This morning, hundreds of tri-state residents gathered to raise money for those who need it most at the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk at Newport on the Levee.
Our first real bout of cold weather was not enough to stop hundreds of people walking for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital where FOX19 Tracey Johnson attended as the emcee.
One patient, Gracie Purdum, thought the Purple People Bridge was painted just for her. "while she was sick and she found out that the walk was going to be on the purple people and she's like mommy, they painted that for me! And for all she knew they painted it purple for her," said Gracie's mother Carrie Purdum.
Purple was Gracie's favorite color. After a well fought battle with cancer, Gracie became an angle in September of 2012. The "Amazing Gracie's" team still comes together to raise money for St. Jude.
"when I ask people to donate, I say that St. Jude truly changes the lives of children. And that may be hard for someone at home to think about since we don't have Gracie with us, but even with her they still changed her life, they gave her the best fighting chance she had. And we're grateful and thankful," says Purdum.
Families, friends and St. Jude supporters came out to hear inspiring stories about local tri-state children who have been treated at the Memphis-based hospital.
One of those inspirations is 13-year-old Caitlin Jones. Jones was diagnosed at the age of 6, given only a few days to live. Today, Jones is a fun-loving teenage with an infectious smile and a passion for St. Jude Children's Hospital.
"St Jude is one of the most wonderful places you will ever be. It's like Disney world for a kid that has cancer, I guess you could say. because you kind of give up hope when you're in that situation where I have nothing to live for anymore. And then St Jude, they come along and they're like, you're here for a reason. We're going to get you better. Don't worry. We got you. That's why I'm here, because of St. Jude," said Jones.
Beyond the medial and emotional support that St. Jude provides for Families is that patients don't have to pay a dime for treatment.