ESA members who have been to the St. Jude campus know how powerful it can be to see their fundraising embodied in the building, the patients, the families, and most of all the sense of hope. Four collegiate members earned a place at the Collegiate Leadership Seminar this summer, not just to experience St. Jude, but to learn to become stronger ESA for St. Jude leaders at their schools.
“I always have known that the money we were raising was helping sick kids, but meeting patients and their parents and hearing their stories really helps you understand what exactly that money is helping with and why it’s so important.” reflected Deana Moak of the University of Pittsburgh.
Representatives from Delta Chi of University of Florida, Delta Zeta of George Washington University, and Psi Mu of University of Pittsburgh earned a place at St. Jude’s Collegiate Leadership Seminar in July through their chapter’s outstanding fundraising successes during the 2017-18 ESA Hearts St. Jude campaign. ESA’s top performers joined 200 other students from campuses across the country whose fundraising achievements through Up ‘Til Dawn and other St. Jude fundraising activities on their campus garnered them an invitation to the elite training and leadership event.
Toni Ann Attard, University of Florida explains, “My biggest takeaway is not that St. Jude is a brand, or a cause, or even charity. It’s really a bunch of everyday families whose normal lives just stop when cancer or disease shows up, and everything changes for them. We walked by an exam room and I could see a mother just sitting in a chair rocking her toddler like any mom might, I realized that could be me someday. It’s a huge organization but every story is about a family like mine.”
Deana Moak of the University of Pittsburgh added, “For me, the hospital tour was really incredible. The thing I loved best was how our tour followed the “experience” of one patient, Mabry. They told us Mabry’s story then showed us the facilities based on where she went as her testing and treatments progressed through the hospital. It made it so much more personal if you could envision following a particular child through her entire hospital experience.”
The human connection and hope at St. Jude has inspired ESA members for decades and the students got to experience that first hand. The CLS experience was so much more for these students than a deeper understanding of St. Jude’s mission. Through leadership training and workshops our collegiate members were given the tools to inspire ESA members at their own universities.
“I met people in organizations from other campuses with the same number of people as our chapter who had even greater achievements than we did, and I really do think the difference is helping every single member of your chapter to experience that St. Jude passion that I now have. That’s my goal for this year, spreading passion in our chapter. One of the things that really stuck with me came out of one of the general leadership sessions about creating genuine connections in life. People give and help because of their connection to you even more than because of the cause or idea. It made me feel empowered,” shares Tracy Bettencourt of GWU.
Feeling empowered yourself? ESA Hearts is a collegiate campaign you can fundraise toward all year. Start your fundraising now for your chance to earn a spot at next year’s CLS! CLS attendees, including ESA members raised over $11,000 in an hour during a ‘No More Cancer Rally’. For info and tools to plan a ‘No More Cancer Rally’ for your ESA Hearts campaign, contact Kristin Hall
at ESA HQ.
Allison Horvath of GWU shares, “The thing that resonated with me was the concept of talking about St. Jude in a personal way, not spewing facts and figures. We met a young patient who was an amputee and her new prosthetic had a flamingo on it. She was asked why she chose a flamingo, and she said, ‘it’s because they stand on one leg, too’ When you make the mission REAL to people, they really want to give in an even bigger way to your efforts to support St. Jude.”
Learn more about ESA's more than 45 year partnership with St. Jude and get involved!