On Dec. 3, 2016, Team Cotton participated in the St. Jude Marathon Weekend race events in Memphis, Tenn. Team Cotton had 25 runners representing The Cotton Board, Cotton Incorporated, USDA and the National Cotton Council. Team Cotton members traveled from Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts to run for the kids of St. Jude. Most importantly, Team Cotton raised almost $7,000 to help St. Jude offer hope to children who are battling cancer.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is an important part of Memphis and of many lives around the country. This facility is changing the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Unlike any other hospital, most of St. Jude’s funding comes from individual contributions. And thanks to fundraising efforts and generous donors, families never receive a bill from the hospital for treatment, travel, housing or food. All families should worry about is helping their children live.
In 2012, The Cotton Board staff, along with its officers, began participating in the St. Jude Marathon Weekend and formed Team Cotton. The team’s goal was to deepen the sense of teamwork within The Cotton Board staff, while sporting cotton shirts and demonstrating that cotton cares about people and the community. Team Cotton’s participation in the race has grown each year. In December 2015, The Cotton Board’s board of directors formally acknowledged this effort and asked staff to consider initiating an industry wide outreach on behalf of cotton.
The Cotton Board’s human resources manager, Emily Wyonzek, was the coordinator. “The cotton industry goes through ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. But no matter what happens, cotton is always there. Our cotton family knows how to be tough in the face of adversity. We wanted to show St. Jude families we could come together and give back to our community,” she says.
“To say I am proud of Team Cotton doesn’t do justice to how I feel. Runners from across the country came to Memphis to run for the kids of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, and we raised almost $7,000 to provide hope to the kids and families of St. Jude. Team Cotton may sound soft, but we raced hard for the kids of St. Jude,” Wyonzek says.
No Cotton Board funds were used for the event. For more information about donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or participating in the race in 2017, please contact The Cotton Board.
The Cotton Board, which administers CI’s Research and Promotion Program, contributed this article.