the wonderful world of veena.

28 May 2014

supporting st jude.

Last year I mentioned that St Jude Children's Research Hospital is one of my favourite places in Memphis. And it's true. It is a hospital dedicated to curing childhood cancers and diseases, and it does so while never charging a family for their child's treatment, because a parent's only focus should be on helping their child get better.

Because of this passion to treat children while not charging parents, you can imagine how great St Jude's daily operating costs are. All told, it costs roughly $1.8 million a day for St Jude to open its doors and treat its patients while also researching cures for these deadly diseases. It is because of donors - individuals, families, businesses, etc - that the hospital is able to continue its work each day.

Every December, Memphis hosts the St Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, where thousands of people from all over the country come to Memphis and run to raise money for this great hospital. All participants have the opportunity to sign up as Heroes and can pledge to raise $500 [Bronze], $750 [Silver], or $1,000 [Gold] for St Jude. It's not required, but most people do it just because it's such a great cause and also because Heroes registration happens before general registration, and spots sell out fast. The race - which includes both a half and full marathon as well as the Grizzlies House 5k - is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the hospital, with runners and teams vying for top fundraising spots.

Last year, our very own Team Rhodes raised nearly $100,000 for St Jude, landing in the top 5 of all fundraising teams. This year, Team Rhodes is going bigger and better, with goals of 150 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends coming together to work toward raising $150,000. It's a lofty goal, but with the buzz generated by last year's team, I think it's completely doable.

In past years, I have always donated to friends who are running as Heroes. It's usually a $5 or $10 donation to each person's fundraising efforts, but it adds up. This year, I thought I'd tackle a different goal: raising a minimum of $500 myself. I registered for the 5k* [no more half marathons for me for a while] and am working my way toward my goal. I would love to raise even more if I can, but I thought I would start with $500 and go from there.

So now is the time for me to shamelessly ask for money. If you would like to help the children of St Jude, you can donate through my personal fundraising page today. Any amount, however large or small, helps save children's lives.

And as a bonus, the first 40ish people who donate to my page will receive a handwritten postcard from my collection. I am a serial postcard collector and now have cards from Hampi, Bombay, Nepal, San Francisco, Graceland, and New Orleans stacked up on my table ready to be written and sent out. I can't think of a better incentive, so donate today and receive yours in the mail soon! [I'll send them abroad, too!]

I can't think of any better way to spend $5 than to donate to this fantastic place. Can you?

And if you would like to follow the exploits of Team Rhodes, we are also on Twitter [@LynxRun4StJude] and Instagram [@rhodesruns4stjude].

*Full disclosure: I have absolutely no idea where I'm going to be on Race Day, December 6th. I could still be in Memphis, I could be somewhere else in the continental United States, I could be in India, or I could be on the moon. There's really no telling, as it depends on work and money and a whole lot of other things. Regardless, I am still committed to raising money for St Jude, because I wholeheartedly believe in their mission, and wherever I find myself on December 6th, I'll run a 5k. You have my word on that.

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