The Detroit Lions Podcast Charity Challenge For St. Jude

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Some of you who watch the NFL scouting combine yearly may be aware that NFL Network host Rich Eisen does a yearly drive to raise funds for a spectacular charity. The Run Rich Run event started in 2005. Mr. Eisen, surrounded by some of the world’s greatest athletes in their prime physical condition, ran a 40-yard dash in his on-air broadcast clothing to represent all of us. He showed us what an average person would look like doing these drills. More importantly, he did it to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This year former Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci donated $5,000 to the hospital on the opening day of combine coverage and issued a challenge to the coaches of the NFL to do the same. Over the course of the combine broadcast, several NFL coaches and executives dropped by the broadcast booth to meet the challenge and drop off their donations. Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia quietly stepped in, handed Mr. Eisen a check that left one of the smoothest broadcasters in media today stumbling for words and walked away without discussing the matter further. The actions of the Lions coach inspired the Detroit Lions Podcast’s founding duo Chris and Case to action.

The Detroit Lions Podcast Charity Event

As a result, The Detroit Lions Podcast is hosting our own charity drive for St. Jude. We have set our goal at $10,000: doubling Mariucci’s challenge. Chris has kicked off the drive with his own $1000 donation, and with the help of just a few friends of the podcast like Dan Miller and Dan Orlovsky, we have more doubled that number in the first day. It is our hope that the Lions online community, be they from Reddit, Twitter, podcast listeners, or my personal friends and family, who I assume are at least 90% of the readership of my articles (hi mom!) will step in and get this done for a great charity.

In addition to a single donation, we have set it up so that those wishing to donate any denomination from $1 and up can do so. If you’d like to hit a bigger number but can’t afford do it all at once, you can use the Patreon account to spread your donation over two months. We’re not keeping a cent of the administration costs, Chris will make those costs up out of his pocket.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Before I get to my challenge I wanted to give everyone a quick summary of what St. Jude is. St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of lost causes. The hospital was the vision of Danny Thomas: the comedian, singer, actor, producer, and philanthropist (eat your heart out Tony Stark), to create an institution where the least fortunate in our society would have someone take up their cause.

In 1962, when St. Jude opened its doors, the survival rate of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, was 4%. The leader of this hospital was Dr. Donald Pinkel; a man that refused to believe that any cause was hopeless. By 1970 St. Jude could issue a statement that leukemia could no longer be considered an incurable disease. By 1972, the hospital published a study that showed a 50% survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia using a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

In 1973 the hospital differentiated the different types of leukemia, allowing more improved therapy for individual patients. Throughout the ‘70s St. Jude expanded their reach to the treatments of child killing illnesses that targeted those with compromised immune systems like influenza strains, and a certain type of pneumonia which later also affected AIDS patients. In the 1980s bone marrow transplants, identification of neuroblastoma, integrated personalized treatment plans, and countless other cancer-related discoveries and treatments were added to the list of St. Jude accomplishments. In 1987, Thomas announced that St. Jude would be actively seeking a cure for pediatric AIDS.

Mr. Thomas died in 1991, but his legacy has carried on. At the time of his death, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia had reached 73% from the 4% it was at in 1962. St. Jude has expanded its research to countless diseases, they have a timeline of their achievements available here.

Your Challenge, Should You Choose to Accept It

Not everyone has the extra cash floating around to just give away, times are tight for a lot of us. DetroitLionsPodcast.com just launched a new merchandise page with some great designs by post-game show host and r/detroitlions moderator Trevor (AKA PunkRawkinTrev). If you need a great new shirt, and you do, I encourage you to find one and pick it up. Every shirt sold results in a $1 donation to St. Jude. The shirts are printed in Detroit, and I have to say Trev has outdone himself on these designs. Pick your favorite Lions-related meme, and there is certain to be an amazing shirt to go with it. If you’re not into the memes, there are some more general interest shirts that he has knocked out of the park as well. The shirt in the picture at the top of the page is the one I picked up.

I am going to go one step beyond that though. There are a lot of really good people in the Lions fan base. I have seen countless examples of guys like Sandman stepping up and helping out where they can whenever the opportunity arises. To be fair, I don’t have the kind of extra cash around to make anyone speechless with my donation. I went back to school and I’m running a 24 credit hour load this semester, so cash is tight. I’m certainly not in a position to write a check for the $5000 that coach Mariucci dropped. I do, however, have $100. I’m going to put that in the pot and issue a challenge of my own. If every TV host, radio voice, blogger, podcaster, journalist, Twitter personality, Facebook GM, or PFT commenter would match my hundred bucks, we’d get beyond our goal immediately. Consider the gauntlet thrown down, but I have a small caveat:

If you don’t have $100, give $10. If you don’t have $10, share $1. Alone human beings are stupid, weak, and frail creatures, but the work of St. Jude proves that together there is no limit to the things we can accomplish. So what do you say #OnePride? Let’s help some kids get healthy.

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About the Author

Ash Thompson
Ash Thompson is a fanatical football fan, and less fanatical hockey fan despite his Canadian heritage. He is sorry aboot that. His spirit animal is a beaver with a shark's head. He is also known as /u/a5hcrack on reddit, and can be found on twitter @a5hcrack