Passion with a purpose, kids raise money for St. Jude

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MORTON, Ill., — The community brought out their lawn chairs and blankets once again for the annual Backyard Talent Show for St. Jude in Morton.

This year’s theme was “Passion with a purpose.” Kids presented their passions to help sick children.

Ellie McDougall, event hostess, and Washington High School basketball player was cared for by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over 13 years ago.

“I had to go to St. Jude because when I was two years old, I was diagnosed with melanoma,” she said.

St. Jude children’s research hospital treats children with cancer daily. McDougall of Washington said she’s grateful that they were able to nurse her back to health.

“Thankfully it’s gone so now I’ve been cancer-free for 13 years,” she said.

Now McDougall wants to make sure other kids can get the help they need.

“I know without St. Jude I wouldn’t be here today and so to know that I may be helping another kid who without St. Jude wouldn’t be here, it feels really good,” McDougall said.

She isn’t the only one helping the cause. The several people in the community raised money for St. Jude at the backyard talent show, along with Morton and Washington Basketball teams.

Lawn chairs filled Idlewood Park and the audience cheered for dancers, singers, and other talented kids.

“I just want to thank them because they are taking time out of their day out of their summer to be here for us and all the kids at St. Jude,” McDougall said.

“I’ve been doing it since I was nine or ten and I love that my family is always here to support me,” talent show singer, Megan Maroney said.

The adults were thrilled to see kids taking the lead and helping other kids in need. Young people helped coordinate the event and ran the entire show.

“Everybody knows someone that’s been affected that’s been in the hospital, so the kids all do, they all have friends that have been treated by St. Jude so that’s why it’s important, it’s a community event for our community,” Megan Maroney’s dad, Jack Maroney said.

“It’s so amazing to see like kids fight for their lives, obviously it’s sad to see that some don’t make it out of it, but it’s so great to see what St.Jude is doing for these kids,” Morton High School basketball player Makenna Baughman said.

“This cause is really important and…we all really support it and love doing it so I hope that they’ll continue to come back and support,” Megan said.

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