The country music industry is known for their caring hearts. But when it comes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, they go the extra mile.
Country Cares for St. Jude, founded by Alabama’s Randy Owen in 1989, took place this past weekend (Jan. 11-14) at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., where country stars, the radio industry and media gathered to raise money for the children’s hospital and spend time with the children as they spread awareness for the great work being done by St. Jude, which was founded in 1962 by actor Danny Thomas. The event has since raised more than $750 million in pledges for the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The weekend started out with a visit to the hospital to meet and spend time with the children of St. Jude. Artists taking part in the weekend’s activities included Cam, Jerrod Niemann, Russell Dickerson, Danielle Bradbery, Drake White, Krystal Keith and newcomers Devin Dawson, Stephanie Quayle, Cale Dodds, Delta Rae, Walker McGuire, Trent Harmon, Kassi Ashton, Abby Anderson, Jillian Jacqueline and more.
“The cool thing about what Country Cares does, even before you realize what you’re learning, you’re learning that this community has taken it on to remind all of us that from the very beginning, til the end, that it is your responsibility as a human being, as a citizen of the country world to give back,” Cam said after visiting the hospital.
“Obviously, what they are doing for kids in treatment and care and offering the families that are coming in here too, all of that is amazing,” Cam added. “The fact that they don’t have to pay, the fact that their families can come and don’t have to pay for housing, the fact that these medicines are developed in-house, it’s a really incredibly amazing incubator for hope and answers that doesn’t exist in many other places.
Many of the children touched the hearts of the artists and put a smile on their face.
“There was a kid named John that came out to a show that we were doing for St. Jude and he had actually been here a decade ago when I first came and to see him being cancer free after all these years and St. Jude still paying attention, said Jerrod Niemann. “I love how no one is ever cut out, they’re still part of the family. To see a child now as an adult it was very surreal. Every little thing we do really matters and it’s so exciting to see people survive, especially kids—angels who stronger than most people.”
To close out the weekend, Brad Paisley was a surprise guest for the annual songwriter’s banquet on Saturday night, where he was presented with the Randy Owen Angels Among Us award. The award is given to individuals who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit. Past recipients included Darius Rucker and John Rich.
“This is the kind of place that changes you,” Brad said when accepting the award. “It re-focuses what’s important in life immediately, the moment you walk through these doors.”
After receiving the award Randy and Brad took turns performing their hits like “Mud On the Tires,” “Feels So Right,” “He Didn’t Have To Be,” “Dancin,’ Shaggin’ on the Boulevard,” “Waiting on a Woman,” “Mountain Music” and, the song of the night, “Angels Among Us.”
In addition, St Jude has launched a T-shirt campaign in order to create a giving movement and 80 country stars have jumped on board from the beginning to kick off the campaign.
The signature T-shirt will exclusively be available to those that become Partners In Hope, donors who give $20 per month to St. Jude’s work. The campaign features over 80 artists and influencers wearing the This Shirt Saves Lives t-shirts, including Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne, Cassadee Pope, Chris Janson, Chris Young, Cole Swindell, Darius Rucker, Dustin Lynch, Hunter Hayes, Jake Owen, Jon Pardi, Josh Turner, Kelsea Ballerini, Kip Moore, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Rascal Flatts, Scotty McCreery, and Thomas Rhett.
Country music artists who support St. Jude and its mission include Darius Rucker, Kelsea Ballerini, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldredge, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Maren Morris, John Rich, Florida Georgia Line, and many more.
To be a part of this campaign and help save lives, visit: www.thisshirtsaveslives.org. Supporters are encouraged to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in its efforts to end childhood cancer. To find out how you can donate, go to StJude.org.
Photos courtesy St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital