For Madison City Schools educators, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon is not just another fundraiser, it is personal.
Every school in the district has a current or former student who has been a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. For the past 12 years, the school system has made raising money for the children’s hospital their signature fundraising event.
“We have so many fundraisers and they are all about us. ... This fundraiser is not about you or me, it is about children who are sick,” said St. Jude campaign captain Dorinda White, Madison City Schools coordinator for strategic initiatives, attendance and community relations.
More than just a fundraiser, the schools use the program as an educational tool for its 10,000 students, who learn about teamwork, giving unselfishly and healthy lifestyles during the campaign. School children in the district who are current or former St. Jude patients also participate and share their stories with their classmates.
Since beginning their fundraising over a decade ago, the school system has raised more than half a million dollars for the hospital and its programs. Their fundraising has been so successful that the Madison City Schools team has received accolades from St. Jude. This summer they were invited to share their fundraising ideas with other school systems.
“St. Jude is an incredible place,” White said. “It is a place unlike anywhere I have ever been.”
White said that visiting St. Jude and learning about their cutting-edge research and technology has also given the educators knowledge and information to bring back to their students in Madison.
In the beginning, each school’s principal usually represented the school as its designated St. Jude Hero. But over the years as enthusiasm spread, teachers joined the administration in Memphis at the culminating event for the fundraiser, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. White, a former principal of Rainbow Elementary and longtime participant herself, said the event is always an incredible experience for the team.
“You run through St. Jude’s campus. The patients are out cheering and the community of Memphis is so gracious and does a lot to welcome the runners,” White said.
“It is very humbling.”
The St. Jude Memphis Marathon, set for Dec. 1, includes a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K and youth marathon. It is the single largest one-day fundraising event for St. Jude with more than 20,000 participants each year. The marathon gives participants the opportunity to raise funds for the hospital whose patients’ families do not receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. From its beginning in 1962, the vision of founder Danny Thomas was that all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To support Madison City Schools fundraising efforts, visit http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=3493267&pg=personal&fr_id=88563.
Running fundraisers in the local community
Local road races which raise funds to benefit children’s causes include the following:
St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, Huntsville
The local St. Jude run/race to support St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Since its creation in 1962, St. Jude has helped to increase the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent to 80 percent today.
2018 Intellectual Disabilities Drive 5K Run, Madison
The Knights of Columbus’s Tootsie Roll 5K which benefits children with intellectual disabilities. The proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations and Madison city schoolchildren.
4th annual Coco for Kids 10K, 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run, Huntsville
Kids to Love’s annual run benefiting local children in foster care. Since 2004, Kids to Love has worked with more than 200,000 foster children to meet their needs.