St. Jude’s Lifesaving Mission Continues to Inspire and Unite the Country Music Community At 2023 Country Cares Event
Brothers Osborne was presented with the Angels Among Us Award
Artists visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Photo Courtesy ALSAC, St. Jude
For over 30 years, the country music community has come together to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through Country Cares for St. Jude Kids. Through the program, started by Randy Owen of the legendary country group Alabama, artists, radio stations, and music partners have joined forces to raise more than $45 million annually for St. Jude to help children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Thanks to fundraising efforts, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, housing, or food. Instead, they are able to focus on helping their children survive cancer and other diseases.
St. Jude won’t stop until no child – anywhere – dies from cancer, so the efforts to raise funds and awareness continued with the 2023 Country Cares seminar. Taking place in Memphis, Tenn. from Oct. 12 to 14, the event welcomed artists, radio partners, and media collaborators to the St. Jude campus in Memphis to learn more about the groundbreaking research doctors and researchers are conducting, and how to help spread the word about the important work St. Jude is doing.
Randy Owen Issues Challenge To New Artists
While visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Randy Owen challenged the rising stars in the room, like Noah Thompson, Tiera Kennedy, Tigirlily Gold, Chase Matthew, Catie Offerman, and Ian Munsick, to be givers and continue his mission to support St. Jude.
His call to action had a major impact on HunterGirl, who said she’s looked up to Randy Owen for a “really long time.”
“Be A Giver”
“He said something that really stuck with me within the first few minutes. He said, ‘You can be either a giver or a taker.’ And he said he’s never regretted one minute that he spent getting to be here at St. Jude,” she explained to Country Now and other outlets following her visit to the campus. “And I think inspires me for my life because I want to help people with my music. I want to help people any way that I can, no matter what. Seeing what he’s done for St. Jude really inspires me to do the same in any capacity that I can.”
While in Memphis, members of the country music community had the chance to hear first-hand from patients and parents about how St. Jude changed their lives. As a father to a 3-year-old son, Ian Munsick empathized with the families who are navigating life with a sick child.
“I think had I come here before I was a dad, it wouldn’t have hit me nearly as hard, but being able to see and just imagine what the parents are going through, what the brothers and the cousins and everybody else are going through. I mean your heart just goes out to them, but here, the person that we heard from, they didn’t have anything negative to say about anything, which is a testament to St. Jude,” he pointed out.
An Inspiring Moment With A Patient
Chris Lane had a similar experience during his visit.
“I’ve obviously been here before over the years, probably three or four years ago, but this is my first time as a parent being here. And it definitely hits different, there’s no doubt about that,” he admitted. “I feel like I was tearing up all day long just thinking about my kids and putting myself in those parents’ shoes and what they must be going through and imagine my kids if that were to ever happen.”
It was a patient who helped brighten Lane’s day. “I think the one thing that did put a smile on my face was I was visiting with this little girl earlier that had gone through treatment and it’s like she didn’t even know what had happened to her,” he shared. “She was just so happy to be here and loved everything about this place. And I’m like, that just goes to show you what kind of job they’re doing here. It was pretty special.”
Angels Among Us Award
Following the life-changing hospital visit, the group of artists gathered at The Peabody Memphis for a special dinner honoring this year’s Angels Among Us Award recipients, GRAMMY Award-winning country duo Brothers Osborne. The duo’s John and TJ Osborne are no strangers to supporting St. Jude. They first visited the campus in 2014 and have since taken part in the #ThisShirtSavesLives campaign, met with St. Jude patients, performed at benefit concerts, attended radio events, and more.
Their ongoing dedication was recognized when they were presented with the Angels Among Us Award in honor of their devotion and outstanding commitment to the children and families of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Ahead of the presentation, John and T.J. recalled their first visit to St. Jude and how it inspired them to make a commitment to support the hospital.
“We got asked to come to Memphis to visit the hospital and we thought, ‘Yeah, absolutely. We would love to do that.’ We’d always heard about it, but you have no idea what it’s like until you witness it,” John explained.
“Then you see it and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, okay. This is why it has been such a big deal.’ I wish everyone could witness it because it’s one thing to hear about it, but to see it with your own eyes, it’s unbelievable how giving people are and how much work is done on the ground, how much work they have accomplished.”
T.J. said he was feeling “a lot of emotions” surrounding the honor.
“It’s just incredibly inspiring to keep doing it and keep upping the game and hopefully changing anyone’s life or any optic in any way we can to help bring more money and more relief into St. Jude and ultimately relief to the families,” he told us.
The presentation took place following an acoustic performance by Brothers Osborne alongside their songwriting cohorts Lee Thomas Miller and Kendell Marvel. The night concluded with an all-star performance of “Angels Among Us” led by Randy Owen and Brothers Osborne.
How To Help
Approximately 16,000 children and teens in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. More than 80% of U.S. childhood cancer patients now become long-term survivors, thanks to better therapies St. Jude has helped to develop.
The need for continued research is ongoing and can cost millions. To learn more and to become a Partner in Hope, visit musicgives.org.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.