Region 8 Raises $100K for St. Jude Hospital

February 1, 2004 -- Posted at 7:27 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--The big game was on Sunday night and plenty of folks were gathered 'round the television in the yearly ritual of Superbowl Sunday. One watch party in Region 8 was doing more than just waiting for the commercials. Before the game even started, folks were speculating on who would win.

Zack Bare said, "Probably the patriots."
Rebekah Flannigan disagreed, "I'm going to go with the panthers."
John Hutchinson was almost undecided. "It's going to be a close game....but I'm going to pull for the Patriots."

Susan Cathacart was the Event Organizer for the St. Jude Superbowl 'Stravaganza.
"Whose playing? I don't know! I don't cheer for anybody, I'm here to support St. Judes!" laughed Cathacart.

Folks from all over Region 8 gathered tonight at the Northeast Arkansas fairgrounds to raise money for the St. Jude Superbowl Sunday 'Stravaganza.

But event organizers have been planning this party for more than a decade...

"We started this party 11 years ago in memory of our daughter. We had a child that was a patient at St. Jude's. Donna was nine years old and she died at St. Jude's 10 years ago, and we started this party right after she died, so we could give back to the hospital for all they had done for us. It's an absolutely wonderful place," said Cathacart.

Event organizers say this year's fundraiser expects to raise more than $100,000. Money that the folks from St. Jude's in Memphis say they are more than happy to receive.
"This kind of event is really important because it serves two purposes. Not only does it raise the awareness of what's going on at the hospital, but it raises the much needed funds that the hospital needs to maintain daily operating costs," said Nikia Johnson, associate director for St. Jude Hospital.

Folks were able to catch the game--and the commercials--on one of the 18 big screen televisions, enjoy some huge spreads of food and bid on items in a silent auction....all in the name of charity.

John Hutchinson was enjoying the crawfish bin and said that helping the kids was the real reason he was there.
"These young kids help and they need all the finest care that money can buy...and that's the reason that I support them," said Hutchinson.

"We've come out here for several years. My fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, used to work this and that's when we first came out here. Now we've made it kind of a tradition to come out here and meet know, enjoy the game, good food. Granted all this is great, but the bottom line is St. Jude," said Jarred Woodard.

Folks from Region 8 have raised more than half a million dollars in the last eleven years at this Superbowl party.