Not About The Gold

By Nick Perreault

January 15, 2011 Updated Jan 15, 2011 at 11:12 PM CDT

The St. Jude Benefit Gymnastics and Tumble meet is now in its 20th year. The event allows gymnasts from various clubs to compete, with one goal in mind.

"We tell the kids right before they march in, before they start competing, today is not about winning a gold medal, today is about being here and participating and it doesn't matter how well you do on your events today or how high your score is, because you're already a winner, by helping the children of St. Jude today," said Event Founder Dawn Kochler.

The event raises money not just through admission fees, but vendors sales as well.

"Actually ever year because this is one of the first meets, and also is a fantastic cause, St. Jude, this is where we buy our uniforms," said Huntley Resident, Jill Purtell.

The annual St. Judes event has touched thousands of participants over the years, but not just from local groups from around this area.

Steve Kams brought his Ultimate Gymnastics team to this years event all the way from Gurney,Illinois. A three hour trip that he says is well worth it.

"It's a worthy cause and we like to support things like that, you know gymnastics community we are a very tight nit family and we believe in something, and the kids have a great time, you know, why not," Kams said.

Laura Blake, a member of the Ultimate Gymnastics program and six year participant understands that this event is more than an ordinary competition.

"Because you know your doing it for a good cause, and its not just a meet to go do your best, its a meet to do your best for other kids," Blake said.

The growth of the years from participants to vendors has been a a surprise to Kochler.

"Beyond my imagination, it's more than I ever dreamed it would become, and its just reached so many different people, I'm really proud about the number of people we have been able to educate about St. Jude and tell the St. Jude story in hopes they will be lifelong supports for St. Jude," Kochler said.

This years event hopes to raise more than $80,000 for St. Judes Children Hospital Research.

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