Brian, Chrissy, and I had the amazing opportunity to see the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN a few weeks ago and I had no idea I'd come back with the stories I did. I just wish one of them didn't involve getting a St. Jude survivor in trouble!

It was a long day, I was exhausted and probably not thinking clearly when I saw a kid in the lobby with a St. Jude shirt on hanging out by the desserts. I started talking to him about which ones he'd order and what looked good.

After a while, somehow, Tyler and I started investigating the desserts closely and maybe even destroyed one or two (no one said this was the right thing to do or that I was a good influence but it happened). One of the people from the hotel noticed came over and reprimanded us. Oops!

After getting yelled at, it did give me a chance to talk to Tyler's mother where I learned first-hand how St Jude's helped him. He used to be a germaphobe and shy, and his experience opened him up and here we were touching desserts we shouldn't have been, together. If his Mother never said anything, I would never have known he ever had cancer. That's because of St. Jude's.

She also explained the "Legacy Bead Program." It was created to acknowledge the journey that the patients travel through their illness. Each bead symbolizes something different, from a birthday to a surgery to an MRI and emotional changes like good/bad days, homesickness, or even hair loss. You can imagine that with each journey, the strands of beads could be incredibly long. Tyler's Mom told me that his strand is so long, they can wrap it around their Christmas tree!

You can also donate by phone at: 1-800-372-4999

Or, text DONATE to 785833.

Being at the hospital and learning about St. Jude's was incredible but nothing compares to the memory I had with an actual survivor seeing first hand what it could do. This little boy's story pulled at my heartstrings and without St. Jude's, this little boy may not have gotten the incredible care he did and I would have never had the opportunity to share this memory with him and his family.

Jessica Sims/Townsquare
Jessica Sims/Townsquare


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