The St. Joseph’s Academy community came together in support of the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. One of the largest groups in this year’s event, the SJA team raised $13,159 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The walk/run was held September 15 at A.Z. Young Park in downtown Baton Rouge.
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude, which operates strictly on donations. Since Danny Thomas founded the hospital in 1962, its efforts have helped increase the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent to 80 percent.
Two hundred seventy-one Team SJA members registered to walk/run, made a donation or purchased a special t-shirt or St. Jude pin. Team efforts were dedicated to former and current students who have been treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, including sophomores Kennan Mashon and Katherine Scully.
SJA Principal Stacia Andricain visited the hospital during a summer trip to Memphis. She was so impressed that when approached about forming a team for this year’s walk/run, she jumped at the chance. “I knew that the sisterhood of SJA would stand with St. Jude and our current students, Kennan and Katherine, to help in the fight against this terrible disease,” she said. “I am so appreciative of the students, parents and faculty members who came together in support of this amazing organization. Once again, I am in awe of our community and the sisterhood that holds it together.”
Mashon and Scully participated in a passing-of-the-torch ritual during the walk/run. Last year, Mashon was passed the torch by St. Jude patient Anna James, who was seven years cancer free at the time. Mashon had recently learned she was officially in remission. This year, Mashon chose to pass the torch to Scully, who was nearing the end of her chemotherapy treatments. “We called the torch the Victory Torch to celebrate not my and Katherine’s victory over cancer,” Mashon said. “Next year, Katherine will get the chance to pass the torch to another St. Jude patient.”
Mashon said her experience at St. Jude was unparalleled. “Without St. Jude, I have no idea how I would’ve handled my leukemia treatment,” she said. “My favorite quote of all time is by Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He said, ‘No child should die in the dawn of life.’ You can tell that this statement is held in high importance by every staff member at St. Jude.”
Scully said the support of the SJA community at the walk/run was overwhelming. “I had never experienced anything like it, seeing that many people coming out to support me and this amazing place,” she said. “I had no idea that everything at St. Jude is free because I never thought about things like that before. St. Jude does a really good job of making sure you and your family are comfortable. There are so many amazing people at St. Jude, and everyone’s story is different. My doctors were so supportive.”
Mashon said the support of her SJA family was heartwarming. “St. Jude is such an important charity and place to me,” she said. “St. Jude saved my life, and although I know I will never fully be able to repay them for all they’ve done for me, fundraising events such as the race are just one way I can give back to St. Jude to thank them. The amount of support SJA gave to St. Jude at the race was truly overwhelming, and I am extremely thankful for everyone who attended and/or donated.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of SJA team members and friends