Father dedicated to helping children and families at St. Jude named Mid-South Hero
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - His name says it all: Chris Hope.
“Chris is kind of a cool guy because anything that a child asks him to do, he’s going to do it,” said Cindy Howard.
As the captain for TeamHOPE in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, Chris and hundreds of fundraising heroes have raised more than $560,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital -- helping families with children who are in the fight of their lives, emotionally, financially and socially.
And it doesn’t stop there.
“The Chris Hope Foundation has tremendously impacted my life, with help with mortgage, car payments, things of that nature to keep going, so that I could keep taking care of my son at the time,” said LaShunda Crymes.
What can this man, who suits up for UPS every day, do for sick children? With his team of volunteers, he starts by creating long-lasting friendships with patients at St. Jude and LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
He’s Mr. Hope, one father committed to making the world a brighter place for children battling pancreatic cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
“He would take us out for ice cream and stuff, do photoshoots for us and decorate the hospital with flowers,” said Kryston Heath. “It made us feel like princesses or queens.”
Chris has the energy, drive and passion that keeps him motivated, and yet keeping families together under one roof in the Chris Hope Foundation Family House is one of his proudest moments.
“With the COVID rules that’s now at the hospitals only allowing one caregiver to be with a child, of course you have a child that’s fighting cancer, so everybody wants to be together,” Chris said. “And the Chris Hope Foundation allows families to come and stay together as one.”
It’s not just families who benefit from Chris’ commitment, his intern is overjoyed watching his dream ease a heavy burden for others.
“To step in and kind of release some of that burden off of the family, you don’t have to find housing or car rentals, he’s always there to step in and help in any type of way,” said Debra Young.
The Chris Hope Foundation also celebrates teenagers who have defeated cancer by providing the Hope Scholarship.
Chris doesn’t call himself a hero, but he sure sounds like one.
“My alarm clock goes off at 12:01 every day for work, and I travel for work,” said Chris. “I’m usually off around 10 a.m. It’s like Superman. You know Superman used to go into the phone booth, changed into his hero outfit and do his thing. That’s the case for me.”
Heroes are courageous, can multi-task and often never think of themselves or seek recognition for the work they love doing. That’s Chris, but he gives all the credit to the young patients.
“That takes a level of courage, I think,” said Cindy Howard. “To be able to face all of that because cancer, chemo, radiation, they are not pretty things, and it’s difficult to watch sometimes.”
Chris keeps a close eye on every dollar donated to the foundation because donations are the lifeline to the organization.
“It’s important to me to be able to show everyone all the different things that we do,” said Chris. “If it’s shipping out boxes for a family, if it’s paying to cancel a tow truck that’s going to repossess a car...”
Chris’ tireless effort gives parents a reason to smile, children a reason to believe in their futures and Memphians a reason to believe in heroes.
Congratulations Chris Hope! You are this month’s Mid-South Hero!
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