A Week With St. Jude

I spent the week with ALSAC — the fundraising organization at St. Jude — with half a dozen Relay folks and a few hundred other content creators who are using their platforms for fundraising.

(Most of the events were at the Peabody Hotel here in Memphis, so there were some ducks hanging around as well.)

Those creators ranged from fitness and health to beauty and fashion to gamers and us podcasters. We spent time hearing from folks at St. Jude about the hospital’s mission and the tools it is developing to enable communities to fundraise in new and existing ways.

St. Jude sign

It quickly became apparent to me that while we exist in different online spaces, our group of nerdy podcasters are really doing the same thing as people streaming games on Twitch, throwing online dance parties, or talking to their followers about health or fashion. We all want to rally our communities to get them excited about the life-saving work of St. Jude.

In just a couple of weeks, my family will celebrate the 15th anniversary of our son’s cancer diagnosis. This fall, he will turn 16 and is doing very well. He continues to be an inspiration to us, but 15 years is a long time, and some times those early years feel like they happened to someone else.

One of my favorite things over the last week was going on a tour of the St. Jude campus. While I know it well, it was really something to watch other people get to experience it for the first time. The sheer scale of St. Jude is hard to convey unless you’re walking around some of the buildings, learning about the interplay of research and patient care that is unique to St. Jude.

Getting back on the bus after the campus tour, people are buzzing about what they had seen, making conversation about what struck them the most. It was refreshing to hear the excitement, knowing that all of these creators now feel supercharged to go back and tell their communities about what they had seen.

For us, that will start when September rolls around. We’re hard at work planning the campaign and the 12-hour Podcastathon, which will take place on Friday, September 20.

Until then, I want to leave you with these photos that Casey Liss snapped on our campus tour:

St. Jude notes