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Preparations are underway for the daylong 18th annual Fitness for a Cure presented by Flexecution, Inc., on Saturday, March 18, at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. Events like this help ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., families are encouraged to join emcee Erika Tarantal of WCVB-TV for the afternoon festivities, which will include a show by the St. Jude Performance Team of more than 100 children, a mixed martial arts demonstration, face painting and food sampling.

Then at 6 p.m., WCVB-TV’s Emily Riemer will emcee a gala for adults. The dinner program includes a cocktail reception, auction, remarks from a St. Jude patient family and a second appearance by the St. Jude Performance Team.

This year all attendees are encouraged to wear white apparel to complement the event’s dreamscape theme in honor of the late Danny Thomas, St. Jude founder and legendary entertainer, who was not afraid to dream big.

When St. Jude opened in 1962, cancer was a virtual death sentence for children – only 20 percent survived that diagnosis. In the case of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, the survival rate was a grim 4 percent.

For Danny Thomas, this was simply unacceptable. He envisioned a hospital that would tackle those somber statistics head on and forever change the fates of children diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Fortunately, people across the country embraced his vision and raised the funds to build the hospital. Since then, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped increase the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to more than 80 percent, and today at St. Jude, 94 percent of children diagnosed with ALL survive. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, so doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.

“We are so grateful for the opportunities that Fitness for a Cure has afforded our community and children. The St. Jude Performance Team takes great pride in giving back to the kids of St. Jude, knowing their efforts are truly making a difference. And our local community has really come together to help children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases, and it inspires our committee to continue to our fight,” said event chair Sherri Laffey Sarrouf.

To date, Fitness for a Cure has raised more than $3.8 million for the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Finding cures. Saving children®.

In addition to Flexecution, Inc., other event sponsors include Cassandra Salon & Spa, MACOM, SLS Fitness, the Croteau Family, Feeley, McAnespie, Inc, the Howard Family, Madison Security Group, Inc., the Rahal Family, Scholastic, Inc and Two Chefs are Better Than One.

“On behalf of our team, it is an honor for Flexecution to serve as the ‘Miracle’ (presenting) sponsor for our sixth consecutive year,” said Larry Thibodeau, senior partner of Flexecution, Inc.  “Every day we can choose to put our support in different directions, but when you see the strength and joy in each child’s face at St. Jude, it emboldens you to try that much harder knowing the daily challenges they face. We choose St Jude because we should all aspire to be that strong, compassionate and driven every day. Each of us has been touched by cancer in some manner, but to imagine your child or a child close to you with cancer is unthinkable.  It’s for these reasons that Flexecution will continue to support St. Jude for years to come.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Tickets to the afternoon event are $35 per adult and $15 per child. Gala tickets are $200 per person.