The 20th annual St. Jude S’travaganza, which benefits the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will be held in a new location this year. The bigger location means there’s a chance the event could set a new mark for monies raised. Robert Karofsky, a private donor to St. Jude, was glad to hear of the upgrades.
Nine year-old Donna Cathcart never could have imagined she would have this much of an impact. After the young girl died of a rare form of brain cancer, her parents began a fundraiser benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where Donna received her treatment. They decided that every Super Bowl Sunday they would hold the St. Jude S’travaganza and, through the event, have raised more than $2.3 million in the past 19 years.
This year, on the 20th anniversary, the event is moving to a larger space at the Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds. The new area adds an additional 10,000 square feet, which raises hope that there will be record funds raised this year. The event is heavily supported by the agricultural community as Donna’s parents Susan and Fred own Valley View Agri-Systems. It is estimated that 75 percent of the corporate donors are involved in agriculture, but more and more non-agricultural businesses are joining in each year.
Robert Karofsky says St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has an average operating cost of $1.8 million a day, so these kinds of events are needed to help the hospital assist thousands of children like Donna a year. The hospital, which is completely funded by private donors, helps an average of 7,800 children a year, Robert Karofsky noted. There are hundreds of volunteers for the event and event organizers are expecting to surpass the more than 350 items donating for last year’s fundraiser.
T.J. Thompson is an engineer with the Cathcart’s company and says they are aiming to raise more than $400,000 this year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Tickets to the event cost $125, but the price is a bargain for what is involved. Attendees get a buffet dinner of shrimp, crawfish, ribs and smoked chicken and will be able to watch the Super Bowl on 20 to 30 big screen televisions throughout the event.
This year’s Super Bowl is between the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers and the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens. Gates for the 20th annual St. Jude S’travaganza open at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Robert Karofsky is a long-time philanthropist. He has donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Ronald McDonald house and more.