Last Friday, I drove to Wadesville, IN to visit the 3rd grade class at St. Wendel Catholic School.  My friend Ryan Nowak teaches there and he asked me to come by and talk to his students about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.  See, his students are doing a service project and, for it, chose to raise money for the patients of St. Jude.  I decided to share some of my favorite St. Jude stories with the students and introduce them to some of my favorite St. Jude families.  I knew this was a great way to show them the importance of what they're doing and how important raising money for the hospital truly is.  Well, guess what?  These 3rd grade rockstars got amped up and they went to the big Friday night fish fry with buckets in hand!

(image from Facebook)

When I say these youngsters rocked it out, they really rocked it out.  Together, they made $300 Friday night for St. Jude.  Given the fact that had already raised about $300 with the help of Mr. Nowak, the additional $300 puts them well on the way to their goal.  In fact, they have three more weeks of fundraising planned.  And they are excited about it.  Take a look at this video we filmed!

I talk about St. Jude a lot . . . to a lot of different groups.  And I always struggle a bit with what to say to kids this young.  You all know, because you hear patient stories during our annual radiothon, that the subject matter can be really heavy-handed.  And the 3rd graders of St. Wendel reacted in different ways.  Some didn't say much.  Some talked a lot.  Some even cried.  Others came up and shared stories about people in their family who have battled cancer.  But here's what they all had in common.  And, I must say, this impressed me to no end.

These kids got it.  The students at St. Wendel know what childhood cancer is and they know how serious it can be.  They quickly told me about their schoolmate, Tanner, who had to battle "the monster."  So, they've seen it first-hand and know what it can do.  They can talk about cancer, because, unfortunately, they know it and its power.

But, this is what I love most about this story.  These kids may know cancer, but they are compelled to stop it.   They are driven to do something about it.  And, Friday night, at the big old fish fry, they did!

(image from Facebook)

They made $300 in one night!  They were beaming.  Their teacher, Mr. Nowak, was beaming (he was on Facebook posting proud photos immediately).  And, right now, I am beaming.  These kids are great!  And here at WBKR, we applaud them for picking St. Jude as their service project and vowing to rock out the results!

We're so proud, Jaclyn and I have promised to go back to St. Wendel at the completion of their fundraising efforts.  In fact, we're going to broadcast from there and introduce you all to the students of Mr. Nowak's 3rd grade class.  These kids are awesome and they deserve the recognition!  They have really touched us with their efforts, and more importantly, they have walked hand-in-hand with the St. Jude mission.  The students of St. Wendel are truly helping to find cures and save children!

(image from Facebook)