MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Television news
anchor Joe Birch made a commitment
to himself and his community 20 years ago – to lace up, run and
support the kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
® while fundraising as a St. Jude Hero ®.
That promise became a 20-year commitment and because of his
dedication to Memphis and
supporting St. Jude kids, Birch has been named the 2021 St. Jude
Hero Among Us.
The Hero Among Us award is given each year during St. Jude
Memphis Marathon® Weekend presented by Juice
Plus+® to a St. Jude Hero who exemplifies what it means
to participate with purpose for the kids of St. Jude, going the
extra mile to ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude,
not for treatment, travel, housing or food. St. Jude Heroes are
athletes who fundraise while training to support the lifesaving
mission of St. Jude: Finding cures. Saving children.
The lifelong Memphian is a familiar face to many in the MidSouth
as the longtime news anchor at WMC News Channel 5 in Memphis, where he has been supporting the
lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital each
December during St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.
Birch was among the 2,900 participants at the first St. Jude
Memphis Marathon Weekend in 2002 and is one of just a handful of
people who have participated every year since. In addition, Birch
has brought St. Jude into the homes of millions by telling the
stories of dedicated St. Jude Heroes® running a virtual
race in their hometowns in 2019 to patient families whose bravery
and tenacity continue to inspire and supporters in Memphis who won't stop until no child dies
from cancer. More than 30 runners have participated in all 20 years
of this event. Some of their personal stories are featured on St.
"Joe Birch has been a tireless
hometown champion of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for more
than two decades and he continues to further its lifesaving mission
through his commitment to our cause," said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of
ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital. "His efforts may be focused locally
in our beloved Memphis, but his
impact is global. Support from St Jude Heroes like Joe allows St.
Jude to embark on its six-year, $11.5
billion strategic plan to impact the more than 400,000 kids
afflicted with cancer around the world each year. On this 20th
anniversary of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, I honor all
St. Jude Heroes and I am grateful for Joe, our St. Jude Hero Among
Us, a loyal friend to our community who will always be part of our
St. Jude family."
This is not the first time Birch has been recognized for his
philanthropic efforts. He received the Legacy Award in 2016 from
ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, for
running 15 years as a St. Jude Hero. In his 20 years supporting St.
Jude, he has rallied his supporters to raise tens of thousands of
dollars for the kids of St. Jude. Among many other honors, Birch
was the 2004 recipient of the Frank
Horton Award, given annually by the Memphis Runners Track
Club to recognize exceptional volunteerism by a person.
Since 2002, when 2,900 marathon and half marathoners took to the
streets of Memphis for the first-ever St. Jude Memphis
Marathon Weekend, tens of thousands of participants have united for
what has become the largest single-day fundraiser for St.
Jude, a marquee event that not only brings families, friends,
neighborhood associations, and businesses together for a purpose,
but also creates global awareness around the important work that
happens every day at St. Jude.
Childhood cancer is a multi-trillion-dollar, multi-year problem.
Fundraising campaigns like St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend
and the fans who support it fuel the overarching $11.5 billion, six-year St. Jude strategic plan,
which includes tripling its global investment to impact the more
than 400,000 kids with cancer around the world each year.
About St. Jude Children's Research
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% to more than 80%
since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't
stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude 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 so that all a family
should worry about is helping their child live. Visit St. Jude
Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength,
love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by
visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following
St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and
subscribing to its YouTube channel.
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SOURCE ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital