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Cupit featured in video in support of St. Jude

Maggie Cupit discovered she had cancer right after her freshman year of college in May of 2010 at age 19.

Diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, Cupit underwent treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where she was attending college at Rhodes College. While sitting in a waiting room one day, Cupit observed a somber little boy.

“He looked sad so I started talking to him,” said Cupit. “I found out he had a really bad prognosis.”

Twelve-year-old Odie was told he wasn’t going to make it. However he and his parents decided to do all the experimental treatments. Cupit and Odie soon became good friends.

“He was 12 when I met him and 13 when he died,” said Cupit.

Shortly before Odie died, Cupit finished her treatment and was declared cancer-free in May of 2011.

Cupit began speaking about Odie and St. Jude in different parts of the nation, through ALSAC, St. Jude’s fundraising program. St. Jude needs $1.7 million a day to run.

“I’ve been involved a lot with them (ALSAC) because I’m old enough to understand what I’ve been through.”

One of ALSAC’s supporting companies is Expedia, a Web-based travel business. Expedia saw a video online of a speech Cupit gave to Odie’s parents apologizing for not being able to make his memorial. They contacted St. Jude and wanted to shoot an internet video with Cupit to partner with the fundraising program.

“It was definitely exciting because I knew I would be impacting a lot of people and helping St. Jude,” said Cupit.

She said it made her sad and emotional at times because the video as a whole is about her time spent with Odie.

The video was shot on her trip to Dallas to speak at a fundraising event for St. Jude. The video also shows footage of Cupit and Odie when he had made the decision to stop treatment and go home to Louisiana. In the short film, Expedia offers to match any amount given to St. Jude through the number on the video. Cupit said Expedia has already reached its matching limit but she encouraged everyone to donate to St. Jude by going to their website. The video can be viewed on YouTube under “Expedia Find Your Strength.”

Cupit graduated from Brookhaven High School. She is a chemistry major/premed and religion minor at Rhodes College in Memphis.

“I want to be a pediatric oncologist,” said Cupit.

She wants to specialize in palliative care. She is pursuing a minor in religion to help children facing life-threatening illnesses with their many questions. Cupit is currently working in a research lab at St. Jude, researching alternative cancer treatments. The program works with her school.

Cupit continues to speak to support St. Jude. She recently spoke at a fundraising event in Chicago.

” I share my story and explain just how important St. Jude is,” she said.

Cupit doesn’t want to bring attention to herself, but to St. Jude for all they do.

“It’s such a happy place,” she said. “Everyone who visits there will never be the same. It’s a really special place.”