A commitment to finding cures and saving lives: that's what a donation to St. Jude connotes.
On Nov. 23, the Knoxville Zoo will host the annual "St. Jude Give thanks. Walk." to benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Some of the event's local sponsors include WVLT and Target.
Located in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is a not-for-profit organization that works to "cure and enhance the quality of life for an increasing proportion of children who come to us for treatment, and by expanding and sharing knowledge, to advance treatment of children with catastrophic diseases worldwide," as described on the hospital's website.
The walk is a part of the "Thanks and Giving" campaign, founded by Marlo, Terre and Tony Thomas, the children of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas.
"Knoxville is an incredible community and I've loved working with UT students to fundraise for a great cause," Courtney Kissack, leader of event staff, said. "By fundraising for this event, Knoxvillians and UT students are ensuring that no family at St. Jude ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food."
The walk is free for all attending, though donations are encouraged. Certain prizes will be given when donation goals are achieved.
"The best part about it is that the 'St. Jude Give thanks. Walk.' is a nationwide event," Kissack said. "Supporters in more than 75 communities across the country will participate on Nov. 23. For students, it's fun to think that friends and family are probably participating at the walks in Nashville, Memphis and Tri Cities."
Lindsey Herche, senior in finance, plans to attend the walk for the first time. After raising $1,000 for the organization, Herche said she is excited to support the hospital where she once sought treatment.
"Being a patient at St. Jude for the past five years has been a journey, but I wouldn't trade it for the world," Herche said. "The day of the walk, I am excited to celebrate my journey through St. Jude and the fact that I am a survivor, to celebrate other children who are currently being treated at St. Jude, and to celebrate the amazing doctors, research and cures that St. Jude has discovered and shared with medical institutions around the world saving children everywhere."
Junior Jenna Martin, a nutrition major, also holds a personal connection with the hospital.
"I am the recruitment chairwomen for the new St. Jude committee, a very new committee," Martin said. "My brother is a patient at St. Jude, so I'm very familiar with and close to it."
Herche has been impressed by the community's response to the upcoming walk.
"The 'Give thanks. Walk.' gives people the opportunity to learn about St. Jude and childhood cancer, and to celebrate and honor patients and doctors," Herche said. "This year, myself and a group of a few other students worked extremely hard to spread the word around campus and get UT involved. Sixteen student organizations are participating in the walk this year. That's incredible."