This October, when 19-year-old Adam straps on his helmet to participate in the 2017 St. Jude Ride, he’ll have a little more motivation than most. For Adam, the race presents an opportunity to give back to the hospital that saved his life.
Adam had always been an active and busy teen in Memphis. From summer projects to sports, he was constantly on the go. When Adam started feeling tired, it was easy to chalk it up to a busy schedule. However, weeks later blood tests revealed Adam had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his treatment and care.
At St. Jude, Adam’s treatment plan included two-and-a-half-years of chemotherapy. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened over 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90%, and it won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
Even as Adam underwent treatment, he was determined to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude. “It’s important for me to give back because my family has been given so much at no charge,” he said. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food because it believes all a family should worry about is helping its child live.
In January of this year, Adam and his family celebrated the end of his treatment with a No More Chemo party. Still Adam continues to fundraise and raise awareness through events like the St. Jude Ride. “It sounded like a fun and exciting event to get involved in,” he said. “Little did I know, it would be one of my favorite fundraising opportunities because of the competitiveness and bonding between the teams. It can be a very physically challenging event, but when you think about what my friends are going through at St. Jude, it’s nothing.”
Now that Adam is finished with treatment, he will begin his sophomore year this fall at Rhodes College, where he is attending on a full scholarship.
By Carlos Sepulveda