UNION — A group of children took to their tricycles and bicycles this week to help an institution dedicated to the healing of children continue its mission.
On Wednesday morning, as it has every year since 2003, the Bethel United Methodist Church Child Care Center held its annual Trike-A-Thon in the church parking lot. Thirty children enrolled in the center rode their tricycles and bicycles for an hour Wednesday to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Before Wednesday’s event, the Trike-A-Thon had raised $11,961 for St. Jude’s. Wednesday’s Trike-A-Thon raised $500, bringing the total amount raised to $12,461.
The top fundraisers among the children participating in the Trike-A-Thon were:
• Tatyanna Jeter — $125
• Gabe Palmer — $119
• Ben Vaughan — $75
About St. Jude
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children’s catastrophic diseases that was founded in 1962 by entertainer Danny Thomas. The premise of the founding of St. Jude is that “no child should die at the dawn of life.” The inspiration for the founding of St. Jude was a promise that Thomas, a Maronite Catholic who believed in the power of prayer, made to St. Jude Thaddeus who he prayed to for a means to support his family. In his prayer, Thomas promised St. Jude Thaddeus that if he became successful he would build him a shrine.
About a week later, Thomas, who had put his last $7 in the offering bin, got a job that paid him 10 times that amount. This was the beginning of what became a very successful career for Thomas as a stand up comedian and actor. In the midst of his success, however, Thomas did not forget the promise he’d made to St. Jude Thaddeus and in 1957 he founded the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities which became the fundraising arm of St. Jude.
Five years later, in 1962, St. Jude opened its doors in Memphis, Tennessee and in the more than 50 years since the hospital and the research it has done has changed the way doctors treat children with catastrophic diseases such as cancer. An example of this is the survival rate for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer, which went from 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today. Furthermore, in the 55 years since St. Jude opened, the overall survival rate for children with cancer has gone from 20 percent to 80 percent.
Children eligible for treatment at St. Jude receive medical treatment there regardless of their family’s ability to pay. In addition to providing medical treatment, St. Jude also helps the families of children undergoing with transportation, lodging and food.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.