Saddling up for St. Jude

Published 8:14 am Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When the dust had settled on the Saddle Up for St. Jude Trail Ride at After All Acres on Saturday, a tad more than $10,000 had been raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Max Ellis, who along with B.B. Palmer and Murray Langford, sponsored the fundraising event, said he had just kind of pulled a $10,000 goal out of his hat.

“I don’t know where I came up with that amount but I said that we weren’t leaving without reaching it and we didn’t.”

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Ellis thanked the many who came to enjoy the three-hour round trip trail ride from At All Acres near Springhill across the meadows and through the woods to L&L Lakes.

“Most of those who participated were on horseback and we had all ages, from small kids to grandparents,” Ellis said. “We also had several wagons and buggies. It was a beautiful day for a trail ride and one with a very worthy end.”

Every penny raised by the Saddle Up Trail Ride was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is a leading center in the fight against childhood cancers and other catastrophic diseases.

Ellis said everything from the food to the auction items and from the chuck wagon gang to the entertainment was donated.

“People really came on board with donations and the support for the ride was tremendous,” he said. “We thank everyone who worked so hard to make this trail ride a success and all of those who came and made it a success.”

The real success of the Saddle Up for St. Jude Trail Ride will be in the impact of the dollars raised for research and treatment of childhood cancers.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has played a leading role in researching and treating these diseases over the past 10 years and the five-year cancer survival rate continues to rise.

Andrew Ellis, philanthropic advisor for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, said that in 1962, the five-year survival rate for acute lymphoblast leukemia (cancer of the blood) was 4 percent. Today, it’s 94 percent. For Osteosarcoma (bone cancer), the five-year survival rate was 20 percent. Today, it’s 65 percent. For medulloblastoma (a type for brain tumor), the five-year survival rate was 10 percent. Today, its 85 percent.

“Those numbers are an indication of the lives that are being saved because people saddle up for St. Jude’s and participate in dozens of other fundraisers to help ‘Danny kids,’ Ellis said.

“We have one million volunteers and 32,000 events each year that raise the funds needed to continue to operate St. Jude at a cost of $1.7 million a day,” Ellis said. “No child is ever turned away for inability to pay. If a family has insurance and that insurance is depleted, they never receive a bill from St. Jude. Our mission is to cure childhood cancers and because of the tremendous support St. Jude receives, we are meeting our financial goal the funds the research that saves lives.”

Ellis said that, since 1962 more than 22,000 children have received the services of St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

“And it’s all because of people like those here today,” he said. “What a wonderful gift to the children of St. Jude.”