St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a place filled with love. As you walk through the brightly lit hallways, you see children’s artwork. There’s also a brightly colored playground outside the doors. It’s a very kid-friendly place that makes one almost forget that this hospital cares for children who have been stricken with childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
For a few gospel artists, St. Jude is a place that they are happy to connect with and make a difference, in some small way, in the lives of children and their families.
During the annual Celebration of Hope weekend at St. Jude, Jekalyn Carr, Jonathan McReynolds, Casey J and Jackie Clark-Chisholm made their presence known. Clark-Chisholm performed during the Radio Cares luncheon, while Jekalyn, Jonathan and Casey J spent time coloring and playing with the children during the day.
Jonathan McReynolds, who was making his third appearance at St Jude, said, “It’s always great! I always have a heart for St. Jude, mostly because I really have an appreciation for thoughtful people. They think ahead. When you go to St. Jude, they’ve thought of everything! They thought of ways that kids have fun, the food they want, everything is so thoughtful. I really feel like the concern and care is there and went into the planning.”
After playing with the kids, Casey J said, “To see so much hope and joy has really inspired me!
D.C.’s own, Jawn Murray was there as well. The TV host/pop culture expert has visited St. Jude so many times, he’s gained VIP status. “It was my pleasure to spend my weekend not only raising awareness for the importance of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; but it’s always so inspiring spending time with the kids being treated there! Great time doing arts & crafts with these two,” Murray posted on Facebook.
The Celebration of Hope dinner was another opportunity for gospel artists to be involved. Radio personality Willie Moore Jr. served as host for the evening. Jekalyn Carr took to the stage with her hit, “You Will Win” which got the audience to their feet and offering praises.
Jonathan McReynolds sang his latest single, “I’m Not Lucky (I’m Loved)”, a beautiful song that seemed so appropriate. It was an incredible night at St. Jude and an incredible weekend!
Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent. Here’s what’s even more phenomenal about St. Jude: Families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food! This greatly reduces the family’s worries at such a difficulty time.
St. Jude was founded in 1962 by actor/comedian Danny Thomas who dreamed of building a research hospital where children would receive treatment for life-threatening childhood diseases regardless of a family’s race, religion or financial status. About 40 percent of the patients seen at St. Jude each year are African-American. It has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell disease programs in the country with more than 850 patients.
The majority of St. Jude funding comes from contributions, so St. Jude is able to focus on saving kids regardless of their financial situation. Find out how you can support St. Jude here. Follow St. Jude on Twitter@StJude, Facebook: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and on Instagram: @StJude.
This is the first in a series of articles that will spotlight the wonderful work being done by St. Jude. Check back on our site to learn more about St. Jude or hit the subscribe button to be notified of new posts.