There’s nothing better than coming together for a night of music and celebration in Music City, especially when it’s for a great cause. Monday night, Nov. 26, Nashville brought music, fashion, magic and more to Schermerhorn Symphony Center to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the official launch of the 2018 This Shirt Saves Lives movement. The national celebrity campaign is back for the second time with an all-new black t-shirt after raising more than $19 million in its inaugural year.
Hosted by Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East and CMT’s Marley Sherwood, This Show Saves Lives featured a fashion show unveiling the new shirt with help from some of Nashville’s favorite influencers and designers, as well as performances by John Rich, Cassadee Pope, A Thousand Horses, RaeLynn, LOCASH, Brett Young and magician Justin Flom.
Here are five memorable moments that got us on our feet and touched our hearts.
Before taking our seats we had the opportunity to visit with a few of the night’s special guests to talk all things St. Jude and #ThisShirtSavesLives. Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and wife Brittney Cole Kelley told us about a patient named Ian, and his recent completion of treatment at St. Jude. Written by a St. Jude nurse, it’s tradition for hospital staff to sing a round of “No More Chemo” when a patient finishes treatment. Later in the evening, Brian Kelley would have the honor of leading the room in a crowd-wide sing-a-long of the song as Ian and his family stood center stage with streamers and confetti flying through the air. Then we caught up with Cassadee Pope who’s been working with St. Jude since 2013 when she first visited the hospital and performed for Country Cares. She’s gotten to see firsthand all of the incredible work being done and how lives are changed every single day by the world-class team of doctors and researchers in Memphis. Lastly, we met up with co-host Shawn Johnson East who reflected on her first experience walking through the welcoming doors of St. Jude shortly after competing in the Olympics. With her gold medal in tote, she still remembers the smile on a young patient’s face as she placed the medal around his neck. Since then, she has jumped at every chance to get involved, including co-hosting This Show Saves Lives.
The Fashion Show & T-Shirt Unveiling
While it’s normally embarrassing to show up to an event wearing the same outfit as someone else, that was not the case at This Show Saves Lives – quite the opposite. The night was all about sharing a vision and coming together as a community in matching #ThisShirtSavesLives t-shirts to support St. Jude’s mission, ensuring no family should ever have to worry about financial burdens when their child is fighting cancer. During a fashion show unveiling the new black shirt for 2018, the runway featured Nashville influencers and designers including ABLE, The Home Edit, Landyn of Living with Landyn, Mallory Ervin, Brian Kelley, Brittney Cole Kelley, Cavanagh Baker, Brooke Webb of @kbstyled, Draper James, Kelleigh Bannen, Eric Adler, Hunter Premo, Ashley Houston of @nashvillewifestyles, H. Audrey, Kristen Brust, Kittenish, Kelly Henderson of Velvet’s Edge, The Showroom, Tribe Kelley, Amy, Lunchbox and Eddie from the Bobby Bones Show, Uncommon James, Rebecca Sweet, Ruckle & Rye, Sydney Rae Bass, Ali Green, Caroline Hobby, Ashley Wilson, Vinnie Louise and more. Cavanagh Baker constructed a one-of-a-kind ball gown skirt for the occasion from fabric painted by St. Jude kids, beautifully modeled by St. Jude patient, Tori and later auctioned off for thousands of dollars.
St. Jude and the Nashville music community have a longstanding relationship, and it wouldn’t be a party at the Schermerhorn without some of Music City’s finest artists. The first to take the stage was John Rich who performed “For The Kids,” a song written for the patients while he competed for St. Jude on Celebrity Apprentice. Cassadee Pope, magician Justin Flom, A Thousand Horses, RaeLynn, LOCASH and Brett Young all followed with stirring acoustic renditions of some of their biggest hits. But nothing moved us more than LOCASH’s story of meeting a St. Jude patient, Connor, at one of their hospital visits and later being surprised when they brought him up on stage at a tour date, not even knowing it was him. It wasn’t until signing autographs at the merch table and running into Connor’s dad did they realize the young fan they spontaneously invited onstage was, in fact, the same kid they met at St. Jude all those years ago. Not only was Connor all grown up and cancer free, but he was a football star, and needless to say, a LOCASH fan for life.
At the end of the day, it’s truly all about these kids, their bravery, and continuing to shine a light for St. Jude’s families everywhere. From Ian’s “No More Chemo” sing-a-long and Tori’s stunning presentation of Cavanagh Baker’s St. Jude ball gown skirt, to all of the other patients, including a young survivor, Warner, who was diagnosed at just 2-years-old; Allie, an aspiring dancer who was able to rejoin her school’s dance team after 33 rounds of radiation therapy; and Nick, a basketball prodigy who instantly won the audience over with a raw and honest rap about overcoming cancer and his life-changing experience at St. Jude.
Becoming a Partner in Hope
#ThisShirtSavesLives is so much more than a t-shirt, it’s a movement saving lives everywhere. Since opening its doors in 1962, St. Jude’s groundbreaking treatments have helped the overall childhood cancer survival rate increase from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. Approximately 16,000 children and teens in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 300,000 children are affected worldwide. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, ultimately helping cancer research far beyond the walls of their own facilities. By supporting St. Jude, you’re supporting the fight against childhood cancer all over the world. To continue saving thousands of children with even the most aggressive forms of cancers, become a Partner In Hope by donating $20 a month to St. Jude – and, in return, you’ll receive your very own #ThisShirtSavesLives t-shirt.
Visit thisshirtsaveslives.org for more information and to become a Partner In Hope today!