10 August, 2021

FedEx Express Aircraft Named in Honor of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Patient Kenzie

FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company, dedicated a Cessna Caravan to Kenzie, a 17-year-old patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, on Thursday at TPC Southwind during the first day of play in the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. This is the ninth year of the Purple Eagle Program, which honors a St. Jude patient who is also the child of a FedEx team member.

Kenzie’s story is one of strength and purpose. In October 2017, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Her family turned to St. Jude, a place where some of the world’s sickest children are treated without cost to the family. In July 2020, after two and a half years of chemotherapy, she completed treatment and was selected as the 2020 Purple Eagle recipient. However, that ceremony was delayed because of COVID-19.  Kenzie is now a rising high school senior and will graduate in 2022 with plans to pursue a career in nursing with the hope of working at St. Jude.

“FedEx, an organization with purpose and a passion for making the world a better place, has been an invaluable and dedicated partner to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for decades,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “The FedEx Purple Eagle program is one of a kind, inspiring our patient families who are part of the FedEx family and delighting supporters everywhere who see the named planes in rotation. We know Kenzie’s story, like the stories of all patients who join her in having a named aircraft, inspire hope in other kids who are being treated for pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

FedEx Express names the large jets in its fleet in honour of children of FedEx Express team members. In the Purple Eagle program, the only FedEx supplemental aircraft to receive such a designation are those aircraft named in honour of St. Jude patients.

“The FedEx aircraft naming project began in 1973 with our fleet of trunk aircraft, and over 400 of those aircraft have been named,” said Bill West Jr., vice president of supplemental aircraft operations at FedEx Express. “However, only nine of our feeder aircraft carry the iconic St. Jude logo with our purple promise honorees’ names so proudly displayed.”

Kenzie’s father Michael serves as an aircraft mechanic at FedEx Express.

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