Actors and friends Elise Neal and Lance Gross joined to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for Radio Cares for St. Jude Kids last weekend in Memphis, Tennessee.

During the weekend, radio personalities, programming directors and sales associates from Radio One affiliates across the country gathered to learn about the latest developments in cancer and sickle cell research and get an up-close look at St. Jude’s impact on patients and their families.

Neal, a native Memphian, called on several of her friends to raise awareness about St. Jude as a world leader in children’s oncology research. 

“Being from Memphis and being a celebrity who’s able to do my part is the best treat about it,” Neal says. “You have to, as an African-American celebrity, know more about the history of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They do so many innovations in sickle cell, which is a huge problem for African-Americans.”

Gross made his first visit to the hospital and Target House, a residential facility for long-term patients.

“It’s been a great eye-opening experience because I knew about St. Jude, but I didn’t know as much as I learned today,” he says. “Just being able to tour the hospital—I heard personal stories from the parents, I got to interact with the kids, so it made it more personal for me.”

The 31-year-old actor says he will definitely share his experience with his friends and peers.

“It’s (about) getting the world out to my celebrity friends to get involved. If they came here, and see what I’ve seen, then I know that they would support St. Jude. I just think it’s amazing what they’re doing for families.”

St. Jude hosted its 6th annual Radio Cares event to provide top African-American supporters in radio with an experience to raise awareness and share stories of hope and breakthrough research with their audiences. Last year, Radio Cares partner stations raised more than $1 million for children with cancer, sickle cell disease and other deadly diseases.