Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Running for a Reason: St. Jude Heroes Pre-Race Pasta Party

After an uneventful trip to Nashville Friday morning and wandering around the expo for an hour or two, Mr. Smith Summary and I got checked into our hotel for the night and then headed back to Music City Center for the St. Jude Heroes Pre-Race Pasta Party.



When we arrived at Grand Ballroom A, we were greeted by the St. Jude Heroes staff who lined both sides of the entry way, cheering for us as we walked in.  It reminded me of when football players enter the field before a game.  I felt like a superstar!



Once we found a table we went outside to the buffet.  They had SO much food to chose from!  Salad, grilled vegetables, two different types of pasta with two different sauces, and of course, bread.  Once we filled our plates we went back in to take our seats.



The program began with a welcome from the emcee for the evening, Suzanne Alexander, the host from GAC Daily Countdown.  She then introduced the St. Jude/ALSAC Chief Administrative Officer, Emily Greer, who announced the top fundraising individuals and groups.  I was amazed to hear that the Country Music Marathon St. Jude Heroes collectively raised 1.3 million dollars for St. Jude!  


We were then introduced to the Moody family, whose daughter Lela is a St. Jude patient.  Jeff Moody came to the stage and spoke about his daughter, who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at just 6 weeks of age.  He along with his wife Mandy made the brave decision to have her eye removed because of the cancer.  He was running his first marathon on Saturday in honor of his daughter.  Sadly, Lela's cancer has returned but they have so far been able to spare her second eye.  Lela joined her dad at the microphone; she is now 2 years old and reminded me so much of my little Morgan, I just about lost it at the table.  I'm pretty sure there was not a dry eye in the house when he finished his story!

Jeff and Lela - Photo provided by St. Jude

While we munched on the yummy mini-dessert tray at the table, 3 singer/songwriters from Nashville got on the stage next to entertain us for a bit with some of their work - Gordon Kennedy, Jaron Boyler, and Michael Tyler.  They each sang two songs that they had written, acoustic style.  I was familiar with Gordon Kennedy's "Change the World" (recorded by Eric Clapton for the movie Phenomenon) but the others I had not heard, and a few have not been recorded by an artist yet.  I told Owen we might have just heard the next #1 country hit song tonight!


After the music ended, Suzanne politely told us to "go home" and get rest for the big day!!  The entire event lasted almost two hours but it went by so quickly - I have to say it was the highlight of the weekend!


We were getting ready to head back to the hotel but I couldn't resist a picture in front of the St. Jude backdrop.

Running 13.1 miles for St. Jude in the morning - but first - #LetMeTakeASelfie

To find more information about becoming a St. Jude Hero, click here.