Good Friday morning Memphis, where we'll bask in spring-like weather one more day and the Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum Thursday night in memorable, record-setting fashion.
But, first, we're celebrating a St. Jude family's donation that powered the Memphis Marathon Weekend past $100 million money raised over 20 years.
Dan and Lindsey Hammer's 12-year-old son Caleb started complaining of arm soreness earlier this year after being hit in the shoulder by a ball during soccer practice. A few days later, a fall on the playground brought the Hammers to Campbell Clinic for X-rays, then an MRI and then devastating news: Caleb had cancer, our Corinne Kennedy reports.
"Hearing your child has cancer is the worst day of any parent's life," Lindsey said.
Their doctor referred the Memphis residents to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Caleb began chemotherapy for his osteosarcoma on April 23. He will undergo his two final rounds of chemotherapy this weekend and next, and the family is optimistic that scans later this month will show that the treatment and surgery have rid their son's body of cancer.
"St. Jude is an absolute godsend," Dan said. "Those people are special people that are able to be there and do that job to take care of your child."
On Thursday, the Hammers learned they would be helping more families like theirs for years to come. Their 54-member fundraising team for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend brought in the donation that put St. Jude over $100 million raised all time by the marathon.
Gov. Lee grants clemency to 17 people
Gov. Bill Lee granted executive clemency to 17 people, including two from Shelby County, on Thursday, exonerating a Grundy County man who served 12 years for a murder he didn't commit and granting parole eligibility to a Rutherford County woman incarcerated for killing her alleged sex abuser, reports Melissa Brown from our sister paper The Tennessean.
“This is a very important and serious issue that has taken a tremendous amount of work, a lot of people to come together for what we think is a just and right process,” Lee told reporters.
The clemency decisions are a first for Lee, who in 2020 loosened criteria to qualify for a governor’s review. Those receiving clemency praised Lee's action and attorneys said the moves were a hopeful sign but more must be done for others seeking relief.
Lee's tweaks to the process, part of the governor's push for broader criminal justice reforms, were welcomed by local defense attorneys at the time.
Can concerned youth help reverse Memphis transit woes?
Together, a group of Houston High School students and Memphis' struggling youths can boost transit, writes Tonyaa Weathersbee in this column for subscribers.
An excerpt from Tonyaa's column:
When five Houston High School students took a Memphis Area Transit Authority bus downtown last month to suffer through the struggles of people who rely on it, they didn’t board it from a stop in Germantown.
MATA, it seems, doesn’t serve Germantown – even though it has tried to get approval from Germantown’s mayor, Mike Palazzolo, and the City Council to do so.
But the fact that the students, who started the group “Stop Poverty With Policy,” to take on transit issues couldn’t find a MATA stop within their community to travel downtown, actually underscores how the transit system and classism fail struggling people here.
That experience gives more heft to the story that a former Germantown High student told Mahika Madzumder; that she had to drop out of that school because there was no way to use the bus to get there.
(Not a subscriber? No problem. This is your lucky day. You can get a great deal here on a digital subscription and never miss any of our subscriber-only content, including Tonyaa Weathersbee's columns.)
Looking for a new restaurant? Here's our cheat sheet
From Hog and Hominy on Brookhaven Circle to the new Makeda's Cookies on Jefferson Street, our Jennifer Chandler has the skinny on the new places that will delight your taste buds.
Is Tigers basketball in danger zone?
All is not well in Tiger Country.
Memphis basketball walked out of Stegeman Coliseum Wednesday with its second loss in a span of six days, leaving the No. 19 Tigers (5-2) vulnerable to an early season exit from the Top 25 polls. Demoralized, players and coaches alike exited the visitors' locker room sullen – one long face after another. As if the 82-79 setback to Georgia (3-5) wasn't bad enough as a Quad 3 loss, talk of failure and internal discord dominated the conversation afterward, our Tigers' basketball beat writer Jason Munz reports.
Tigers coach Penny Hardaway did not mince words specifically by calling his veterans out, questioning their level of commitment to the greater good. Star freshman Emoni Bates echoed Hardaway, declaring "we're not together as a team." Hardaway went so far as to admit he's reached a "low point."
Why? According to Hardaway, the issues Memphis – ranked as high as No. 9 in the nation as recently as last week – is dealing with aren't new.
Grizzlies pummel Thunder
It was a game of historic proportions. And the Memphis Grizzlies were on the right side.
As the final buzzer sounded at FedExForum, fans stood and cheered as the Grizzlies won by the largest margin in NBA history 152-79 on Thursday night. The 73-point win surpassed a 68-point victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Miami Heat on Dec. 17, 1991, our Evan Barnes reports.
The Grizzlies also broke the franchise record for most points in a game.
The Grizzlies didn't waste time pouncing early and then poured it in record fashion. When John Konchar flew in for a thunderous dunk over Isaiah Roby in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies surpassed their previous franchise record of 144 points.
Have a great weekend. And, remember to pack patience if you are driving to Downtown Memphis on Saturday. With street closings and 17,000 runners and thousands of others watching and enjoying the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, traffic will be severely limited on many streets.
Mark Russell is the executive editor of The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901/288-4509. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MarkRussell44
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: St, Jude Memphis Marathon fundraising Grizzlies beat Thunder