Country music stars Randy Owen, Ronnie Dunn, Justin Moore, The Band Perry, Jake Owen, Joey + Rory and Casey James were just a few of the stars to descend on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help officially kick-off the annual Country Cares for St. Jude Kids radiothon season. Country Cares brings together all facets of the music industry with one goal: to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
More than 30 artists including Katie Armiger, Frankie Ballard, Craig Campbell, Due West, Margaret Durante, Edens Edge, Ashley Gearing, the JaneDear girls, The Grascals, Walker Hayes, JT Hodges, Steve Holy, Josh Kelley, Jennette McCurdy, Randy Montana, Troy Olsen, Jessica Ridley, Joanna Smith, Darren Warren, Karli Whetstone and Eli Young toured the hospital to meet with patients and help raise awareness for St. Jude, the nation’s top children’s cancer hospital.
This year, more than 800 artists, label representatives, radio station personnel and executives continued the Country Care’s legacy by attending the event at St. Jude. Now in its 22nd year, Country Cares is one of the nation’s largest radio fundraising programs, having generated more than $385 million for St. Jude since it began in 1989.
The program was created by Country Music Hall of Famer Randy Owen, who appealed to his fellow country music artists, radio stations and loyal country music listeners to help support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude, where no child is ever turned away because of a family’s ability to pay.
“It’s been incredible to see country radio and the country music industry embrace this program the way it has,” said Owen. “St. Jude has held a special place in my heart since I met Danny many years ago and it’s been really great to see how much progress has been made with cancer research since the time we started this program in 1989.”
St. Jude’s mission is to find cures for kids suffering from cancer and other deadly diseases. It does this by combining world-class research with first-class patient care and teams of doctors and researchers working together under one roof to find new and better treatments. In, fact, St. Jude has helped push the survival rate of childhood cancer from 20 percent in 1962 to 80 percent today. And, the survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has risen from just 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today thanks to St. Jude’s pioneering research and care.
Attendees also met with some of the patients and their families to hear their stories and learn why this is such a critical program for the mission of the hospital.
“The parents are always the ones hit the hardest; you have to keep that in mind. But they have to be strong and this place, St. Jude, helps. It’s the way they take care of everything, the way they care for the family as a whole. It’s phenomenal,” said Ronnie Dunn. “When I go home, I’m going to tell my wife and my kids how lucky we are to be healthy and how lucky we are to have a facility like this available to everyone.”
The weekend concluded with the annual songwriter’s dinner, which celebrates the commitment of the country music industry to St. Jude and salutes the talent of country music songwriters with featured performances by the writers of many country hits.
To learn more visit www.countrycares.org.