As I sit here on the eve of our St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Radiothon I am thinking about how I will tell everyone just how great this hospital and it's people are. It's actually hard to put it into words; I wish I could just take everyone there for one day to experience it for themselves. If I could do that we would never have to ask for money again it would just be something everyone would do without prompting. However, I can't do that so I'll try to give you a reason or two here, as to why I think this is the best charity to donate your hard earned money to. Before the radio station started working with this organization I would see the St. Jude commercials on TV and think "is this for real, do these kids really see this money, or is it just a scam?" Now, having been involved with them for more than 10 years the answers to those questions are..yes, it's for real, yes the kids and families benefit 100% from your money and NO it's not a scam.

I can tell you so many great things about this hospital from an 'operational/financial' stand point but what I want to tell you about is all the great strides they are making finding cures and caring for patients after they leave the hospital and for many years down the road.

This year I looked at St. Jude from a whole new perspective; that of a cancer survivor myself. I honestly think this years trip to the hospital was destiny as they covered two facets that will benefit me personally as well as countless others.

One of those is called a Life Study. This is where they track patients the rest of their lives and keep a record of side effects that may be impacting them. For instance, after chemo, many people experience joint pain and stiffness. They can track former patients and see how long that pain lasted, does it still exist 5, 10, 20 years from now. They can find out if there are long lasting side effects of certain drugs as opposed to others, do certain medications make it harder for girls to get pregnant later in life, will this drug or that make it so that boys don't lose their ability to reproduce later on. It's a way for former patients to help patients of the future.

The second thing that was discussed this year was what is commonly called 'chemo brain'. When they started talking about researching this particular side effect, my jaw dropped, I looked at Rudy and said "see it is real". Basically chemo brain is short term memory loss. For example one day on the radio I was talking about our upcoming Taste of Country Christmas Show; I could not for the life of me remember the name of it, all that would come out of my mouth was simply 'concert'. I can be in the middle of a conversation and words, names, places just disappear. I know them and eventually it comes to me but it takes a while and it's just frustrating. Now I'm giving you a very non-serious version of what they are studying called Leukoencephalopathy.  St. Jude is studying this and trying to find out what the cause is and how to prevent it.

St. Jude is more than just a children's hospital in many ways because the research they do is so far reaching. I realize the 2 day radio event can get some what depressing, there isn't always a happy ending, but I hope you at least listen for a while and hopefully you to will be a "partner in hope" with us by the end of Friday. I can promise you your money will be well used.