St. Jude Health Expo and marathon kick-off is here

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 7:16 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The excitement surrounding the St. Jude Marathon can be felt through the Mid-South, as the race to support the research hospital’s life saving efforts is now less than two days away in Memphis.

Action News 5 got details surrounding the in-person return of the marathon as one family shares why the race holds a special spot in their heart.

It’s been 20 years since St. Jude began hosting an annual fundraising marathon and one couple was surprised when they learned their efforts helped St. Jude reach its $100 million dollar milestone.

“We’ve had tears of sadness throughout this journey, but these are tears of joy,” said Dan and Lindsey Hammer.

Their son Caleb became a patient in April this year after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

Caleb has had his humerus removed and replaced with a prosthetic, but his parents say the disease could have spread if doctors hadn’t caught it early.

The Hammer family will be participating in the marathon Saturday. They’ll be joining 17,000 other participants in-person this year, after being completely a virtual event in 2020.

“I am grateful that we have been able to do this. We have strict health and safety protocols in place. We’re requiring our participants to either be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test,” said CEO of ALSAC Rick Shadyac Jr.

The Hammers say Caleb is expecting a couple more rounds of chemotherapy before the year ends.

“And then we have final scans on December 17. So, we’re hoping for some really good news for Christmas,” Dan and Lindsey Hammer said.

Giving back to St. Jude has now become a passion of theirs.

“It’s just such a blessing to not have to pay for the medical care. You can really focus on your child. Everybody has been wonderful down there,” Dan and Lindsey Hammer said.

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