Roadrunner, St. Jude celebrate $147,000 donation drive for the research hospital

Sue Guinn Legg • Dec 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Cade Watson, a 13-year old brain cancer survivor from Chilhowie, Va., are loyal Roadrunner Market customers and with very good cause.

At the Millennium Centre in Johnson City on Wednesday to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Roadrunner’s 92 store managers celebrate the stores’ record $147,000 donation drive for St. Jude, Cade and his mom wanted the store’s associates and customers to know what every dollar given means to families like them.

“It’s a nice facility,” said Cade, who missed his entire fifth-grade year of school for a lifesaving, nine-month stay at the Memphis hospital. “It’s a great place to be when your sick.”

“He was at St. Jude for nine months for a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy and radiation,” Cade’s mother, Jolene Watson, said. “During that, St. Jude took care of everything for us, accommodations, food cards, travel, everything we needed.

“The first hospital we went to told us there was nothing we could do but take him home and love him. St. Jude gave us so much hope.”

Cade completed fifth grade the following year. He’s in middle school now, cancer free and recently graduated from two-year’s worth of follow-up visits to St. Jude every three months. He now goes on follow-up trips to Memphis every six months.

“Every dollar makes a difference,” his mother said. “There are people who can’t give much but they can give a dollar. One dollar makes a difference; 50 cents makes a difference. It all adds up.”

John Kelly, chief operating officer for Roadrunner, gave credit for this year’s record-setting one-month collection of $147,132 for St. Jude to the managers, associates and customers of 92 stores located between Black Mountain, N.C., Columbia, S.C., Wythe County, Va., and Morristown.

“We have a lot of fund-raisers but this one is something our managers are passionate about,” Kelly said. “We have many customers who have been to St. Jude. This is one our customers drive.”

For the second consecutive year, the Roadrunner market located on West Walnut Street beside the campus of East Tennessee State University was the top fundraising store in the company’s October St. Jude campaign. The market on West State Street in Bristol was first runnerup.

To thank all of the store managers gathered at the Millennium Centre for Wednesday’s check presentation, St. Jude Event Marketing Representative Courtney Kissack brought along a video message of appreciation from young St. Jude patients and their parents and siblings who thanked “St. Jude and the people who give money to St. Jude ... for saving lives and breathing life back into families that have been kept whole.”

Expressing her own appreciation to Roadrunner, Kissack said, “Thank you for what you’ve done year after year for the kids and families at St. Jude.”

Kissack noted St. Jude’s Thanks and Giving campaign is ongoing. “There are many places where you can donate a dollar. Tell your friends and family.”

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