TONIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 63. Winds: Light South.
Valentine's Dinner For St. Jude Children's Hospital
Valentine's Day was Thursday, but some Springfield couples decided to go out for dinner and dancing Saturday instead. They had a good reason for postponing the big date night: Saturday, St. Jude Runs chapter held its annual Valentine dinner. The event brought more than 100 couples to Little Flower School wanting to help battle the disease.
The lights are dimmed and the candles lit, setting the mood for a night of love.
Couples enjoyed a meal paid for with a donation to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
"When your child is diagnosed with cancer, the first thing that came to my mind is 'Where do I treat him,' and St. Jude is the only place I considered," Vicki Simpson said.
Simpson's son, Alex, was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 7. She describes the situation as painful for both her and her child.
"He could not make the drive to Memphis, so St. Jude coordinated all of that and they actually air ambulance him to Memphis, and an ambulance met us at the airport and whisked him away to the hospital and took everything out of my hands," Simpson said.
Doctors realized Alex suffered from a neurological disease as well as the cancer that prevented him from receiving certain treatment for his leukemia.
"St. Jude tailored a chemo therapy protocol just for my son, and the cancer actually, he was in remission in about three months," Simpson said.
With the hospital's treatment, Alex was able to enjoy several more years with his mother after being diagnosed.
"Without St. Jude, I would not have had him another seven years," Simpson said. "It was an amazing seven years to have him."
Saturday night's event makes sure that other families facing cancer can receive the help they need, no matter the cost of treatment.
"We raise money through the price to get in, through donations, through sponsorships, through raffles we have here during the evening," St. Jude's supporter David Wesselman said.
David and Cicilia Wesselman helped put on the Valentine's dinner.
"David and I are very fortunate that our children are all healthy, so this is a way for us to give back," Cicilia Wesselman said.
For the past six years, Springfield's St. Jude Run Team has raised more than $126,00 for the children's hospital. All proceeds from Saturday's event went to the facility as well.
Springfield's St. Jude Run participates in a relay every year, raising money for the children's hospital. The race begins in Springfield and ends in Peoria.