New ‘Undefeated’ Video Remembers St. Jude Patient, Markell
Markell Gregoire was a St. Jude patient who inspired anyone with a heart, from Louisiana to Kentucky and beyond. The teen was also the centerpiece of an original song and video called “Undefeated,” released by radio station WBKR in 2014. A second video memorializes the 16-year-old, who died in February.
The teen once announced the New Orleans Saints first-round pick at the NFL draft, and during his nearly seven-year battle with cancer, he was a prominent face of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His death left his friends and family in and out of St. Jude heartbroken. The Saints even released a statement and tweeted the news:
Markell was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 10, and at that time, he admitted he thought that cancer equaled death.
“That’s exactly what I thought,” he told WBKR in 2015 before talking about how his St. Jude experience changed him. At the time he was battling cancer for the sixth time, telling the station’s Chadwick Benefield and Jaclyn Graves that he was on a winning streak, even though he lost a leg in 2012.
Later the cancer spread to his neck, spine and leg again. But Markell kept fighting, and he kept winning. “The fourth time it came back in my lungs. The fifth time it came back in my spine,” he said matter-of-factly. Everyone he met was inspired by his fight and "nothing can keep me down" spirit. Even the St. Jude nurses that treated him were moved, saying that it was an honor and privilege to help him.
WBKR's Benefield and Graves wrote and recorded "Undefeated" in 2014 after meeting Markell at St. Jude in Memphis. The soulful recording is about him, but also so much more. For their 2016 radiothon, the station re-purposed the song, using photos from Markell's too-short life in a moving memorial music video.
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On March 3 and 4, Taste of Country will join 15 Townsquare Media stations in support of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This two-day web and radiothon aims to raise money and awareness for the world class research and treatment facility in Memphis, Tenn. Now in its third year, this collaborative effort has raised nearly $2.5 million. Country radio has helped raise more than $550 million during 26 years worth of Country Cares radiothons. The mission is simple: raise money, save lives.