America’s top financial advisors donated more than $1 million to St. Jude Children’s Hospital to help treat children afflicted with brain cancer.
“It’s difficult to describe the pain and suffering we’ve seen among children. Since I was born I’ve been meeting children that are suffering and dying at ages even younger than me,” said Jeremy Shook, 16, who oversaw the Forbes-SHOOK fundraising effort.
The St. Jude pledges were made by a sold-out crowd of nearly 1,000 top wealth advisors attending the Forbes-SHOOK Top Advisor Summit last month in Las Vegas.
Jeremy is following in his father’s footsteps. Jeremy’s dad, SHOOK Research Founder R.J. Shook, committed to helping sick children after his mother died of breast cancer when he was 17.
“I had a very difficult time losing my mother,” R.J. recalls. “I remember when my father counseled me. He said, ‘“If you want to help yourself, the best thing you can do is first help other people first.’”
“Since then, I’ve been committed to helping save children’s lives,” said R.J, who is the father of three healthy children.
R.J. made philanthropy a major tenet of SHOOK Research, the firm he founded with his wife, Liz. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based firm is known for researching and ranking top financial advisors. The ratings are published by Forbes.
R.J. and other Shook family members regularly raise over $1 million at the annual Forbes-SHOOK event. Last year’s effort focused on Make-A-Wish and raised a record $1.4 million. The effort was led by Jeremy’s sister, Jamie Shook, now a freshman at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.
On stage, Jeremy told the audience about how he became a member of the St. Jude Leadership Council so he, like his father, “could help save children’s lives.”
“The difference between life and death can be the contributions that we all provide,” Jeremy said, making an emotional pitch to top financial advisors.
The money raised in Las Vegas will be used by St. Jude to fund two clinical research trials designed to treat medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor affecting the nervous system and spinal cord. If detected and treated early, the cancer has a reported survival rate of 70-80%.
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the childhood cancer survival rate to 80%, up from 20% in 1962 when the hospital was founded in Memphis, Tenn. Entertainer Danny Thomas tirelessly campaigned to raise money for St. Jude and get it established.
Today, St. Jude is the nation’s largest children’s hospital geared toward comprehensive cancer treatment, caring for more than 7,000 patients annually. The hospital is also unique in that it absorbs medical care expenses not covered by insurance.