Operating Officer of ALSAC, the fund-raising arm of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He told me that while most hospitals depend upon donations for about 7% of their annual budgets, at the St. Jude Hospital donations make up 70 percent. Dave has been with St. Jude for 29 years and has attended the St. Jude Hunt on several occcasions. Believe me, the folks at the St. Jude Hospital appreciate coon hunters and your donations that have now totaled more than $3 million since the event began.
And so, this Christmas you should find joy in knowing that your gifts are working. Dave told me that kids with some forms of cancer were once expected to be cured at a rate of only 4%. Today, kids are reaching a 94% survival rate. Isn’t that a wonderful thing! Your St. Jude Hunt donations are making that possible!
Dave also reminded our group that in catastrophic instances such as 911 which cost 3000 plus lives, and Hurricane Katrina in which 1800 lives were lost we consider those numbers devastating. And yet, we are still losing 4,500 kids each year to leukemia. There is still very much work to do.
(At right, the Decatur County Volunteers enjoy a private lunch in the board room at St. Jude.) The volunteers at the Decatur County Coon Hunt, the same folks that were named the St. Jude Volunteer Group of the Year because of the tremendous 2006 effort, are determined to do more in 2007 than what was accomplished last year but they must depend upon you and your coon hunting friends to help. Please remember the St. Jude Hunt this year when you make your coon hunting plans. You will enjoy attending the events of course but most of all, you’ll be warmed by the knowledge that the lives of precious kids are being saved because you took to the time to care. Your giving has really made a difference to kids this Christmas and the whole year through at St. Jude.
Photo at top - (L - R) Dave McKee, COO of ALSAC, Decatur County Volunteer Nelda Pritchard, AKC Exec. Field Rep Jimmy Phillips, Decatur County Volunteers Kelly Deere and Johnny Gulledge, Senior Event Marketing Rep. Scott Hinshelwood, Decatur County Volunteer Carol Mooney, and AKC Assistant Vice President Steve Fielder join in the presentation of the $208,000 check to the children at St. Jude in Memphis on Wednesday.