Entertainer Danny Thomas founded St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital nearly 60 years ago, with the belief that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”
For nearly 50 of those years, Duke and Jan Hamberger have gradually increased their support of St. Jude’s, where no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability to pay.
“It was pretty small donations then,” Duke says. “We saw what St. Jude was doing for the kids, and we had to be part of it. I can’t stand to see a sick kid – that’s what motivates me.”
Jan says the couple also loves “how St. Jude shares their knowledge with people all over the world.”
Fortunately, the Hambergers have been able to increase their donations over the years as Duke’s crane and heavy equipment business grew. In the past, they’ve donated proceeds from two of his classic cars and volunteered at the St. Jude Harvest event in their community which has grown into a much-anticipated annual farm-to-table fundraising dinner. Duke and Jan have retired to a farm in Colorado, where they hosted a St. Jude patient after meeting her and her family at an event. “She was just the sweetest little gal you’ve ever seen,” Duke recalls. “I got her up on that tractor and she had the steering wheel – and a smile all over her face.”
More smiles are on the way. The Hambergers’ latest donation to St. Jude will be crossing the auction block at Mecum in Denver on Saturday – their red and white over red 1958 Corvette. And if you can’t make it to Denver, you can still bid on the car online.
Completely restored, the car has been labeled one of the stars of the two-day auction this weekend and features a 283 engine hooked to a four-speed transmission. Proceeds will go to St. Jude, where the majority of its funding comes from individual contributors like the Hambergers. Thanks to folks like them, families never receive a bill from St. Jude.