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NFL Play 60 becomes the “Official Champion of Play” at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

St. Jude patient to help announce first round pick during NFL Draft

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (April 23, 2013) /PRNewswire/ — NFL PLAY 60, the National Football League’s youth health and fitness campaign, is the new “Official Champion of Play” at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, the global leader in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other deadly diseases.

To commemorate this new milestone in the ongoing partnership between the NFL and St. Jude, a St. Jude patient will join NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on stage to announce a pick during the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The NFL Network and ESPN will televise live coverage of the NFL Draft beginning at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 25.

Through NFL PLAY 60, the NFL and St. Jude hope to help give all kids a chance to “play 60.” Becoming the “Official Champion of Play” at St. Jude reflects the NFL’s ongoing commitment to this goal, with the designation accompanied by a pledge to aid in St. Jude fundraising efforts that will help support the needs of the hospital’s Child Life program.

The Child Life program at St. Jude supports patients and their families in making the best of difficult moments and making sense of a life-threatening illness. Child Life helps children cope with the stress of their illness through therapeutic play and peer interaction, among other things, promoting optimal development and self-expression and helping children successfully navigate their medical experience. Child Life is an integral part of the medical team at St. Jude, and is visible in every clinical arena from patient care to program development.

“We are pleased to be working with St. Jude to help give all children the opportunity to play and be active,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL Director of Community Affairs. “We are looking forward to celebrating their important work through their presence at this year’s Draft.”

Since opening in 1962, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push U.S. childhood cancer survival rates from 20 percent to 80 percent. St. Jude is where doctors send their toughest cases, because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for childhood cancers like leukemias and brain tumors. St. Jude is the global resource for how to treat childhood cancer, inventing more clinical trials than any other children’s hospital. One child saved at St. Jude means thousands more saved around the world because St. Jude shares its discoveries with doctors and scientists everywhere. Best of all, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for any treatment, travel, housing or food, because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

“Children arrive at St. Jude fighting different types of life-threatening illnesses, but what they all have in common is the desire to live a ‘normal’ life,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr. CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “We value the opportunity to work with a brand as powerful as the NFL’s to raise awareness of our mission among its incredible fans, and are grateful for the league’s support of our Child Life program.”

Last week members of the 2013 NFL Draft class including Matt Barkley and Memphis-area native Barrett Jones visited St. Jude, meeting St. Jude patients and their families.

Fans can learn how to get involved with St. Jude and the NFL Play 60 program by visiting

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About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:
Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. Join that mission by visiting or following us on and

About NFL PLAY 60
Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and wellness with partner organizations. PLAY 60 also is implemented locally, as part of the NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. Since the program was launched in 2007, the NFL has committed more than $250 million to youth health and fitness through programming, grants, and media time for public service announcements. The NFL and its teams have built more than 150 NFL Youth Fitness Zones and integrated programs into more than 77,000 schools nationwide since the campaign launched. In 2012, the NFL and its teams hosted more than 2,000 PLAY 60 events nationwide.

Media Contacts:
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Marcus Watson

Clare Graf


Photo Gallery

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St. Jude patient Markell with Barrett Jones and Matt Barkley
St. Jude patient Markell with Barrett Jones and Matt Barkley
Barrett Jones with St. Jude patinet Darcy doing crafts
Barrett Jones with St. Jude patinet Darcy doing crafts
Matt Barkley playing catch with St. Jude patient Ingram
Matt Barkley playing catch with St. Jude patient Ingram

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