Lindsey Wilkerson – whose inspirational story has taken her from a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® to an employee within the organization and ambassador helping share its message of hope and inspiration – has been named godmother of the new Carnival Magic. Wilkerson will officially name the 130,000-ton vessel during a shipboard ceremony taking place May 1 in Venice, Italy, prior to the ship’s inaugural voyage.
The selection of Lindsey Wilkerson continues Carnival’s ongoing relationship with St. Jude, one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
“Lindsey embodies the spirit of the tremendously talented, compassionate and dedicated individuals at St. Jude who are true heroes in every sense of the word. Lindsey’s selection as godmother is a tribute to the special children of St. Jude, as well as an acknowledgement of the groundbreaking efforts the organization has made in the fight against childhood cancer,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.
Last year, Carnival launched its new Care to Play: Carnival For St. Jude Kids program, which encompasses shipboard fundraisers fleetwide that provide guests an opportunity to participate in fun, interactive activities designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight against childhood cancer. Carnival’s goal is to raise $3 million over a three-year period. The line will also make a $50,000 donation in Wilkerson’s honor during the naming ceremony.
“Carnival has been very creative in developing entertaining fundraising opportunities for guests through its Care to Play program,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. “We were so excited to hear that they selected as godmother of the ship one of our former patients, Lindsey, whose story touched not only our friends at Carnival, but so many others who have had the pleasure of meeting her. She is a true inspiration to us all.”
Wilkerson was diagnosed with cancer at age 10 and began treatment as a patient at the St. Jude facility in Memphis, Tenn. After nearly three years of treatment, doctors determined her cancer was in remission and she went on to finish high school and attend college. She joined ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude, in 2004 and is now a volunteer specialist helping to engage and support St. Jude volunteers across the country. Wilkerson also volunteers as a tour guide at the hospital and is a member of the organization’s Family Advisory Council and the St. Jude Women’s Club, the latter for which she serves as president.
“On behalf of all of the children of St. Jude, I’m so honored to serve as godmother to the beautiful Carnival Magic and celebrate this exciting opportunity,” said Wilkerson. “I am alive today because of the world class research and treatment at St. Jude. The generous support of Carnival and their guests will help St. Jude continue to provide hope to children stricken with catastrophic illnesses.”
Following the naming ceremony, Lindsey and her family will be among the nearly 3,700 guests who will sail on the Carnival Magic as she departs on an inaugural nine-day Mediterranean voyage that ends in Barcelona May 10.
The ship will operate a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises through October then reposition to Galveston, Texas, for seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in November, becoming the largest cruise ship ever based year-round at that port.
Carnival has set up a special website, www.carnival.com/stjude that highlights the Carnival-St. Jude partnership, with exclusive videos and an opportunity to donate to the Care to Play program.