Blytheville Community Raises $1.3 Million for St. Jude Over 24 Years

February 28, 2004 -- Posted at 4:52 p.m. CST

BLYTHEVIlLE -- Raising money for a good cause is always rewarding, and one town in Region 8 has spent the last two days doing just that. Thunder County radio, Cable Tel and Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority all worked together to raise money for St. Jude hospital...and the results are good.

During the last 24 years, the Blytheville Telethon has raised more than $1.3 million dollars for St. Jude hospital. Money that helps families like Lisa and Scott Jower. The Jowers lost their son Adam two years ago. He was at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis before he lost his fight against a brain tumor. The Jower family estimates that Adam's medical bills probably ran in the hundred of thousands...

"We were never billed for anything other than what our insurance would pay. When it came time for Adam to get in a wheelchair because he couldn't walk, they fitted him for a wheelchair and got him a custom wheelchair and helped us in anyway," said Lisa Jower.

So, you can understand why the Jower family supports St. Jude Hospital, but what about folks here in Region 8? Saturday's radio and cablethon in Blytheville helped raise thousands of dollars for research.

"This town in general, Mississippi county and Blytheville has very close ties to St. Jude. We're so close that you can be treated easily and we've had several children," said Ami Richardson, who is President of Epsilon Sigma Alpha. Her sorority, ESA, works to raise money for the St. Jude Hospital year round.

While his year marks the 24th annual telethon for St. Jude, and volunteers say it's nice to be able to help the children out, but they realize there are pros and cons.

Event coordinator Keith Cole said, "The good part about it is that sometimes you come back and you see the success rate of some of the patients that maybe you saw last year, that were undergoing treatments that were maybe really ill from radiation and chemotherapy. You see them this year and they're a hundred times better, the treatments have stopped their in remission. But the downside of it is, you may talk with someone last year and they're not here this year. You know their treatment didn't work."

"It is amazing to be a small community, how many people call in pledges and how much that you can pull together as a community, and raise so much money. But those children don't get a bill they are treated completely free," said Richardson.

And all that free treatment can add up for St. Jude. Raising money for can be a constant process.

"The money that we raised here last year, I think roughly $134,000 dollars, sounds like a lot of money, but it's not. When you put it into the scheme of things, you know, were able to run, with $134,000 dollars St. Jude for a few hours," said Cole...And it's those dollars and the effort that makes the difference.