Love, hope and friendship were in the air at the 2000 International Council Convention in Memphis, TN. Thursday evening arrived and the highly anticipated Angel Walk for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital saw over 500 members in assorted angel attire take to the streets for the walk from the Memphis Marriott Downtown to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At dusk, the incredible group of members held lights of hope high above their heads as an enormous banner was released and softly draped from the roof of the hospital. “THANKS ESA”
hung high enough for the entire city to see. The memorable evening raised over $161,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a record high for the event up to that point.
Keeping the excitement alive, John Moses and Joe Shaker represented ALSAC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when they unveiled the plaque that dedicated the fifth floor of the hospital to ESA. Pride, excitement, and ownership filled ESA members for that outstanding accomplishment.
The next year came and went and the 2001 International Council Convention brought 811 chapters and 34 states to Albuquerque, NM. ESA members donated a total of 14,797 hours and contributed $262,030.22 to Easterseals that year. Pam Spaeth, National Easter Seals representative, was thrilled to mention that 2001 had marked one of the most successful years for Easterseals and ESA to date.
On top of this incredible accomplishment, ESA also raised a total of $8,325,942 in cash and pledges for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This marked the milestone of raising over $50 million dollars for Danny’s kids!
Members came together again at the Second Annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon. Nearly 45 members of ESA formed a team to help benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The ESA participants stepped up to the starting line on December 6, 2003 to get a jump-start on their training for the ESA Million Mile Marathon.
The following year, ESA’s took a twist on marathons with the Million Mile Marathon “during” the IC Challenge. That event challenged members to commit to a great cause and a healthy 26.2 mile walk—one that they were able to complete at their own pace. Whether it took them a few weeks or a few months, participants completed a total of 26.2 miles in their own way.
To wrap up the challenge ESA members participated in a marathon event in 2004 in Little Rock, AR. It was a beautiful Wednesday morning as participants began to stroll through downtown. International Council President Rosalie Griffith along with her grandson Jordan, St. Jude patient Frankie and his brother Matthew led the way and set the pace for the 5K walk. The Million Mile Marathon raised more than $160,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital!
The convention carried on with ESA’s 75th
birthday party and the presentation of dollars showing over $10 million raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2004 alone. Everyone left Arkansas with many fond memories of good times, good friends and renewed faith that ESA will be around for another 75 years.
ESA members went the extra mile on December 4, 2004 at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon and it was a memorable one for TEAM ESA. Forty-One members and friends represented ESA wearing bright green armbands and showing off their ESA letters. Nearly 5,000 participants listened as TEAM ESA sang their cheer:
ESAers here we are.
We have come from near and far.
Saving kids is what we do.
That’s why we’re walking for St. Jude
ESA participants experienced a special moment when a father and son team, whom ESA members met the night before, crossed the finish line. The father felt he owed a debt to the hospital for saving his son’s life. His voice quivered and tears came down as he thanked ESA for the money raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
ESA is known for leading with a helpful hand. The next two years show how much ESA can do in a short amount of time. Check back in two weeks to see what happened.
Written by Audrey Potter