Gonzales Red Hat ladies make St. Jude Children’s Hospital donation
A special group of “Red Hat” ladies can be seen once a month enjoying each other’s company at many of the area restaurants. The ladies are sponsored by the “Queen Mum’s” husband who sells cast iron pots; therefore they decided to call themselves the “ Jambalaya Castaways.”
Many of the ladies became friends as teachers; some have retired and some are still teaching. They invited some of their friends and the group has grown to 12 members. The ladies pay dues each month to build up funds to donate to some worthy cause each year. The ladies began donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital two years ago when one of the members shared that one of her students was diagnosed with leukemia and was being sent to St. Jude for treatment. That Christmas the ladies sent red caps painted with snowmen and a donation to the research hospital.
The ladies take “get away” trips each summer as a way to relax, kick back, and catch up with the latest news and pictures of everyone’s grandchildren. The ladies have taken trips to Panama City, Gulf Shores, and Biloxi. This year, the group decided to travel to Memphis to visit and tour St. Jude Children’s Hospital and make their donation in person. The group arrived with a large appreciation cake for the staff, treats for the kids, and a $500 donation.
At the front entrance they met a group of bikers, also from Louisiana, who were on a 2,000 mile motorbike ride to raise money for St. Jude. In case you didn’t know, St. Jude is supported primarily from donations and public contributions. The hospital’s daily operating expenses are nearly $1.5 million and have more than 3,000 employees. The mission of the hospital is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. The hospital receives patients from all over the world and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance.
The ladies gathered in the lobby to wait for a volunteer to give them a scheduled tour of the facilities. They were joined by a young man who was a former cancer patient at St. Jude’s when he was only ten years old. He now is married and has two little girls. He was in Memphis for a follow-upvisit. He told the ladies that St. Jude keeps in touch with their patients who come in periodically to continue with their research on any effects the treatments have had on their life. The tour was not only informative, but a heart-warming experience the ladies will never forget. St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital is truly an amazing place. The ladies left with a wonderful feeling that donations like theirs are what keep St. Jude moving forward in the fight against childhood catastrophic diseases. While in Memphis the ladies went to the Rendezvous Restaurant, advertised on the travel channel for their world famous barbecue ribs. Then they traveled to Tunica, Miss. to spend a few days shopping and trying their luck at the casinos.
The group has safely returned to Gonzales and continue to be seen sporting their “Red Hats” and purple outfits, making a noticeable fashion statement and gathering monthly for fun and friendship.