Jordin Sparks took a break after her performance to say hi to a few fans

Jordin Sparks and Target Athletes Celebrate St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s 50th Anniversary

Target isn’t the only one turning 50 this year—St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is also celebrating the big milestone.

In February 1962, founder Danny Thomas changed the way the world would treat pediatric cancer when he opened the doors of St. Jude in Memphis, Tenn. Five decades later, St. Jude has become one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. St. Jude has helped improve the overall survival rate of pediatric cancer from 20 percent when the hospital opened to 80 percent today.

In 1999, Target teamed up with St. Jude to build Target House, a nurturing home-away-from-home for children and their families during months of treatment. St. Jude Target House has been that home for more than 2,800 families.

To celebrate 50 years of St. Jude—and 13 years together—Target hosted the Summer Splash, a carnival at St. Jude Target House for all the kids, families and people that make St. Jude so much more than just a hospital.

The festivities kicked off with a knockout performance by Platinum Recording Artist and star of the upcoming Sony Pictures film “SPARKLE”, Jordin Sparks.

“I had the most incredible time performing at the St. Jude 50th anniversary concert! It’s amazing to see the smiles of the children and their parents,” said the American Idol alum. “It really made me think about how I spend my time on this earth and how I can make a difference in this world. To bring them what joy I could, if only for a little while, is more rewarding than any award I could receive.”

Celebrity friends and Target athletes Paul Rodriguez, Ryan Dungey, Simon Dumont, Torin Yater-Wallace and Kevin Robinson took a break from their latest training regimens to spend time with the kids and families of St. Jude Target House, sign autographs and engage in some friendly competition with beach games and fun contests. Partygoers tested out their karaoke singing skills, while others stuck to tie-dying t-shirts. But the highlight had to be the dunk tank—where some lucky kids got to sink their favorite athletes.

The party was more than just fun and games. It was a celebration of all the special moments that parents and their kids can experience thanks to 50 years of finding cures and saving children at St. Jude. Here’s to 50 more years!

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Photos by Stephen Allen

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