11/17/2014 01:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Ways to Support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital This Holiday Season


In the heart of Memphis, TN, in a seemingly industrial pocket of town, rises a beacon of hope for thousand of families and their children fighting the battle of their life. Standing tall and ready to help win this battle, is the campus of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®. It is here, where families from around the globe arrive in the darkest days of their parenting, are met with the promise of hope. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Consistent with the vision of its Founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family's ability to pay. All of a family's medical treatment, travel, housing, and food are all covered. In simple terms, they never receive a bill. Ever. This holiday season, as you gather around your healthy children amidst the hustle and bustle of celebrations and traditions, consider supporting the mission to help ensure a beacon of hope remains for families fighting catastrophic illnesses in their children. Make that mission St. Jude.

Here are five ways to support St. Jude this holiday season.

1. Walk (or run) for St. Jude


On Saturday, November 22, supporters in more than 65 communities across the country will participate in the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. This exciting, family-friendly event helps raise funds to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude. You can join an existing team, or start your own and set up a personalized fundraising website. Running events include next month's 13th annual St. Jude Memphis Half and Full Marathon held on December 6, and the The St. Jude Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon to be held April 2015. Raise money, lace up your shoes, and become a family's hero.

2. Eat out


The season lends itself to rushed days and jam packed calendars, making home cooked meals often hard to come by. By choosing to support restaurants that partner with St. Jude, like Domino's, Chili's and the Melting Pot, you can eat out and know that your purchase directly supports the mission. These restaurants, as well as many others, are also partners in the Thanks and Giving® campaign, where monetary donations that go directly to St. Jude are easily added onto your dining bill. Look for the bright green Thanks and Giving® signs. And while I am talking about Thanks and Giving®...

3. Go out shopping


You have to holiday shop, so do it with a much deeper and possibly life saving purpose. On November 24, St. Jude will kick off their annual Thanks and Giving® Campaign. In 2004, Marlo, Terre and Tony Thomas created Thanks and Giving®, a national campaign that encourages holiday shoppers to "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not." During the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign, many of America's most respected companies partner with St. Jude, and want to make it easy for their customers to give thanks this holiday season, by making donations quickly and easily right at the register. Then head over to Thanks and Giving® to print out your St. Jude Give Thanks sign, tell the world what you are thankful for this holiday season, then share on social media. Use the hashtag #StJudeGiveThanks. Together, let's get gratitude to go viral.


4. Stay home and shop

It's cold out. You're already in your pajamas. The mall is crazy. Enter the Home Shopping Network This is the 10th year HSN has supported St. Jude, and with your help, they hope to reach $10 million in donations this season. Bedazzle your Christmas tree this year with the HSN Cares heART Designer Ornament Collection. 100% of the profits, no less than 30% of the purchase price of each ornament, will be donated to St. Jude. The special sale runs through January 31, 2015. Shop on Amazon? No problem. Through Amazon's Smile program, choose St. Jude as your charity of choice at Amazon, and a portion of your purchase goes directly to St. Jude. Several other participating online retailers will offer a St. Jude donation link on their check out pages.

5. Trim the virtual St. Jude tree, and purchase a St. Jude ornament.


Grab your kids and head over to the St. Jude Holiday Cheer Tree where they can design and personalize an ornament to be hung on the St. Jude virtual tree. Choose design, color, and then add your family's personal message to be shared with the children of St. Jude. There are also a variety of Christmas gifts, ornaments, and holiday greeting cards featuring patient inspired art at the St. Jude Gift Shop. 100% of sales go directly to St. Jude.

This holiday season, commit yourself to giving to the moms, dads, and children at St. Jude. Whether you choose to shop with your heart, dine out with your heart, walk with your heart, or simply give with your heart, just GIVE. St. Jude doctors, researchers, parents, and the most precious of all, its patients, all thank you.

Melissa Fenton is a freelance writer and St. Jude blogging partner, writing at 4boysmother. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter