Trace Adkins, Charles Kelley, Justin Moore + More Take Inspiring Trip to St. Jude
“Inspiring” and “beautiful” are two words you’ll hear some of country music’s biggest stars using to describe a recent experience at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Trace Adkins, Charles Kelley, Justin Moore, Old Dominion and nearly a dozen other singers visited the hospital over the weekend, and it was a life-changing experience.
Kelley admits that this visit was different than his previous. He’s set to welcome his first baby in a month, so even though he and Lady Antebellum have been frequent supporters of the Memphis-based hospital, he never had a first-person point of view. Despite the colorful walls, smiles from patients fighting to beat cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and overall positive culture one finds at St. Jude, he still could help but fight back tears as he put himself in a parent’s shoes for the first time.
“These patients are in such great spirits, but it made me obviously sad for the parents a lot too, because you’re like, ‘What must that be like to get that news?’ And that helpless feeling.’”
Trace Adkins joined artists like Lanco, newcomer Jordan Rager and Drake White in encouraging fans to support the research hospital. When asked what he’d tell fans, the “Jesus and Jones” singer replied that he’d say the same thing he’s been saying for over a decade: “St. Jude is a beautiful, beautiful place. I mean that in every way.”
“Daddy’s Money” singer Brooke Eden was moved by the success rates in curing cancer (from 20 percent to 80 percent survival rates) since Danny Thomas built St. Jude over 50 years ago. She was also touched by a painting she saw on one of the hospital’s walls. Bright artwork — often created by the young boys and girls staying at the hospital — replaces the sterile white tile or stainless steel tools one is used to seeing.
In addition to touring the hospital grounds and spending time with patients (Kelley got his butt kicked in multiple games of Uno), Clare Dunn, Randy Owen of Alabama and Frankie Ballard joined the group for a little playtime prior to dinner. In the gallery above, you’ll see Ballard shooting hoops with one 18-year-old, and Justin Moore trying (and failing) to beat Mac at a game of Jenga.
“It’s one of the most uplifting, positive places on the planet,” Moore says of his experience, the third or fourth of his career.
The 27th annual Country Cares weekend included workshops and seminars for radio personalities and their sales staff to learn tips and tricks to more efficiently raise money for St. Jude. It’s a cause that’s nearly ubiquitous. In addition to country radio, numerous corporate sponsors pledge profits at select times each year to benefit the world-renowned research. Daily operating costs at St. Jude exceed $2 million because no patient or his or her family ever receives a bill, or has to worry about expenses. One young man named Adam recalled need a medicine that cost $35,000 per dose, and he needed over 80 doses. Not only did he not get a bill, he created Adam’s Army and has raised over $100,000 for St. Jude since last spring.
Taste of Country joins select Townsquare Media stations for a two-day radiothon each March.