Country staple Darius Rucker’s 13th annual Darius & Friends fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on June 6 realized a record-breaking $516,000. The event took place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and featured such guest stars as Sheryl Crow and Sara Evans.
Also on the bill for the unique evening were country music favorites Lindsay Ell, Caylee Hammack, and Rachel Wammack. The total raised includes the proceeds from Rucker’s golf tournament and silent auction. It takes the total he has raised over the 13 years of the events, prompted by a visit he made to one of the St. Jude facilities, to a remarkable $3 million.
That money helps towards the hospital’s efforts to combat childhood cancer and aids care for patients. The evening also featured a moving appearance by a cancer survivor from St. Jude, Addie, who has been five years in remission after being diagnosed with leukemia at 15. She sang “Never Enough,” from The Greatest Showman, and received a standing ovation.
Rucker performed no fewer than 16 times on the night, offering such favorites as “Let Her Cry” from his catalog with Hootie and the Blowfish, and his signature crowd-pleaser “Wagon Wheel” as a finale. He also offered his recent hit “Same Beer Different Problem” and a duet with Hammack that will also feature on his next album, “Never Been.” Crow sang such hits as “If It Makes You Happy” and “Every Day Is A Winding Road” and performed “The First Cut Is The Deepest” as a duet with Rucker.
He enthused on Instagram: “Year 13 of #DariusandFriends raised $516K for @StJude! I’m speechless. Thank you to everyone who came to @TheRyman, watched live at home, played in the golf tournament, or bought items from the auction. You did it for the kids! Can’t wait to do it again next year.”