St. Jude Country Cares: Day 1 ‘Let’s Go To Memphis’
DAY 1 - Today is a day I have been looking forward to and planning for a few months. I'm waiting for a flight out to Memphis for a conference at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This year will be my 3rd St. Jude Radiothon with the Townsquare Media team in Lafayette. Every year, I am in awe of the work this hospital does. Before I worked at TSM, I thought I knew what St. Jude was all about. Fast forward three years and I have heard countless stories of families who saw miracles happen at the well-known hospital campus that's just north of downtown Memphis. I never knew how passionate everyone at St. Jude is to help even the littlest people survive cancer. I see it in the faces of every person that has been touched by St. Jude that there is something magical there. Patients and their families are treated regardless of their ability to pay. And it seems to me that as much care is given to the family as they patients themselves. Finally, the most valuable thing I have learned about St. Jude is how readily their research is available. Kids are cured all over the world thanks to the research there.
Today, I get to see St. Jude for myself. Every year, one major outreach effort for the hospital is called Country Cares. It's a weekend that radio people from across the country come together to see first-hand the work that is being done at St. Jude. My friend Jude Walker from 97.3 The Dawg is at the helm in our building- planning and executing one of the country's most-successful fundraising drives for the hospital and their research every year. Scheduling conflicts made the last couple trips up to Memphis impossible for me, but this year, I made it a point to experience this for myself. I'm so proud to make the trip and continue this annual push to support for all of our "St. Jude Babies". It's a tradition that's been carried on by Bruce Mikells, Jude Walker, Stephanie Christ, Michael dot Scott, Bernadette Lee and many others with the Townsquare team. This year I'm making the trip with Kathleen Gannon.
Life changing. Inspiring. Amazing. Those are some of the things people say about this yearly event. I've been prepared to see patients and meet their parents and doctors. I've been told some stories are hard to hear, but that St. Jude is often the only light at the end of the tunnel for families with a child diagnosed with cancer. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS PLACE.
Last night, we had a rare daddy-daughter date at Chick-Fil-A. I watched them play for over an hour and waited for them to wave at me so I can wave back. I couldn't help but think how lucky I am. I hope that my efforts telling you the stories of St. Jude patients and their parents will force you to be as thankful as I am writing this while sitting at the airport.
In the last few days, I think I've been emotionally preparing. I took extra time to hug on my own kids. My 4-year-old Leighton and 2-year-old Blakely are happy and most-importantly healthy little girls. To be honest, I don't stop often enough to be thankful for their health. It's something most of us take for granted. Luckily, thanks to the donors of St. Jude, there is a place to turn when you get that news. And from what I've heard, there is always a caring voice on the other end of the phone when you have to make the call. I'll be posting daily updates on what we learn along the way.
You can follow the trip on this website and on Instagram by clicking here: @KirkpatrickNOW
The Townsquare Media Lafayette St. Jude Radiothon is scheduled for February 1st and 2nd. If you want to donate now to the mission of St. Jude CLICK HERE.