From staff reports
The News Courier
Too many local children are familiar with the stretch of U.S. 72 between North Alabama and the outskirts of Memphis, Tenn., where St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is headquartered.
That’s why local businesses are thrilled to give back to the nonprofit pediatric cancer treatment hospital.
This month, the hospital will be the beneficiary of proceeds generated by the Back-To-School Charity Fashion Show and Brunch. The event is from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Limestone County Event Center in Athens.
The community event will feature retailers from Athens and Decatur using St. Jude patients as models, and Elkmont High School senior and St. Jude patient Rhett Bailey as speaker.
Tickets are on sale and available at The Grasshopper in Athens, Goody 2 Shoes in Decatur, Athens Athletics and through Paparazzi Jewelry by Pam Moss, or online at www.northalfootsoldiers.com.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this event,” said Sharma Hamm, owner of The Grasshopper, a children’s boutique in downtown Athens. “My niece is a patient of St. Jude and my daughter had a friend in class that is a patient, so we are too familiar with the wonderful things that St. Jude does and we are honored to be a part of this that will help the hospital and give our community a great event to enjoy.”
The event is hosted by the North Alabam Foot Soldiers, a group participating in the St. Jude half-marathon in December. Team members have been training for the race and raising money in various ways.
“This will be our second year to participate in the St. Jude Marathon Weekend,” said team member Stacey Glover, speaking of herself and husband Corey Glover. “We go to school and church with St. Jude families, so the need for it and use of it is closer to home than you think. We love having opportunities like this event to raise money for it.”
Although St. Jude is located in Memphis, a local affiliate is available at Huntsville Hospital and many local patients receive treatments there, depending on the diagnosis and treatment protocol.
“My son was mostly seen at the affiliate during his battle, and we are indebted and always eager to participate in fundraisers,” said Robbie Crowe, mother to leukemia patient Dylan, who will be modeling at the show.
The local retailers will have their latest fall products to show at the event and will be available for any questions or orders.
“I was curious how we fit into a fashion show at first,” said Randy McKinney, owner of Athens Athletics. “But, with the Back-To-School theme, it made sense to have athletic equipment and sports uniforms, and really anything in our store is perfect for the show. We are excited to be a part of it and for such a great cause; it is just really a win-win.”
Fashions featured at the show will be from four retailers. The Grasshopper, owned by Joel and Sharma Hamm, has been operating for decades in Athens. It carries unique boutique brands in sizes 2T to girls 10 and boys 2T to 5T.
Goody 2 Shoes in downtown Decatur carries junior and ladies sizes, as well as shoes, accessories and children’s dancewear.
“We did not hesitate to say ‘yes’ when approached about participating,” said Carol Ralson at Goody 2 Shoes in Decatur. “It is such a wonderful cause, and it is really going to be fun to get the models in here to work with. We are really looking forward to the event.”
Athens Athletics, owned and operated by Randy and Beth McKinney for 10 years, offers screen printing and vinyl lettering, plus sporting goods and team apparel. The retailer will feature various sizes and styles in athletic wear and sports equipment at the show.
School can’t start without moms, so expect to see cancer moms modeling Paparazzi jewelry at the event.
Pam Moss, who has owned her business for about a year, sells Paparazzi jewelry and hair accessories.
“When I heard about this event, I really wanted to be a part of it, and how fun it is to include the moms who will model my jewelry,” she said. “I am excited and glad to be able to help St. Jude.”
Guests of the show will have a chance to participate in a silent auction as well. Businesses, groups, and individuals have donated a variety of gift baskets for the auction. Proceeds go to St. Jude.
St. Jude never charges the patient for anything during their treatment. The hospital is a world-leader in treating children with catastrophic disease and covers the $1.8 million it needs to run each day solely through donations.
To find out more about the event,contact any of the retailers or visit the website at http://www.northalfootsoldiers.com.