Trike-a-Thon raises money for St. Jude hospital
KINGMAN - It didn't take 5-year-old Althea Watkins very long Monday to pick up the messages promoted in the training materials sent by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to Little Eagle Preschool and Childcare.
"I learned to wear a helmet and ride my bike safely," said Watkins as she picked out bright crayons. "I also learned that the money we raise goes to the hospital to help sick kids."
Watkins is one of about 70 Little Eagle students who will be participating Friday in the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon to raise money for Memphis pediatric cancer center. The students are spending this week coloring an illustrated book and watching a video focusing on four riding-toy safety rules - always wear a helmet, never ride in the street, be careful around driveways and watch out for others.
At the Trike-A-Thon, groups of five or six students at a time will wear their helmets and ride laps around a small track to raise money. Kayla Hilderbrand, assistant director at Little Eagle, said this year's fund-raising goal is $3,000 from the event. The school has been participating in the Trike-A-Thon since 2005 and has collected about $10,000 for the world-renown hospital since that time.
St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for their child's care. About 67,000 patients visit each year.
The daily operating cost for the hospital is $1.7 million and is primarily covered by individual contributions. During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.
"We do this to teach riding-toy safety to our students and to instill in them an interest in charities," said Hilderbrand. "The video talks about the sick children and how the money goes for their care. And these students understand helping others out."