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Allen Allred receives the Glennon Award for 26 years of fighting childhood cancer

November 8, 2017

Thompson Coburn partner Allen Allred has received the highest honor from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for his creation and leadership of the Bob Costas Benefit, a singular charity event in St. Louis that over 26 years raised $17 million to benefit seriously ill children from across the country who are fighting cancer. After accidents, cancer is the no. 1 cause of death among U.S. children aged 5 to 14 years old. 

Allen received the Glennon Award in late October at the Glennon Glow Gala at the Ritz Carlton. In presenting the award, Cardinal Glennon Board member and past Board President Jim Brennan, president and owner of McKelvey Homes, described Allen as an “outstanding leader” whose “determination inspired volunteers to devote their time and dollars to help others.” 

“Allen has been a true advocate for children who cannot speak for themselves,” said Brennan. 

Over the quarter century of its existence, the Bob Costas Benefit stood out among St. Louis charity events for its ability, year after year, to bring top-tier comedians and musicians to St. Louis — often at no cost — for the singular purpose of raising funds to fight childhood cancer and other serious diseases. The event brought, among others, great comedians like Jerry Seinfeld (twice), Jay Leno (twice), Jimmy Fallon, Ray Romano, and Conan O’Brien , as well as musical stars like Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Sheryl Crow, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, John Mellencamp and a host of other legendary entertainers. 

For Allen, the driving force was clear: “Helping kids and making it possible for miracles to occur. And they did occur.” 

Allen was instrumental in creating The Bob Costas Cancer Center, a special facility that would benefit from the annual fundraising. For the benefit’s 20th anniversary, Allen dedicated $2 million to the creation of the Bob Costas Chair for Pediatric Oncology Research. The chair is now held by Dr. Bill Ferguson, director of the Bob Costas Cancer Center and the division of pediatric hematology-oncology at Saint Louis University.

Allen said during his decades of planning the Bob Costas Benefit, he kept one image in mind, that of happy parents taking the hand of their once very sick child, leading them through the doors of Cardinal Glennon, and bringing them back home. 

“Each year of the Bob Costas Benefit was a celebration of the miracles Cardinal Glennon was able to accomplish for kids and the grateful parents who had their healthy child back,” he said.