Darius Rucker Marvels at the Joy Found at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Darius Rucker's voice gets quiet when he talks about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, but it's not out of sorrow.
The 54-year-old father of three and 2017 Angels Among Us Award recipient understands the importance of the hospital and their We Won't Stop mission. He also knows the facilities are as close to magical as you'll find.
"You would think it’d be sad, but it's not," Rucker tells Taste of Country Nights.
The kids are so happy. Every kid I talk to that had cancer or some serious disease is so happy because his path is so green ... They (doctors) don’t give your kid X amount of days. They say, 'We're gonna save your kid's life. It's a really uplifting experience to be there."
So much of each child's treatment involves more than needles and hospital beds. At St. Jude you'll find a garden with 74 beds that produce more than 5,000 pounds of produce for the in-house cafe annually. You'll music therapy and a teen room. There's an art show and teen formal and Halloween parties. There are two therapy dogs, Puggle and Huckleberry.
Of course this complements medicines and life-saving protocols discovered at St. Jude. Rucker says he truly understood their reach during his first visit.
"One of the doctors said, 'If we found a cure today, for any of these diseases, in an hour it would be on the internet,'" the singer recalls. "That’s unbelievable."
Indeed, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries around the world — a large reason childhood cancer survival rates have spiked from 20 to 80 percent in 50 years. Most essential is that families don't receive a bill for anything, ever. Medicine, hospital stays, lodging food, travel, essentials — it's all covered thanks to donors, like the millions who have become partners in hope through the annual Country Cares campaign.
Once again Taste of Country and Townsquare Media are a part of a two-day radiothon to raise money. Over $11 million has been raised in six previous events. This year the need is as great as ever because of the pandemic.
"Times are tough for everybody and times are tough for the world," Rucker says, "But kids still get sick and St. Jude is still taking care of them."