Justin Moore: ‘Children Are the Most Important Thing on This Earth’
Justin Moore isn't running 26.2 miles during Saturday's (April 30) St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Nashville, but the country star still knows that St. Jude Children's Research Hospital does important work.
"This could be me in this situation tomorrow. I could be that family," Moore told the Boot and other reporters while visiting St. Jude back in January. "There’s a lot of great things out there to donate to, and I’ve helped a lot of them, but this one is second to none. To me, children are the most important thing on this earth -- not only mine, but children as a whole."
The father of three says that St. Jude's policy of providing care at no cost to families is "just unbelievable."
"I’ve been very blessed, as have a lot of my fans. I could handle financially any situation that my family goes through, from a medical standpoint," Moore reflects, "but I realize there are a lot of people who can’t."
But it's the way the hospital treats its patients and their parents and siblings that impresses Moore the most.
"My favorite parts are the things that they do all over the hospital, whether it be a room like a teen room, or whether it be paint the walls," he explains. "That impressed me, because you think about the patient and what they’re dealing with physically, which is ridiculous to think about. If this happened to my child, I know I’d be just a wreck; I’d be a mess, as any parent would. So I think it’s pretty impressive to me what they do outside of the medical part, to help the families cope and all of that."
Trace Adkins initially got involved with St. Jude at the urging of his mother, who had been contacted by the family of a patient, Jessica, from Adkins' home state of Louisiana, but he has remained a loyal supporter for years. Adkins admits that his recent return to St. Jude -- his first time there since Jessica's death -- was painful, but he wants to make a difference in the lives of other children ... even if he doesn't instantly connect with each child.
"Can we be real? I’ve scared some children, and they cry," the 6-foot-6 star shares. "A lot of times, the only kids I don’t scare are my own. It always breaks my heart. I walk up, and the kid starts crying."
In January, Brandon Lancaster from up-and-coming country band Lanco made his first trip to St. Jude -- and he insists that it won't be his last.
"To see the collaborative effort and hope and common attitude that everyone has, and courage everyone has ...," Lancaster says. "Also, I think another thing that stood out to us is what a large facility it is and how much goes in to making this happen, all the way from the fundraising element to the scientific research."
Each artist hopes their involvement will inspire fans to donate as well.
"St. Jude is a beautiful, beautiful place. I mean that in every way," Adkins reflects. "It’s such an inspirational place, and as you come here and put your trivial, silly problems in perspective, it helps you focus on what’s really important in this world."
Adds Lancaster, "I think sometimes when people look at the bigger picture, when they look across America and there’s centers, it’s like, ‘It’s too much. What could I possibly do? What could my contribution help?’ But when you see a person face to face and kind of put a face to it ... Even if it’s talking about it, spreading awareness that things are being done."
Nashville's St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Weekend also includes a half marathon and a 5K race, as well as a kids' run and additional activities; more information is available on the event's official website. Additional marathons are planned, all across the world, throughout 2016 and into 2017. Donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital can be made by visiting the donation page on their website.
See Photos From the St. Jude Country Cares Weekend