I have run as a St. Jude Hero for over a dozen races over the last four years and find it rewarding time and time again. I’ve been on the hospital campus and have seen the amazing things that are happening in Memphis and know that by running as a Hero I am helping to make those miracles happen every day. Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that really make an impact. I realized after a couple of years that I had inspired others through my fundraising to become a St. Jude Hero also. The more people that are out there working to make a difference the more effective the program becomes.
There are days when it’s stressful, there are times when you don’t feel like posting your fundraising link on Facebook again, there are fundraising ideas that don’t quite yield the results you were hoping. But I listened to a St. Jude patient’s mother last year at the Heroes pasta party tell her story. She was getting ready to run her first half marathon the next day, and her words resonated more than anything I have ever listened to. She talked about her strength as a runner coming from watching her child’s strength as they battled. Her final sentence:
“Running is hard, but cancer is hard too.”
What is St. Jude?
Each year the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, helps thousands of children battle through childhood cancers. It does so at zero cost to the patients and their families. This means that no family ever sees a bill from St. Jude, not just for medical care but also for travel, food or housing. This is possible through contributions made through various outlets that help fundraise the $2 million it takes to operate the hospital each day.
What is a St. Jude Hero?
The St. Jude Heroes program was developed as a means for runners to fundraise for the hospital while participating in races across the country, most prominently at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekend held annually in December and the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2 Marathon weekend (formerly known as the Country Music Marathon). In 2016, the Heroes program has expanded to be a featured charity partner at most North American Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event weekends.
How do I fundraise as a St. Jude Hero?
With the opportunity for more fundraising comes the opportunity for a little more confusion. So here’s a quick breakdown of the fundraising levels and process!
This means that you do not have a minimum fundraising requirement. You must still purchase your race entry as normal. You will still qualify for incentives such as the St. Jude Heroes Race Singlet and any add ons. This is a great option if you have never done fundraising before and aren’t sure how your network of friends, family and neighbors will respond. There’s no pressure, no deadline — and it’s all going to work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
This is the lowest fundraising minimum, usually $500. This level guarantees your race entry, Heroes singlet, and (depending on the event) a few other raceday perks like separate gear check and private pre-race bathrooms.
Usually a $1,000 fundraising commitment, this level includes all that the Bronze level does but also usually includes a pasta dinner the night before the race. Especially if you are thinking of running the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville, then you don’t want to miss this event! Each year, St. Jude brings in patients and families to tell their stories and help show how your fundraising efforts are helping to make a difference in their lives.
This $3,000 fundraiser earns your hotel accommodations for two nights on race weekend. The hosting hotel is usually near the start of the race.
As a $4,500 fundraiser ,you not only earn race entry, pasta party and hotel accommodations, but you will also earn your airfare roundtrip to the race weekend.
How do I register to become a St. Jude Hero?
To register as a Hero, select your event and go through the registration process for your Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event as normal. Select “St. Jude Hero – Distance”, then select your fundraising level on the next page. Then complete the race registration like you do for every other Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event.
Choosing the fundraising level that is right for you and fits your needs is the easy part. Then you begin your fundraising! St. Jude has a simple-to-use and simple-to-customize website that allows you to reach out to your network of potential donors and tell your story about why you are running for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and why you want to make your miles count for more.
What if I’m already registered?
If you are already registered to run a race but still want to support St. Jude, no problem! You can always upgrade your registration to become a St. Jude Hero at the fundraising level of your choice. Then as you hit your fundraising goals, you will qualify for St. Jude perks, including refund of your original race registration. Don’t forget — you have an additional three weeks after the race to meet your fundraising target.
To upgrade, click the button below and complete your details. The team at St. Jude will be in touch!
Learn more about being a St. Jude Hero
Being a St. Jude Hero is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Completing a race can be hard, but knowing you are doing so for the benefit of others makes it that much more motivating. Add to that the amazing people you will meet along the way and the experiences you will share, and you can be sure that your time as a St. Jude Hero will be a memory that will last for a lifetime.Learn More about St. Jude