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Minden St. Jude Auction breaks record again

The 2019 Minden St. Jude Auction raised $1,639,055 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. People from all 50 states and 28 countries participated in the weekend of giving. 

The four-day event kicked off Thursday with a prayer by Mother Sally Fox of St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

Friday started out with a pancake breakfast hosted by Minden Medical Center. Minden Medical Center also hosted a fundraiser with employees who volunteered to shave their heads to raise money for the hospital. ‘

Schools across the area gave a record amount of $153,349 with Central Elementary leading the bunch with $32,000. J. L. Jones Elementary gave $22,000. This was the first year that the schools of Haynesville in Claiborne Parish participated in the event. They raised $1,100 for the hospital. Some schools gave on behalf of students they have that are St. Jude patients. 

Saturday morning kicked off with the Minden St. Jude Run. 1,249 runners participated in the event beginning at 7:30 am. Members of the community held signs along the route and cheered to encourage the runners.

One participant, Loretta Owens of Ruston walked the 1 kilometer Fun Run on her walker on behalf of her grandson, Breckon Shadow Owens who is battling leukemia. 

Following the run, the St. Jude Chili Cook-Off was underway with live music and tasting cups available for visitors. Later on Saturday, the first annual Minden St. Jude Cornhole Tournament with cornhole stands lining Broadway Street in front of the Civic Center. 

Sunday brought Generation Z young people onto the hosting panel for the first time. Haynes Mandino, one of the students who leads the way in raising money for St. Jude said, “The auction is about more than raising money. It is about the hope that one day no child or family should have to experience the hardships that come with being a patient.”

There was a special performance by the King’s Servants gospel group. The group raised $9,250  for St. Jude with their gospel concert held earlier in the year. 

After a busy weekend of raising money, the chair people of the auction took to the stage. They announced that a new record had been reached for internet participation with over $534,000 coming from the website. There were 137 sponsors of the event. 

“We came for a cure for the last four days. It’s been a great one. Our weather has been perfect. Our attendance has been incredible and it’s been so much fun. We’ve had an extraordinary number of patient families come, that was really meaningful. We had a lot of really deep and special moments in the middle of all the fun. It brings us back to the reason that we’re here. It’s not just our festival and our chili cook-off and our fellowship, which has been amazing but, it’s been about the kids. It’s been about the families that we want to fund a cure for childhood cancer for,” co-organizer Laura Hollingsworth said before revealing the check for $1.6 million dollars to be given to St. Jude Children’s Research hospital.