By Dustin Luca
---- — The McDonald’s restaurant on North Main Street has helped raise more than $10,000 this year to benefit one of the leading children’s hospitals in the nation.
The funds go toward the Lowell-based Fitness For A Cure event, which has collected $350,000-plus to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Carissa Haley, owner and operator of the North Main Street McDonald’s, said the annual Fitness For a Cure fundraiser is “very near and dear to my heart,” particularly because of how strongly it helps St. Jude’s.
“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a place where no child gets left behind,” she said. “They do not ask for a single cent from the family of a sick child. They cover every expense, from travel to housing to medical expenses, so that a family can focus on getting their child the help that they need.”
Haley, who also owns the McDonald’s in Amesbury, said her restaurants since January have raised a combined $10,000 for the cause. They also kick in 500 cups of coffee, 300 Happy Meal toys, 200 bottles of water and 600 “apple dippers” for the Fitness for A Cure afternoon family event at Lowell Memorial Auditorium.
Fitness For A Cure founder Sherri Sarrouf said the interactions she has with parents at St. Jude’s are nothing short of memorable.
“People will actually thank us and hug us,” she said. “They’ll say, `What you’re doing in New England is huge down here in Memphis because it’s funding us being able to be here with our child, and being able to treat our child, when we don’t have money.’”
For more on Fitness For A Cure, visit the organization’s website at fitnessforacure.com.