More than 900 people in the country music industry - including radio personalities, artists, executives, label representatives and media - are gathered in Memphis this weekend for special performances and industry-insider events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids® radio program. Since its inception in 1989, led by ALABAMA's Randy Owen, Country Cares has pioneered radio philanthropic fundraising, raising a record more than $800 million for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: Finding cures. Saving children.®
In celebration of this historic fundraising landmark, and in recognition of his steadfast commitment to the St. Jude mission, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has presented Owen and his family with the dedication of a patient family room. Owen has lead the charge to establish St. Jude as the charity of choice for the country music industry through his 30-year dedication. Country Cares is anchored by annual radiothons, comprised of 200 radio stations who share the mission of St. Jude with their listeners through various promotions and programming methods.
"Randy Owen has rallied the country music community like no other for 30 years to make a tremendous difference in helping St. Jude fulfill its lifesaving mission for our patients and their families," says Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "He is proof, like our founder Danny Thomas was, that one person can make a remarkable difference in this world. With the help of his friends in the country music industry, he was instrumental in starting the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program, and we are forever indebted to Randy and his family for their years of generosity."
Country Cares for St. Jude Kids was born in 1989 when Randy Owen addressed the Country Radio Seminar in Danny Thomas' place, asking his friends in the industry to make a difference. Now in 2019, more than 200 radio stations around the country take part in the program, and musicians like Owen are serving as mentors for up-and-coming artists to work with St. Jude. Artists who have participated include Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Brad Paisley, Hunter Hayes, Kelsea Ballerini, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Justin Moore, Big & Rich, and many more.
"The most important thing I'll ever do, apart from being a father and a husband, is helping children at St. Jude," notes Owen. "Over the past 30 years, I've watched children at St. Jude grow up to be happy, healthy adults. This room dedication shows that the country music industry has made a true impact, and I'm glad I could be part of that."
Following the Country Cares format, St. Jude radio programs now reach beyond country music - including gospel, rock and Hispanic platforms. Because of programs like these, families at St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food - because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
*Photo courtesy of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
It's been 50 years since Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen left the cotton farms of Fort Payne, Alabama to spend the summer playing music in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina bar called The Bowery. It's a classic American tale of rags to riches. From humble beginnings picking cotton in the fields, to international stars that went on to sell 80 million albums, while changing the face and sound of country music. Quality songs that have become the soundtrack for American life are the foundation for ALABAMA's stellar career. The group introduced rock style guitars, lights, pyrotechnics and sounds to the country audience that has inspired many of today's brightest country stars including Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. While their music continues to stand the test of time, their numbers and stats are beyond compare. Almost five decades since starting the band, ALABAMA has charted 43 #1 singles, including 21 #1 singles in a row, and have won dozens of CMA, GRAMMY®, and ACM Awards. They are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame and have their own star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, they are world-class philanthropists who have raised millions of dollars for various charities. ALABAMA is currently on the road celebrating five decades of music on their historic "50th Anniversary Tour."
For more information on ALABAMA, visit thealabamaband.com or follow the band on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food - because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter and Instagram and subscribing to its YouTube channel.