WMC anchor Joe Birch named St. Jude Hero Among Us in recognition of 20 years running, fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
The Hero Among Us award is presented each year during St. Jude Memphis Marathon® Weekend by Juice Plus+® to a St. Jude Hero who exemplifies what it means to purposefully participate in the children of St. Jude, by go the extra mile to make sure families never receive a bill from St. Jude, not for treatment, travel, housing or food. St. Jude Heroes are athletes who raise money while training to support St. Jude’s lifesaving mission: finding a cure. Save children. ®
The lifelong Memphis is a familiar face to many in the MidSouth as a longtime news anchor at WMC News Channel 5 in Memphis, where he supports the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital each December during the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.
Birch was one of 2,900 participants in the first St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend in 2002 and is one of the few people to have competed every year since. In addition, Birch has brought St. Jude into the homes of millions by telling the stories of dedicated St. Jude Heroes® who held a virtual race in their hometown in 2019 to patient families whose courage and tenacity continue to inspire and supporters in Memphis who won don’t stop until no child dies of cancer. More than 30 runners have participated in all 20 years of this event. Some of their personal stories are on St. Jude Inspire.
“Joe Birch has been a tireless champion in his hometown of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for more than two decades and continues to pursue his life-saving mission through his commitment to our cause,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “His efforts may be focused locally in our beloved Memphis, but his impact is global. Thanks to the support of St Jude Heroes like Joe, St. Jude can embark on its six-year $11.5 billion strategic plan to impact the more over 400,000 children who suffer from cancer each year around the world On this 20th anniversary of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, I honor all St. Jude Heroes and am grateful to Joe, our St. Jude Hero Among Us, a faithful friend of our community who are always part of our St. Jude family.”
This isn’t the first time Birch has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts. He received the Legacy Award in 2016 from ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, for performing as a St. Jude Hero for 15 years. In the 20 years he has supported St. Jude, he has gathered his supporters to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the children of St. Jude. Among many other honors, Birch was the 2004 recipient of the Frank Horton Award, presented annually by the Memphis Runners Track Club to recognize exceptional volunteerism by an individual.
Since 2002, when 2,900 marathoners and half marathoners took to the streets of Memphis for the first-ever St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, tens of thousands of participants have united in what has become the largest one-day fundraiser for St. Jude, a marquee that’s not just families, friends , community associations and businesses together for a purpose, as well as creating global awareness around the important work that happens every day in St. Jude.
Childhood cancer is a multi-trillion dollar, multi-year problem. Fundraising campaigns like St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend and the fans who support it fuel St. Jude’s overarching, six-year, $11.5 billion strategic plan, which includes a tripling of the global investment to help the more than 400,000 children with cancer around the world every year.
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way in how the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The goal is clear: to find a cure. Saving Children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated exclusively to children. Treatments invented in St. Jude have helped increase childhood cancer survival rates from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies of cancer. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved in St. Jude means doctors and scientists around the world can use that knowledge to save thousands more. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so the whole family should be concerned about helping their child. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to the YouTube channel.
SOURCE ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital