Annual awards honor top partners, volunteers and donors
MEMPHIS, Tenn., June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kmart was recognized as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Corporate Partner of the Year during the presentation of the ALSAC/St. Jude Volunteer Appreciation Awards on June 25. St. Jude honored partners, volunteers and donors from across the country at the annual event.
"We are so blessed to have compassionate champions of the St. Jude mission who are dedicated to helping our doctors and researchers find cures and save children battling catastrophic diseases," said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "Their generous support brings us closer to achieving our founder Danny Thomas' dream of a day when no child will die in the dawn of life. On behalf of everyone at St. Jude, congratulations and thank you to all of our award winners."
Kmart has raised nearly $17 million for St. Jude through the annual Thanks and Giving® fundraising campaign since 2006. In 2009, Kmart associates collected $6.9 million during the campaign – more than any other partner in a single year – despite the economy.
"Charitable giving is a huge part of our culture and something we strive to incorporate into everything we do in our stores and within our company," said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer of Kmart. "Partnering with important organizations like St. Jude is a privilege and a relationship that we cherish. We wouldn't be able to give as much as we do, without the help of our devoted employees and customers."
The ALSAC/St. Jude Volunteer Appreciation Awards recognize a wide range of St. Jude supporters – from corporate partners to volunteer groups to individual donors. Each year, more than five million donors and more than one million volunteers and corporate partners support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
Shadyac and Thomas' son Tony Thomas, member of the ALSAC/St. Jude Boards of Directors and Governors, presented the awards. Terre Thomas, who is one of Thomas' daughters and a member of the ALSAC/St. Jude Boards of Directors and Governors, attended the event.
In addition to Kmart, 2010 award winners include:
- Epsilon Sigma Alpha received "Special Recognition" for embracing the St. Jude mission during the past 38 years – more than any other group of St. Jude volunteers. ESA members' passion and enthusiasm for helping St. Jude kids has raised more than $135 million in cash and pledges for the hospital
- Marilyn Elledge, ALSAC/St. Jude senior vice president, Donor Care, was presented with the "Dedicated Service Award" for committing 30 years of her career to help St. Jude achieve its mission of finding cures and saving children.
- Ira Jackson of Waterford, Mich., was honored posthumously as the "Partner In Hope of the Year." His compelling story as a Partner in Hope donor inspired more than 1,500 former donors to pledge their support for St. Jude again.
- The Craig Witsoe family of Plano, Texas, was named "Volunteer of the Year" for mobilizing their community to raise more than $152,000 for St. Jude through the Dallas/Fort Worth area 2009 Give thanks. Walk. Employees of Witsoe's company, Lineage Power, raised more than $61,000 while Witsoe and his family personally raised more than $18,000 in honor of their son, a St. Jude patient, who has since lost his battle against cancer.
- Roy G. Gignac of Danville, Va., was honored as the "Cardinal Stritch Donor of the Year" in recognition of generously donating to St. Jude over the course of 25 years. Major gifts made by Gignac and his late wife, Joan, included an endowment that created the Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, which is held by St. Jude Scientific Director James Downing, M.D. In 2009, members of the extended Gignac family came to St. Jude for the dedication of The Joan F. Gignac Pharmacogenomics Research Laboratory, made possible by a gift from Gignac to St. Jude and the pioneering research of Mary Relling, PharmD, of St. Jude Pharmaceutical Sciences.
- Window World was honored as the "New Corporate Partner of the Year." A member of the St. Jude family since November 2008, Window World has already raised nearly $1 million and launched the "Opening Windows for St. Jude Kids" fundraising campaign.
- Averitt Express was recognized as "Employee Giving Partner of the Year" in appreciation of giving $2.8 million to St. Jude over 20 years through "Averitt Cares for Kids," the company's foundation. The donations endowed the Averitt Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinic at St. Jude in 1998.
- Quinten Castillo of Cheyenne, Wyo., received the "Jerry Nicholson Award" for his dedication to help other kids who are battling deadly diseases at St. Jude. The young man's efforts have resulted in thousands of dollars donated to the hospital.
- Chase Hamm, a St. Jude patient, was honored with the "Richard C. Shadyac Sr. Award" for generously sharing his experiences with countless St. Jude visitors and supporters to illustrate the hospital's unique mission.
- KTBS 3 / St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway and its champions received "Special Recognition" for trailblazing an innovative fundraising program 20 years ago in Shreveport, La. Since then, the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway has expanded to more than 40 markets and raised more than $175 million for St. Jude.
- The Wall Street Committee was named "Volunteer Group of the Year" in honor of more than two decades of supporting St. Jude with the annual Taste of New York Gala and a myriad of other fundraising events.
- Michael Francis, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Target, received the "Michael F. Tamer Award," which is ALSAC's highest honor. A tireless, tenacious advocate for St. Jude – and the father of a patient – Francis enthusiastically shares the St. Jude story to advance the St. Jude mission.
More awards recognizing exceptional volunteers and fundraisers will be awarded during an event in Memphis on July 27.
About St. Jude
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm. St. Jude was also named the nation's top children's cancer hospital in the 2010-11 Best Children's Hospitals rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, go to www.stjude.org.
SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital