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‘Jeremy believed in St. Jude, and so did we:’ music festival benefiting children's hospital returning to Somerset

Jeremy Hicks
The Jeremy Hicks Music Festival
Jeremy Hicks

An annul music festival benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will return next month to Somerset after a nearly five-year hiatus.

The Jeremy Hicks Music Festival was launched in 2013 in memory of Jeremy Hicks, a child treated at St. Jude for a deadly tumor.

Jermey’s father, Joe Hicks, heads up the festival and told WKU Public Radio that St. Jude was there for the family from day one.

“It was in the summer of 2005 that we found out he had a spinal cord tumor. We never dreamed we would be there.”

The tumor was found after Jeremy’s parents saw him limping while playing in a middle school basketball game. After a prompt trip to their local care provider, the family’s lives began to change.

“Within a couple of weeks, we went from being on the lake here at Lake Cumberland to living in the Ronald McDonald House and him being treated at St. Jude," he said. “They told us the first week we were there that it was a high-grade glioma and that he would not survive.”

Despite that prognosis, Hicks said the caregivers at St. Jude promised they would fight with everything they had to save Jeremy’s life.

“And they did,” he added. “He got radiation and chemotherapy, but the tumor spread to his brain in January of 2006, and he passed away on July 9, 2006.”

Jeremy was just 13 years old when he died and was the only child of Joe and Sheila Hicks at the time. Since then, the couple has adopted three daughters from Guatemala, whom they have raised since they were infants.

Over the years, the Hicks family have hosted several events for St. Jude in memory of Jeremy and to give back to the research hospital.

“He (Jeremy) told the doctors while he was there, ‘If you can’t save me then maybe you can learn from me.’” Hicks said. “Jeremy believed in St. Jude, and so did we. When we were there, it was amazing. They are all who they say they are. They gave him world class care in every way, and we did not receive a bill for anything.”

The family hosted different types of events over the years before eventually settling on an annual music festival because of Joe’s love of music. In fact, Hicks will be performing with his own band during next month’s festival and is excited to get back on stage.

“My band is called ‘Rapid Transit,’ and that’s what we named it in the seventh grade,” he said, noting other performances include Zella May, Travis Harris, Borrowed Blue, and Gravel Switch.

The last year for the festival was in 2019, when it raised over $20,000 for the hospital. The event was put on pause during COVID, making this the first post-pandemic show.

In addition to the music, the family-friendly event will also feature food and a silent auction, with all proceeds benefiting the children’s research hospital.

“Every dollar goes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital; whether you buy a sandwich or a drink, every cent goes to Saint Jude,” Hicks said. “Jeremy is gone, but there are kids sitting there today getting the same diagnosis. This is Jeremy’s gift to the world.”

The festival will be held at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, KY, on Feb. 3, with doors set to open at 4 p.m. The music will get underway at 4:30 p.m. and run until 10 p.m.

More information about the festival can be found on the Jeremy Hicks Music Festival Facebook page.