Williams noted for contribution to St. Jude

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

Charles and Gayle Williams lost their young daughter, Heather to leukemia. She was given a bone marrow transplant, but it was unsuccessful. St. Jude, a children’s hospital popular for serving communities both domestically and internationally, was one of the places Heather ventured. It was there that Charles and Gayle and his family received limitless healthcare, unconditional support and love from the hospital’s staff. Unfortunately, the destiny for little Heather was short-lived.

Fifteen years later, Charles drives a school bus and Gayle is a schoolteacher in the Baton Rogue school system. But they have never forgotten about those who encouraged their daughter to live. They continued to keep Heather’s legacy alive through continuous dedication to fight leukemia and show their appreciation of the efforts St. Jude, as well through lucrative fundraisers for the hospital.

The fishing pond near his home became the central point for Heather Fishing Rodeo. A day of fun for children at St. Jude to come and participate in a fishing tournament. This event gave Williams an idea. He desired to develop a fundraiser using the same activity adding incentives. He rallied a number of business sponsors and family and friends of St. Jude and formulated the first annual St. Jude Bass Fishing Tournament in Baton Rogue and helped established fishing as a national program. As a result, Charles has raised over 2 million dollars over the past 15 years for St. Jude Hospital.

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It is no surprise that this Uniontown native and former Demopolis resident was awarded St. Jude’s 2003 Volunteer of the Year Award. His aunt, Mrs. T.G Mitchell said, "I am very proud of my nephew, he deserved it." Each year the organization awards an outstanding contributor who seeks to cultivate health for the ailing children around the world. His efforts to help others were inspired by the life and untimely death of little Heather, his daughter.