Patients undergoing treatment at St. Jude Children’s Hospital will directly benefit from the hard work of Waxahachie firefighters and police officers. Members of both departments teamed up to help raise funds for the hospital by working at Chili’s restaurant.

“We had a good turnout and Waxahachie citizens were very generous. On Sunday we had a fire engine go out there so a lot of kids could see it. Chili’s also had a bake sale where all the money would go to St. Jude,” Waxahachie Firefighter Association vice president Josh Anderson said.

“We were able to collect $1,750. I think that if I am not mistaken between Waxahachie Police Department and us we made $3,350 for the hospital.”

Firefighters worked on Sept.15 during the lunch shift from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and during dinner from 4-7 p.m. They also worked from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 18. Firefighters and police officers worked alongside wait staff, plus sold T-shirts and headbands to help raise funds. On Thursday evening cancer survivor Ethan Hallmark worked alongside firefighters to help raise funds. Firefighters honored Hallmark’s fight against cancer by making him an honorary member of the department for the evening.

“We were fortunate that Ethan joined us in the evening on Thursday. He was a thrill to be around the guys and had a great time. It was our honor to make him an honorary firefighter,” firefighters association president Don Alexander said.

“The people at Chili’s and all of the customers were just wonderful making donations. It was overwhelmingly positive.”

Alexander said it is important to get everybody involved in a cause like this from the public service employees to city employees and citizens.

“This is a cause that everybody needs to help step up and fight for,” he said.

The police department worked at the restaurant on Sept. 8-9 during the lunch shift and had nine officers volunteer their time to take part in the fundraiser. Through the sales of T-shirts, headbands and slap bands officers were able to raise approximately $1,600 for the hospital. Community service officer Wess Winn said this is the first year for the department’s participation in the fundraiser and was a very positive experience. One of the goals for next year is to have officers work an entire week. Winn said he wanted to thank the community for their support in helping a great cause.

St. Jude’s is the first institution established for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research and treatment into catastrophic childhood diseases, mainly cancer. On average, 5,700 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

The public can donate funds to the hospital through its website throughout the year at www.stjudemedicalcenter.org by clicking on their donate now link. Also donations can be made at any Chili’s location through Sept. 28. Chili’s is located at 998 W. U.S. Highway 287 Bypass in Waxahachie.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.