Almetria Turner

Almetria Turner is a native Memphian, lifestyle and wellness coach, chef, food blogger and certified running and fitness instructor.

Why do I volunteer? A St. Jude runner explains

By Published: April 07, 2019 11:01 AM CT

Volunteering for a cause makes me who I am and the journey has been great. But why do I volunteer?

Back in 2014, during the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, I ran my first half marathon as a reward to myself for accomplishing my goal of being "fit by forty" after losing 177 pounds naturally over a course of four years. 

<strong>Almetria Turner</strong>

Almetria Turner

After running in my hometown through the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and seeing some of the patients’ faces, I felt euphoria when I crossed the finish line then immediately wondered what more I could do. I knew that my excitement after completing a half marathon could be multiplied if I was able to support others doing similar events.

In February 2017, I decided to become a St. Jude fitness ambassador and join the St. Jude Walk/Run team. 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Over the next two years, I served as a fitness ambassador and the faith-based organizational chair over the event, where I helped recruit churches and individuals to form fitness teams. I volunteered at health fairs and fundraisers. I attended the VIP conference to become a better volunteer, learn more about the mission, and meet other volunteers and staff from around the country. I took tours of the hospital, ran my first full marathon, hopped on a spin bike to "Ride for a Reason," and joined the ALSAC national digital influencer ambassadors program as a blogger.

Volunteering has become a major part of my inspiration and how I can inspire others. The love, care and groundbreaking research at St. Jude goes beyond the walls of the hospital. Its mission is inscribed on the hearts of the children, parents, doctors, donors and volunteers such as myself. 

Whenever I'm running and might have an ache or a pain, I remember why I do this. I volunteer and run for those who want to but say they can't, and for those who can't but wish they could.

I've met doctors, corporate staff, children and parents of children in remission or still in the fight. I'm inspired not only by the children's bravery but their parents’ bravery as well. No parent should ever have to be in the hopeless position of being unable to take away their children's pain. 

William Shakespeare said, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." My gift is helping people achieve holistic wellness through food, faith, fitness, feelings and fun. My wish is that St. Jude goes from an 80% cure rate to 100%.

That is why I volunteer.

April 7 to 13 is National Volunteer Week.

The Daily Memphian welcomes a diverse range of views and invites readers to submit guest columns by contacting Peggy Burch, community engagement editor, at pburch@dailymemphian.com.



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