Fifteen years ago, my family moved to China Spring and we were lucky to meet John and Brenda Stephens and their amazing family. Their daughter, Emily, was in middle school at the time and would become one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. Emily was diagnosed with brain stem cancer when she was 4 years old and had to receive treatments throughout her childhood and early adulthood. Even with this unimaginable obstacle in her way, Emily went on to became the Valedictorian of CSHS ’12, President of the Waco Chapter of the National Charity League, editor of the yearbook and captain of the China Spring HS dance team. After high school, she attended the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business and graduated with high honors. Unfortunately, Emily lost her battle with cancer a few years ago. Her life may have ended sooner than any of us wanted, but she made the most of the years she was given. Since meeting the Stephens, they have shared with me the tremendous impact St. Jude made in their lives and the lives of so many families dealing with childhood cancer. There is no doubt that the fighting spirit Emily showed her entire life was fostered by her family but also by the amazing staff at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
I am honored to be a St. Jude Hero! I have chosen to run for a reason bigger than myself by fundraising for the kids and families at St. Jude. Did you know:
- Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food - because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
- Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer.
- St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.