25th St. Jude S’travaganza to be at former Sears building

JONESBORO, Ark. – A location with years of history will serve the community once more during the 25th anniversary St. Jude S’travaganza.

The special event, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will be held in 2018 at the former Sears building at the corner of Highland Drive and Caraway Road, said a press release from Haag Brown Commercial. 

The release said big plans are underway to make this event stand out from events before. Haag Brown Commercial Principal Josh Brown told NEA Report the hopes are to set a record for funds raised for the children’s research hospital.

“This property is arguably the best, most highly visible location in the city of Jonesboro,” Brown said in a release. “The size of the space combined with the huge parking field gives the St. Jude S’travaganza an opportunity to raise the most money in the event’s history.”

The Super Bowl-centered fundraiser began in 1994, when Fred and Susan Cathcart, along with a group of their friends joined together to form it following a personal tragedy. Fred and Susan lost their daughter, Donna, to a rare form of childhood cancer.

“There are absolutely no words to describe the depths of fear and despair and worry and pain that we were overcome with upon learning Donna’s diagnosis,” Susan said. “But from the moment we stepped through the doors of St. Jude’s, our fears turned to hope.”

The Cathcarts wanted their daughter to be remembered while giving back to the hospital that had given them so much. It inspired them to create the St. Jude S’travaganza. Over the past 24 years, the event has raised an astounding $4.5 million for the children at St. Jude’s.

To say they have succeeded would be an understatement.

With the donation of an 80,000 square foot venue, 2018’s event has the potential to serve more guests than ever before.

“We would like to thank Marty Belz of Highland Street Group, LLC for his generosity in offering the Sears building as the location for our 25th annual St. Jude S’travaganza,” said Susan. “There are no words to describe our gratitude for having this property made available to us.”

St. Jude’s brings hope to thousands of families from around the world. Children are cared for free of charge so families can focus on their child’s life. On average, the release said about 7,800 patients visit the hospital each year. The research done at St. Jude’s has increased the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago, the release said. However, operating costs exceed $2 million every day, making fundraisers like the St. Jude S’travaganza crucial.

“It is in Donna’s memory that I ask you to please join me and many others in Northeast Arkansas who support St. Jude’s,” Susan said. “The money we raise might save the life of a child you know.”

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