Community Partner Spotlight: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Washington Spirit  |   November 18, 2020
Community Partner Spotlight: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Featured Image

Jordan Small

Boyds, MD., (11/18/20) As a professional soccer franchise in the nation’s capital, the Washington Spirit is committed to making an impact on those around us. Since driving change is a collaborative effort, we’ve partnered with a number of incredible organizations to fully serve those in the community.  

Now, we want to help you get to know these organizations. Today, our community spotlight will feature our friends at St. Jude.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and is the first and only pediatric cancer center designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. Their mission is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of their founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live,” said Melanie Velez Ortiz, Bilingual Regional Development Specialist. “Because the majority of funding comes from people like you and me, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.”

In the fall of 2019, Spirit co-captain Tori Huster became the Washington region’s first athlete ambassador for St. Jude. Prior to the Spirit’s match against the Seattle Reign in September of 2019, Huster walked out to the field with Stella, a St. Jude patient. 

“But the walkout last September was different. I had just met Stella. I commented on her amazing pink boots, which I’ve come to know are a staple of her wardrobe,” Huster wrote in a recent blog post for St. Jude. “Then I asked if she liked to play soccer. She said no, which made me smile. But then she continued that her sister Nora liked it. And my heart broke a little. I immediately regretted my question, a seemingly normal one, the one I asked before every single game. But when I got the no back from Stella, that she didn’t like to play soccer, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was because she had been diagnosed with cancer at a young age, in hospital too often and simply could not play.” 

You can read the full post about Huster’s journey with St. Jude here.

Whether it’s inviting a St. Jude family to a game at Audi Field, attending events such as the Golden Gala and Gourmet Gala, selling bracelets to benefit St. Jude, or donating money as part of our success on the field in 2020, we are proud to have a partnership with the wonderful people at St. Jude.

If you would like to support St. Jude, you can attend their fundraising events, become a volunteer, or make a monetary donation. To find out more and to get connected with the local St. Jude office, follow them on Facebook. You can also visit to donate.

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