Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Raises Funds for Its 6th Annual Campaign with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Ending childhood cancer. Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has a lofty mission for pediatric cancer, but one that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (ZPB) passionately supports. The sorority has partnered with St. Jude since 2013 to raise funds and awareness about pediatric cancers and diseases.
Kenya Washington, ZPB’s national director of the St. Jude initiative, recounts her personal experiences with St. Jude’s approach, having witnessed her godbrother receive treatment at the hospital. She remembers him being a little kid – 3 to 6 years old – at the time.
“His mom wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to St. Jude, but parents don’t have to pay anything. Lodging, food, and treatment are all paid for. They don’t have to worry about bills on bills piling up – parents can just focus on the health of their child,” Washington said. Today, her godbrother is close to turning 30. “Now he’s living an adult life, and it’s all thanks to St. Jude.”
An awe-inspiring place
The hospital, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the world’s premiere pediatric cancer research centers.
“It’s an awesome place,” Washington insists. “You wouldn’t think that it’s a hospital because the children are moving around, doing their own thing, and acting just like children.”
Washington encourages anybody visiting Memphis to visit St. Jude and let staff give a tour to see for themselves. Children get around in red wagons, a much more fun mode of transportation than wheel chairs. “They do everything they can to make it not feel like a hospital,” Washington said.
Youth helping youth
ZPB’s youth affiliates helped provide additional red wagon gifts in 2017. The year after, they gifted a surplus of medical teaching dolls. Doctors use the dolls to explain to patients the treatments or procedures they’ll be receiving. In 2019, youth donations will provide IV tubing sets, which are undoubtedly not as fun as the previous years’ gifts, but absolutely necessary, lifesaving equipment.
The sorority’s ideals are heavily centered on community service as well as scholarship and sisterhood. Washington, who has been a member since 2007, says that mentoring programs, STEM projects (science, technology, engineering, and math), and ACT workshops are a few of the benefits that ZPB’s youth membership provides to girls ranging from ages under 9 through high school-aged young ladies.
Proceeds for pediatric diseases
In addition to the gifts, funds from ZPB’s campaign go directly toward sickle cell disease research. St. Jude has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell programs in the country, treating children with sickle cell disease from birth through age 18. (View St. Jude's sickle cell infographic for more info.)
1 out of 365 African-American children born in the U.S. has sickle cell disease.
More broadly, donations support pediatric cancer research, and treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. Its goal is 100% survival, so there’s still more work to be done.
Surpassing the goal
Washington says that every year since she’s been working with the St. Jude campaign, her desire has been to exceed the campaign goal. In 2017, they exceeded the goal by 50%, and in 2018, by 30%. ZPB’s members have raised more than $100,000 in online donations since 2017 alone. The goal for the 2019 campaign is to raise $50,000 by June 30.
ZPB has strived to make it as easy as possible to promote the campaign and for donors to give through multiple payment options.
Ways to give
Donate online: Visit https://www.memberplanet.com/campaign/zphibhq/stjude2019 to give via credit card, bank payment, or other payment options.
Text to Give: Text “donate” to (202) 846-2431 to receive a link to the Zeta-sponsored St. Jude donation campaign on any device.
Cash: ZPB members who wish to donate cash can contact their local chapter to submit funds. Chapter leaders will record and report the donation to headquarters.
Supporters can promote and help spread the word by creating their own personal donation site from the main donation page or sharing the campaign on social media with the hashtag #ZetasHope4StJude.
Inclusiveness and Zeta’s ideals
Another great thing about St. Jude is how they share their research, Washington says. “They don’t just hold the research in St. Jude. They share it all over the world so children in Africa, or Asia, or wherever they are, benefit from what they’re doing.”
To understand the full scope of inclusiveness at St. Jude, Washington encourages people to delve into its history. She speaks enthusiastically about St. Jude’s founder, Danny Thomas, and how he opened the hospital in 1962. “At that time, racism was high. However, when Danny Thomas opened that hospital, he didn’t allow racism in there. Everybody got treated equally.” Washington said. “He was doing something at that time that wasn’t happening.”
In the same way, Washington says ZPB doesn’t discriminate against race, color, creed, religion, or anything else. “Zeta is known as a community-conscious, action-oriented organization. We’re about sisterhood and finer womanhood. Our sorority is open to women – anybody who is interested in the ideals that our founders started this sorority with ninety-nine years ago.” Washington said. “I love Zeta… and what we do in our communities all over the world. We touch so many people with different community service projects that we do.”
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. utilizes memberplanet to further its mission, fundraising initiatives, and collect payments electronically. For more information about Zeta Phi Beta, please visit http://zphib1920.org.