We don’t hear enough about the philanthropic giving of fraternal and social organizations within the black community. We know the organizations collect dues and provide local programs but they also provide financial support to causes that affect our community. These causes include education, breast cancer awareness, nutrition, HIV & AIDS prevention and yes, childhood cancer, to name a few. One such childhood cancer cause is my favorite, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
I first learned about the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s partnership with St. Jude when I visited the campus back in May. I remember being so excited to see the Kappa’s Sunday of Hope wall. As a fellow PanHell member, I felt an immediate personal connection to the hospital. I later learned that all nine of the black Greek-letter organizations have committed to supporting St. Jude year-round. To date, the organizations have collectively donated nearly $2 million to St. Jude. They have done so through various individual programs including: Sunday of Hope, a faith-based program where churches are recruited to support St. Jude; Give thanks. Walk, an annual walkathon in over 70 markets across the country; Girls Night In, a peer-to-peer fundraising event where members host individual social gatherings; and Game Day Give Back, a peer-to-peer fundraising event where members host Super Bowl parties. Coming up on November 22, team chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. will walk in the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk as National Gold and Silver Level teams, respectively.
To thank the organizations, St. Jude invited members of the organization’s leadership to be recognized during the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend. The evening was amazing! St. Jude brought their Memphis hospitality to Washington, D.C. Not to mention, the National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., asked me to accept the award on her behalf, as she had to attend another event. ME?! Little ol’ me?! I humbly and graciously accepted. I think it took me about a week to get over the shock and another few days to stop welling up with happy tears. However, nothing compared to the emotion-filled presentation by St. Jude patient-celebrity Kimberlin George.
Kimberlin took the stage strong and proud like the fighter she is. In 1982 she became the first person to be cured of sick cell anemia. She was cured by the doctors at St. Jude with the use of a life-saving blood transfusion to cure her Acute Myeloid Leukemia. As we all sat and listened to Kimberlin tell her story there wasn’t a dry eye in the room – including her own. She ended her remarks by reminding the NPHC organizations how important their support is and how grateful she always will be to the St. Jude community. St. Jude isn’t just a place where she was cured, it is a home away from home and the staff are like her family.
Kimberlin’s name is just one of thousands that St. Jude has saved. The research center would not be able to do the work it does without the generosity of organizations like the Divine Nine. Patients like Kayla, Khamoni andEthan may not be here were it not for the hope St. Jude gives to them and their families.
I’m proud to be a member of the Divine Nine. It makes me even prouder as a St. Jude blogger to know my sorority believes in and goes the extra mile for children who need us so much.
Dare to make a difference! Stand with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help make a difference in the lives of children living with a devastating diagnosis. “Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.” Learn more about how you can partner with St. Jude and help fulfill founder Danny Thomas’ dream of a day when no child dies in the dawn of life.
To join a team, form a team or donate for the November 22, St. Jude Give Thanks Walk, visit givethankswalk.org
Check out highlights from the St. Jude/ CBC reception: