Four cheerleaders made a visit to the hospital, including Lindsey R, Carrie, Laurie, and Jocey. This was the first visit to St. Jude for the cheerleaders, and an event that has long been on the squad's radar.
"I first had the desire to visit St. Jude and try to do my part to make a difference after hearing a campaign to raise money for the hospital on a local radio station" Lindsey R, a Titans cheerleader, said, "I couldn't help but tear up while trying to wrap my head around why these children were having to endure such a terrible time. These children should be running around outside, learning to ride their bike and going to birthday parties, not receiving treatments and restricted to a bed because their bodies are so weak. It was something I just couldn't get off my mind and heart."
Titans cheerleading veteran, Laurie, agreed, "I have wanted to visit St. Jude since I joined the squad. I believe that we have been given a great opportunity as Titans Cheerleaders to reach out to the community and really have a great impact in people's lives. I believe it is my responsibility to use my gifts to bring joy to others, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet such inspirational children."
The cheerleaders spent the whole day at the hospital, dancing for the crowd, taking pictures, signing autographs, and meeting the children. The purpose of the trip was for the cheerleaders to bring joy to the children's lives, but the children had just as much, if not more, of an impact on the cheerleaders.
"I think we all walked away in astonishment of how strong these little children are," Lindsey R said, "You would spend time with one child hearing them talk about life, strength, and being positive and you would start to think "wow, this child is wise beyond their years because of the life lessons they have had to learn so early on in life."
Laurie added, "The most emotional part of the day for me was when a 2-year old girl's mother brought us all bracelets that she had designed for her daughter. They were gray and pink: gray for brain cancer and pink for her daughter's favorite color. As I saw the scars on the sweet little girl's head, it was at that point that I realized just how real cancer is to these families and how they must face these diseases every day. I left with a greater appreciation for life and health and a new perspective on just how important attitudes and relationships are. We had a great time with the children, and I truly believe that we got more out of it than they did."
Titans Owner/Founder K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. has made quarterly donations to St. Jude's Hospital over the past four years as part of the Titans specialty license plate program. Sales of the Tennessee Titans specialty license plate has generated more than $1.7 million dollars for 10 charities across the state of Tennessee and the Tennessee Arts Commission during the 51 months the plates have been available for sale.
St. Jude's is one of 10 organizations selected by Adams and the Tennessee legislature to receive quarterly grants from the Titans Foundation from funds generated by the sale of the Titans license plate.
In addition to the recent cheerleader visit to St. Jude's, Titans players, T-Rac and Titans Radio personalities have made previous visits to the hospital during the annual Titans Caravan.
St. Jude Children's Hospital is known for its outstanding research and discoveries made everyday. The hospital specializes in treating children with cancer and life threatening diseases, and is home to America's second largest health-care charity.
For more information about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or to learn of ways you can help, visit www.stjude.org.