ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – On this beautiful day at sea, Payton Stinnett is hugging a new friend, a cuddly teddy bear wearing a Carnival T-shirt. Although this is her favorite souvenir from the Carnival Magic cruise, the Dallas girl also knows that the stuffed animal her mother just bought is helping raise money for a very worthy cause – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“It’s to help other kids,” Payton explained.
Since December 2009, Carnival Cruise lines has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis to raise $3 million.
Once the cruise line successfully raised it’s initial $3 million, the company extended its commitment to raise an additional $5 million over the next four years. Carnival also has signed on to become St. Jude’s Official Celebration Partner.
“We hope that our fun in-hospital celebrations will bring smiles to kids’ faces and the funds raised will support St. Jude’s life-saving research and education programs,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO, in announcing the new goal.
OFFICIAL CELEBRATION PARTNER
As Official Celebration Partner, Carnival will help patients celebrate special moments at the hospital, including birthdays which will feature a new gift from Carnival specially created for St. Jude kids.
A variety of new fund-raising activities, both on board and ashore, are planned as part of Carnival’s ongoing support to St. Jude in the fight against pediatric cancer. Carnival has revamped the St. Jude portal with its website (www.carnival.com/stjude) which includes information on the expanded partnership and an updated chart reflecting progress toward the new $5 million fund-raising goal.
“St. Jude is a wonderful organization that provides no-cost care to children from around the world,” said Carnival Magic Cruise Director James Dunn. St. Jude also helps families of those children. The leading researcher on rare childhood diseases and cancers, St. Jude has an amazing 80 percent success rate.
GROOVE FOR ST. JUDE ON CRUISES
One of the big events on Carnival vessels is the Groove for St. Jude, a dance party hosted by the voyage’s cruise director. Participants sign up for a $10 donation, with all money going directly to St. Jude. Participants get a “Groove for St. Jude” logo T-shirt and a “Care to Play” wristband to wear at the event.
A popular Beary Buddy workshop also offers a St. Jude Bear, specifically designed for the program. The St. Jude-themed bears come complete with a “birth certificate” signifying that this is a special bear. Proceeds go to the St. Jude fundraiser.
DANNY THOMAS FOUNDED ST. JUDE
As a side note, I grew up watching the “Danny Thomas Show” on our very small screen television at home. He is the comedian who went on to found St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As a starving actor, the story goes that Danny Thomas made a vow. If he found success, he would open a shrine dedicated to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. The actor never forgot his promise. After becoming famous in the early 1950s, Danny and his wife built St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Opened in 1962, the hospital for needy children turns away no suffering child. It cares for children regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. Danny Thomas fervently believed that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”
Danny Thomas died of heart failure at age 79 on Feb. 6, 1991. He is interred on the grounds of St. Jude in Memphis. When his wife of 55 years, Rose Marie, died in July 2000, she was buried alongside him.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch