Earlier this month, I had the profound experience of visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids weekend. Essentially, it’s a three-day seminar where radio stations go to Memphis, Tenn., to learn how to raise money for the hospital. I was there follow that experience and interview the country singers who also come to hospital for the seminar.
I was forever changed by the experience. I cannot explain every reason why, but I can say I’m not the only one. Darius Rucker was also on hand that weekend to receive the Randy Owen Angels Among Us Award, which recognizes individuals who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit.
Country Cares — the annual radioathons that are facilitated by hundreds of country radio stations across the U.S. every year — all started because of Alabama lead singer Randy Owen. Twenty years later, Darius is part of the country royalty that further the genre’s participation with the hospital. Darius Rucker and Friends is the annual concert the South Carolina native throws each year that has raised $800,000 for St. Jude over the past seven years.
The former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman felt compelled to help after first visiting the hospital with Dierks Bentley.
“I was so moved by everybody,” he told One Country and other media outlets. “I was moved by the doctors, administrators and the kids, of course. …I wanted to do something on a regular basis to help that.”
St. Jude treats only children and makes sure that their families never have to pay a dime for their services. They are also constantly working to cure childhood cancer and develop new, more effective treatments for a variety of illnesses.
“Keep giving,” Darius asks. “It’s an amazing place. It does amazing things. The fact that no parent goes there and has to worry about getting themselves there, where they’re going to stay and how they’re going to eat. I can’t imagine having a sick kid and you’re worried about your kid every day and in the back of your mind you’re thinking ‘how am I going to pay for this?’ At St. Jude they don’t have to worry about it. I would tell my fans to keep giving, keep supporting St. Jude because they’re doing amazing things.