The award will be given during a special fundraiser for St. Jude titled “NY Champions for St. Jude” taking place at O’Neill’s of Maspeth in Queens, NY. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will include a good amount of professional athletes from various sports, celebrities, and overall supporters of St. Jude and its mission. The event will be hosted by New York Rangers legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch.
Founded in 1962 by entertainer Danny Thomas, the goal of St. Jude Children’s ResearchHospital is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Through the years, St. Jude has focused significantly on providing care for children suffering from different forms of cancer. Consistent with the vision of Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or family’s ability to pay.
Since turning pro in 2010, Melson’s received mainstream attention in and outside of the boxing world for donating 100% of his fight purses towards helping find a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries in the United States. Melson, along with Christan Zaccagnino, founded Team Fight to Walk and recruited notable professional athletes to join the fight to cure paralysis. The past two years, Team Fight to Walk’s hosted their annual fundraising gala “Fighting for the Cure,” that helped raise additional significant funds. Due to their admirable efforts through Team Fight to Walk, Melson and Zaccagnino were profiled by various large media outlets.
“This is an incredible honor.” Melson said of the recognition from St. Jude Children’s ResearchHospital. “I met a young girl a few years back, who was 10 years old at the time, and her name is Lilly; I call her my lil’ flower. When she was a few months old, she developed Astrocytoma where she developed a cancerous tumor along her spinal cord. When the surgeons removed the tumor, she was left paralyzed. She was not even a year old, and she is now 14. She has only known life looking up from a wheelchair. Cancer paralyzed her.”
“Well Lilly my lil’ flower, cancer paralyzed you, and you are so very special to me, that I am proud to risk my life in the ring just so one day selfishly, I can hug you while you are standing. This award I am receiving is a gift from me to you as my way of saying thank you for being in my life. Little do you know lil’ flower that you have helped me never give up.” Melson closed by saying that “like St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Team Fight To Walk’s goal is to bring hope to families and show those that are suffering that hope is light in the darkness.”
Tickets to the fundraiser are available www.eventbrite.com/e/ny-champions-for-st-jude-tickets-14424781911?aff=eac2 and the event takes place from 1-8 pm. All adult ticketholders can enjoy a complementary buffet, live music, silent and live auctions and a live raffle drawing. Children under 12 will receive the buffet, unlimited juice or soda and family friendly entertainment.