Last year was the 4th year that Gymfinity’s gymnastics team and Tumble and Trampoline team (5th for them) attended the St. Jude Benefit meet held in Peoria Illinois. The meet was a huge production with the overall goal of helping the St. Jude Children’s Hospital and St. Jude programs. Every year they had testimonials from young adults or even their parents about how St. Jude saved their lives and at no cost to them. The stories I’ve heard brought tears to my eyes and we were proud to support the cause.
2 short meet stories:
One year, during the introduction video I stood next to another coach, a big bald guy (could have been my brother). He told me that I should move away if I am embarrassed easily because he was going to cry. He told me his son has been treated for an unidentified cancer and with St. Jude and the National Institute of Health (whose budget is shamefully under scrutiny to reduce) they were treating his boy. We stood together and cried.
One year our team won the meet. They earned a cash prize of $250 plus a trophy and honors. The cash prize draws teams to the meet and has provided full rosters for the last 15 years. We received the money and I talked to the girls; I explained that they could all split the cash and it would go into the fund that pays their meet expenses thereby taking some financial strain (albeit just a little) off their parents . Or we could turn it around and send it back to St. Jude as a donation. Without discussion they unanamously agreed to send it back to the organization. I was never more proud of my girls.
I was happy and sad to learn this summer that the goal of the meet organizers had been reached; they had raised $1 million dollars for St. Jude. The sad part was that because the meet is run by volunteers and most everything is donated ,the burden of running such an event had worn them down. They would no longer run the meet.
I have just received a note from the new host of the St. Jude meet: Ron Nasti at Gym-nasti. He will revive the meet this year and for years to come (hopefully) and continue the good work of the original meet organizers. Sadly I have determined our competition schedule for the year and the news was too late in coming. That weekend is not available to us. This will be the first year, since we heard of the meet, that we will miss it. However, St. Jude and the incredible work they do will always be in our hearts. They WILL see us next year.
Every year and every session the meet is kicked off by a video with an introduction by Marlo Thomas whose dad, Danny, was critical in starting St. Jude. Please watch the video below, look for Gymfinity team kids (this is a few years back) in red leotards on the warm-up floor (2 minutes 57 seconds into the video). The song is sung by the daugher of the meet director and it is a powerful message.
Help us raise more than a million from the Gymnastics/Tumbling Community. Click below the video to donate to St. Jude, there are over a million children who will thank you.