During the 5th annual St. Jude Spirit of the Dream, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital honored Penny Hardaway with the Spirit of the Dream Award, which is presented to a person who embodies the mission of St. Jude and its founder, Danny Thomas.
Taking place during Black History Month, the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event celebrates the achievements of African Americans who helped build the legacy of St. Jude and continue to support its lifesaving mission: Finding cures. Saving children.
In addition, St. Jude posthumously honored Dr. Trevor K Thompson with the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream Legacy Award, accepted by his wife, Cherry Whitehead-Thompson. Thompson founded the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee to help raise awareness and support for sickle cell disease, which St. Jude has been committed to treating and curing since the hospital opened in 1962.
This year’s sold out event was attended by more than 250 guests – including Memphis elected officials, African American community leaders, sponsors, members of National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations and longtime other St. Jude supporters – gathered to celebrate the achievements of African Americans who helped build the legacy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Since our doors opened in 1962, in the midst of the civil rights movement, the African American community has played a critical role in our mission. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has a rich history of inclusivity, founded on the idea that all families here would be treated equally. Renowned African-American architect Paul Williams was chosen to design our original hospital, and our founder Danny Thomas worked to desegregate the Memphis hospitality industry, insisting all patients were housed and treated equally,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Especially as we celebrate Black History Month, we cannot overstate our continual gratitude for inspiring individuals like Penny Hardaway and the late Dr. Thompson for making a positive impact on the lives of St. Jude families, the African American community and our beloved city of Memphis.”
Vice Chairman of the event, Jason Farmer, was among this year’s special guests. Farmer helped establish the event, playing an influencer role who encouraged others to get involved. He was recently honored with a Daily Point of Light Award from Points of Light, a global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world.
Because of events like St. Jude Spirit of the Dream, families at St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To make a donation through the event or learn more about the lifesaving mission of St. Jude, visit stjude.org/spiritofthedream.